Green & Gold Goes Green: Top 10 Ways University of San Francisco Stays Sustainable

BY JULIA MORREALEOctober 7, 2014

Julia Morreale, ISN’s environmental justice/sustainability intern, takes a look at the top 10 ways her school (University of San Francisco) stays sustainable. How does YOUR institution embrace sustainability? Share in the comments below!

10. Compostable and recyclable utensils


Cups of coffee aren’t just good for late night study sessions.

Aside from providing silverware and plates, USF’s dining services provide compostable and recyclable options for students on-the-go. Compostable to-go boxes, recyclable eating utensils and recyclable containers ensure that even the busiest student can limit their impact on the environment.


9. Every type of bin for all sorting needs


Recycling, composting, and landfill bins are accessible all across campus. Every building at USF, including dining halls, residence halls, libraries, gyms and classrooms, are equipped to meet any sorting needs. Whether it’s coffee cups, ramen noodles, or dried up pens, USF has a place for all waste that a college student can generate. Thanks to the number of composting bins across campus, USF placed 25th out of 605 schools in Recyclemania’s composting competition, and 63rd overall for the Grand Championship in 2012.


8. Don’t know where to toss it? There’s a sign for that.


Mobiles hanging above trash bins in the dining hall.

Signs are conveniently located above all bins in residence halls, dining halls and on dining tables. Creative visual aids provide examples of recyclable and compostable materials to make the sorting process easier.


7. Still not sure? Ask an Eco-Educator!


Chris prevents cross-contamination while providing on-the-spot education. Contact Joe Murphy at [email protected] for further inquiries.

Eco-Educators are students who answer any questions and address concerns regarding the importance and impact of sorting on the environment. Eco-Educators assist all dining guests in making responsible choices.


6. Resident Advisor Eco Representatives


Residence halls are no exception to environmental education! Resident Advisor Eco Representatives, or Eco Reps, explore issues around sustainability and relay information to other Resident Advisors. Eco Reps develop and lead programs for residents centered around environmental responsibility – healthy habits start in the halls.


5. Composting on a smaller scale


For residents who want to compost in their own room, the Student Housing and Residential Education department offers individual composting bins. Each bin comes with instructions and examples of proper composting candidates. Residents can toss their individual compost collection into larger compost bins located on each floor.

4. Community Garden


The Community Garden at USF is a place for individual and community growth and education. The Community Garden acts as an outdoor classroom for Urban Agriculture classes, as a “living laboratory” for students of varied disciplines, and as a source for fresh and organic produce for students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community. Free community dinners and the campus food stand are supplied by the produce harvested in the garden; any remaining produce is donated to the food bank at the Booker T. Washington Community Service Center.


3. Transportation that’s economical and eco-friendly


USF provides students, faculty and staff with transportation methods for a more sustainable commute. The Transportation Demand Management program intends to reduce fuel emissions and improve the quality of life for all citizens of San Francisco. Bicycle racks, Commute Buddy Programs, shuttle services, subsidies for commuting faculty and staff, and Zipcar car sharing are just a few of the initiatives offered in the TDM program for faculty, staff and students. Muni, San Francisco’s public transportation system, is comprised of unique electrical, hybrid and alternative-fuel buses and historic cable cars, all of which are accessible to students with free bus passes provided by USF.


2. Student-centered and Student-led sustainability efforts


Earth Day at University of San Francsico // Photo courtesy of the University of San Francisco

At USF, students can choose from a variety of academic programs focused on environmental issues, ranging from minors to Master’s degrees. With a background in environmental studies (approximately 128 courses are offered in the College of Arts and Science), students are able to establish careers in growing environmental fields.

Students at USF are leading the charge towards creating a more sustainable campus and city. In 1979, USF students launched the first campus recycling effort, collecting paper, bottles and cans, limiting cross-contamination on campus. Student recyclers led the charge in collecting and recycling e-waste in 2003, three years before any law or mandate was created. The ASUSF Sustainability Sub-Committee, composed of undergraduate students in partnership with ASUSF Senate, coordinates programs across campus, including Earth Day and the Sustainability Fair at USF, and oversees the donations from the Green Initiative Fund for Tomorrow. Clubs and organizations across campus engage and assist communities looking to “go green.”


1. The John Lo Schiavo, S.J. Center for Science and Innovation


Photo courtesy of the University of San Francisco

The John Lo Schiavo, S.J. Center for Science and Innovation is USF’s newest and greenest addition to campus. State of the art laboratories devised to analyze air, water, and soil samples contribute to both undergraduate and graduate studies.

With its environmentally innovative features, the Center is designed to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating.

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