The University of South Carolina is paving the way in the southeast for environmental “green” initiatives. USC had pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020, and two residence halls on campus are helping to achieve this goal. The West “Green” Quadrangle residence hall was one of the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings in South Carolina and was the nation’s largest “green” residential University building at the time of inception. The brand new Honors Residence hall recently received a gold LEED rating for its initiatives in sustainability, and it uses 30 percent less energy and water than a comparable building.

There are many groups on campus that advocate for environmental change. A community within the West Quad grows its own food, holds recycling competitions, campaigns for energy conservation, and has weekly activities and speakers to raise awareness of environmental influences. Every spring and summer a “Farmer’s market” is held on campus where students can purchase organic, locally grown food. In April, the Students Advocating a Greener Environment (SAGE) organize and host the Earth Day festival which celebrates the world and helps students learn ways they can become more environmentally friendly.

With all the development in sustainability initiatives, it is safe to say that the University of South Carolina has officially “turned green”!