Sustainability will move into key campus space as USC increases focus on Assignment: Earth

Assignment: Earth is on a trajectory to land in the heart of USC’s University Park Campus.

This spring, the university will open the USC Sustainability Hub — a coworking and collaboration space in the Gwynn Wilson Student Union building where students, researchers and sustainability staff can gather.

USC Assignment: Earth logo 2022

“Establishing the new Sustainability Hub at the center of campus means ensuring USC’s Assignment: Earth is at the heart of all we do at USC,” said USC President Carol L. Folt. “This new space will provide a dynamic home for Trojans to come together, share ideas and collaborate on solutions that will have lasting impact on our campuses and this beautiful planet we love.”

Given the undeniable impact of climate change — powerful storms, extreme drought, rising sea levels — sustainability is on many people’s minds. A survey conducted earlier this year revealed that nearly half of the university’s students, faculty and staff shared moderate to strong interest in getting involved with university sustainability efforts.

Across the university, significant sustainability initiatives are already underway. USC stopped purchasing single-use plastic beverage bottles in July and recently celebrated diverting 32 tons of plastic waste to landfills — or 1 million plastic bottles. USC faculty in public health, economics and architecture are looking for ways to decarbonize the health care industry. The USC Marshall School of Business is incorporating sustainability into the business curriculum.

In addition, a zero-waste team is greening up the USC tailgate tradition with a roving trailer of recycling bins. And $8.8 million in funds will support sustainability-focused research projects on alternative energies and pollution reduction as well as efforts to help shade L.A. neighborhoods.

USC Sustainability Hub: a place for positive change

“Sustainability is a central priority for the university, and this new location will allow USC students, faculty and staff with an interest in sustainability to find each other and collaborate,” USC Chief Sustainability Officer Mick Dalrymple said. “The results of the university’s first sustainability literacy survey showed that increased engagement and education are correlated with higher sustainability literacy and behavior scores. Through expanded programming and informational resources, we expect this new location at the heart of campus will provide a platform to create positive change and grow our community of sustainability-conscious students, faculty and staff.”

The Sustainability Hub also will become a workspace for the university’s first group of postdoctoral fellows who will focus on developing solutions to climate-related issues, ranging from the economic impact to the effects on human health.

The first fellows will arrive this spring.

Pharmacy space to become USC Sustainability Hub; new pharmacy in the works

The Sustainability Hub will fill a 1,500-square-foot space that was home to one of two pharmacies on the University Park Campus operated by the USC Alfred E. Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Pharmacy operations are expanding into a larger location in King Hall, close to USC’s Engemann Student Health Center, in late summer. The new location will allow the USC Mann School to serve more patients and offer additional educational opportunities for students. In the interim, services will continue through the pharmacy across from Student Health.

“Pharmacists play an increasingly important role in community health, and the new facility will help us demonstrate that for the USC community at large,” said Vassilios Papadopoulos, dean of the USC Mann School, which operates the campus pharmacy. “In California, pharmacists provide vaccinations, the COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid, nicotine replacement therapy, contraception and HIV prevention pills as well as distribute the opioid reversal drug naloxone. We also help older patients and patients in need to manage their medications safely.”

The pharmacy’s move to King Hall will double the space for the pharmacy and make way for more services, said Raffi Svadjian, the executive director of USC pharmacies who oversees the USC Mann School’s four community pharmacies and a specialty pharmacy.

Pharmacists play an increasingly important role in community health, and the new facility will help us demonstrate that for the USC community at large.

Vassilios Papadopoulos, USC Mann School dean

Still in the design phase, the new pharmacy will feature a larger waiting area — in the current space, windowsills serve as seating — as well as clinical space for pharmacists to meet with patients privately and discuss their health needs, Svadjian said. Branded carts will deliver prescriptions to longtime and new customers among USC faculty and staff.

Also in the spirit of expansion, the pharmacy school plans to place additional health-product vending machines around campus. One such vending machine, currently located in King Hall, stocks general and reproductive health products to provide access outside pharmacy hours. Antibiotic ointment and emergency contraception are among the offerings.

Svadjian said that until the new location opens, the pharmacy’s prescription-filling and other services, including delivery of prescription medications, will be offered through the other, smaller campus pharmacy that is near the Engemann Student Health Center.

The new University Park pharmacy is slated to open in summer 2023. Architectural sketches for another new USC Pharmacy, planned for South Los Angeles, offer a taste of the clean lines and open spaces in store; USC is using the same design firm for both locations.