The Human Touch

USD Magazine -- “Whoa! ... you're not going to throw that whole coffee cup in the recycling bin, are you?”

USD Director of Sustainability Michael Catanzaro is doing a pretty serviceable impersonation of an exasperated third–grade teacher; his folded arms and furrowed brow make for an intimidating mix of incredulity and indignation.

But he can’t keep the ruse up for long. The rebuke is promptly mitigated by a Cheshire cat-grin, followed by a detailed explanation of which parts of the cup are actually recyclable, and why.

It’s not the first time Catanzaro has had to provide an on-site introduction into the do’s and don’ts of enviro-friendly waste disposal, and it won’t be the last. Still, he’s buoyed by the noticeable change he’s seeing in the university’s attitude and culture. “People really are starting to get it,” he says. “I think we’re in the process of making some really positive and measurable contributions to the idea of sustainability.”

One of this decade’s defining buzzwords, “sustainability” has morphed into an umbrella term that means different things to different people. Catanzaro breaks down USD’s approach to becoming leaner and greener in easily understood language: “It’s a term that has a lot of potentially different connotations, but our approach to sustainability is simple,” he explains. “It has three pillars: social, environmental and economic. We’re looking to incorporate all three pillars into a comprehensive plan that will make USD a model for other universities to follow. (Full Story