USD Celebrates Earth Week

With plans for the largest solar energy facility on a private U.S. campus, efforts to reduce water consumption by 27 percent and a high-tech food digester that transforms 3,200 pounds of food waste each week into water, every day is Earth Day at the University of San Diego. Next month, USD graduates will wear eco-friendly gowns made from recycled water bottles.

USD also plans a full week of activities from April 16 to 23 to encourage students, staff and faculty to do even more to promote sustainability and conservation.  USD will participate in San Diego’s Earth Fair this Sunday, April 16 at Balboa Park, with a booth featuring Marine Biology’s hands-on touch tank and information on USD’s sustainability efforts.

On Tuesday, April 20, the university will host a Sustainable Living Expo and Internship Fair with more than 25 vendors and organizations providing information on how to live sustainably both at work and at home and learn about internship opportunities and local businesses and non-profit organizations. Don’t miss the Bike Repair Station or the raffle for the $1,200 electric bike donated by Green Cruiser Inc. The fair takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of USD’s University Center.

On Thursday, April 22, a Waste Awareness and E-Recyling event will collect old computers and other electronics for proper disposal and teach members of the campus how to do a “waste audit” to reduce waste and conserve water and other resources. The event takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of the University Center with a “dumpster dive” at 11:30 a.m.

Throughout the week, students in resident halls will be encouraged to participate in a “Who’s the Greenest?” contest showing their efforts to “green” their residence halls on

USD is committed to becoming one of the most sustainable campuses in the country. “Our commitment is to protect the earth for future generations but also to find cost-effective solutions that can hold down tuition and other costs,” said Michael Catanzaro, director of sustainability at USD.

Completion is expected  this summer on a 1.23-megawatt renewable energy system that will create the largest solar facility on a private U.S. college campus.  Through a partnership with San Diego-based AMSOLAR, 5,000 photovoltaic panels will be placed throughout the campus generating up to 15 percent of USD’s power needs.

In 2008, USD was using 112 million gallons of water a year. Since then, efforts to conserve and install more efficient irrigation and other systems are putting USD on a pace to reduce water usage by 27 percent. By 2011,

USD will be using about 90 million gallons a year, the amount of water used in 1991, when the campus was about half as large and had 2,600 fewer students.

USD’s new Student Life Pavilion (SLP) is on track to become the school’s first LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building.  The 55,000-square-foot pavilion was designed with many “green” features including natural ventilation, use of recycled materials and efficient energy and water systems, including a BioHiTech food digester.

USD also offers a variety of “green” educational initiatives including an undergraduate major in environmental studies and a certificate in Real Estate Entitlement, Development and Design where students learn how to incorporate sustainable measures into site planning and building design. USD’s Law School publishes the San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law, the nation’s first student-run journal of its kind. The Burnham Moores Center for Real Estate publishes the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate, the first of its kind in the United States.  The Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC), a nonprofit academic and research center of the law school, researches energy and policy issues affecting the San Diego and California regions.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.