Office of Sustainability Reflects on 2018-19 at Annual Gathering

Office of Sustainability Reflects on 2018-19 at Annual Gathering

The University of San Diego’s Office of Sustainability hosted its annual appreciation gathering, having a chance to look back on the soon-to-conclude academic year, provide some updates on programs and services and to celebrate campus community members whose passion for environmental awareness and action earned them the title of Sustainability Hero.

Held in Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Room G, Director Trey McDonald welcomed everyone and shared some thoughts. First, his ascension to the director position following the departure of longtime director Michael Catanzaro happened right at the start of the year. McDonald, HVAC Automation Controls Specialist Bill McLeod and Sustainability Coordinator Ali Sanchirico comprise the main Office of Sustainability staff at USD.

Late 2018, the office announced the shutdown of USD’s innovative non-profit facility, the Electronics Recycling Center. Located on the far west end of campus, the space remains closed. No update on the center has been forthcoming. While it is still being reassessed, the office does recommend other places for the community to take their electronics recycling locally.

Numerous successes have happened during the 2018-19 year. Some highlights:

  • Forty-one new students since September have been recognized as Eco-Resident Certified.


  • The Green Office Certification Program added 17 new entrants, receiving a Platinum (two), Gold (six), Silver (eight) or Bronze (one) designation this year. The platinum certified entrants are the Manchester Family Development Center and the Alumni Relations office.
  • In 2018, the USD community donated 47,600 pounds of clothing, linens and housewares through a partnership with the Disabled American Veterans program. Much of that was through USD’s Green Move-Out efforts following the end of each semester. This program should be available again in late May for the end of the current spring semester.
  • The university banned plastic straws from campus dining facilities at the start of 2019. Paper straws are available upon request and stainless-steel straws are available for purchase.
  • Campus Trash Bin Conversion Project to Buddy System: There’s been a conversion of 63 exterior concreate trash bins to recycling bins by way of painting the brown lids blue and relocating them to pair with an existing trash can. Upon project completion, there will be 176 exterior buddy pairs on campus, a 70 percent increase.
  • Solar energy tours take place on campus. Tours have happened on the roof of Mother Rosalie Hill Hall (SOLES) and there are fuel cells located at the West Parking Structure.
  • Events in which the Office of Sustainability has been part of or has been the leader on include: Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice Day; SOLES Orientation Resource Fair; Alcala Bazaar; Cultivate Living-Learning Community Tecolote Hike and Dinner; Advocate LLC; SOLES Recycling 101; Vampire Energy; Kroc Sustainability Month; USD Health and Retirement Fair; Avocado Fest; Dinner with Strangers; Kitchens for Good Volunteer Event; Eco-Friendly Holiday Crafting; Protect Our Species with Project Wildlife; Walk for Water; Bike Tune-Up; and Bike to Work Day.
  • Power Hogs is a program in which student staff members from the Office of Sustainability visited 366 work spaces (so far during Spring 2019) and spoke with 133 employees about easy ways to help USD be more efficient and save energy via electricity, computer shutdowns/setting to sleep, unplugging at night and unplugging phone chargers when finished. Eight-six percent of those surveyed found this project useful for learning about vampire/standby energy.

Sustainability Heroes Announced

Sanchirico and Sonya Mohamed, a USD SOLES master’s alumna, SOLES academic programs manager for the Department of Counseling and Marital and Family Therapy and a member of SOLES’ Sustainability Committee, recognized all 20 USD Sustainability Heroes.

Undergraduate Student Heroes: Mia Westphal, Andrew Asbille, Avery Zink, Claire Graziano, Giana Petersen, Jessica Wilson, Kate Curran, Katherine Stolin, Lexie Rollings and Savannah Robledo.

Graduate Student Heroes: Nicole Munoz-Proulx and Jessica Blandón.

Faculty Hero: Daniel Codd, Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering.

Administrators/Staff Heroes: Miranda Williamson, Danielle Levanetz, Christiana DeBenedict, Geneva Lee, Taylor Ulrich, Kivonna Navarro, Douglas Young.

To learn more about the Office of Sustainability, to get involved with their programs, events and any other information, visit their website and follow them on social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

— Ryan T. Blystone

A group of winners and nominees of the Sustainability Heroes Awards at the annual Office of Sustainability Gathering event on April 24.A group of winners and nominees of the Sustainability Heroes Awards at the annual Office of Sustainability Gathering event on April 24.

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