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Seeking a Big Impact with a Small Footprint

Meredith C.F. Powers, a COSW doctoral student, is using her skills as a social worker to promote environmental practices that benefit people and their communities.

And she’s starting at home with a small grant from the USC’s Student Sustainability Fund to infuse ecological consciousness into the College of Social Work’s policies, practices, and curriculum during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Powers said she wants to engage students, faculty and staff in practices that most already support: conserving resources so that work is more productive and less taxing on the environment.

Rather than creating a new group, she will be encouraging the College of Social Work to seek a Green Office Certification from Sustainable Carolina. The campus’ sustainability initiative scores departments to award them bronze, silver or gold medals to serve as publicity tools to promote their dedication to sustainability.

To earn any level, an office must meet basic requirements, including having recycling receptacles by trash bins in common areas, and a small recycling bin by each desk. An office earns points for practices such as limiting air fresheners to baking soda, reducing margins on printed materials, maintaining a compost bin in the kitchen and having employees use the stairs (if they can).


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