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Students Push USC To Conserve Water In Light Of Drought

USC has multiple sustainability measures, but Gov. Jerry Brown's new water restrictions will challenge the university to reduce water usage by 25 percent.

Gov. Jerry Brown mandated a 25 percent reduction in water use for the entire state of California. USC and universities across the state are no exception and will now have to reduce their usage or face the possibility of fines.

"We have an obligation to take action and make sure we are following these restrictions," said Shawn Rhoads, the executive director of the Environmental Student Assembly (ESA) at USC.

The ESA is working with administration to create a water conservation task force that focuses on cutting usage and creating a more sustainable campus. 

The USC Office of Sustainability says a lot of the water usage comes from landscaping and buildings on campus, especially laboratories. USC's first drought-resistant garden is behind the Ground Zero café, and there are plans to expand these gardens further across campus as well. 

"It’s important for the university to recognize there needs to be a good balance between what the university looks like and how we present ourselves and how we move forward as a university towards sustainability," said Rhoads.

As of now, the university has not formed a specific plan to repsond to Gov. Brown's new restrictions, but present sustainability measures still remain in place. USC Sustainability said a lot of the new environmental measures happening in the past few years have been due to the ever-growing student involvement in conservation.

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