Service Stories Archive: Communication as Environmental Advocacy (SPCH 347)

Because of the upcoming introduction of a new University website design, existing Service Stories on the site are being migrated to our Service Learning Blog so that they will remain in our archive.

This article was originally published in the ’19-’20 academic year.


Thanks in part to the efforts of Dr. Renu Pariyadath, Spartanburg’s celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day will occur on our campus this spring (SAVE THE DATE):

Date:          April 18th (Saturday) 
Time:         10AM – 4:00PM
Location:   Upper Quad April 18th
Activities:  Food, information, and fun for everyone: students, faculty, staff, & all community members

Dr. Renu Pariyadath has been connecting SPCH 347: Environmental Communication classes with her research in both local and global communities since she joined us in Fall 2016. As an environmental advocate, it just made sense for her to bring students into partnership with community organizations in order to apply course concepts and see the effects of environmental communication right where they live.

Dr. Pariyadath’s students first worked on an anti-plastic straw campaign and brought about changes in straw use throughout campus. In the second semester she offered the course, students expanded their project to include a survey of green practices in Spartanburg restaurants. Most recently, students worked with Spartanburg Earth Day Festival as well as the Chapman Cultural Center to conduct a formal research survey of restaurants in Spartanburg’s Cultural District.

She also works with an international community partner, the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal ( This the 35th year of struggle for survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster, and her students created campus action to highlight this issue last year.

Thinking about the impact of service learning on her students, Dr. Pariyadath notes that “adding the service component really became important for them. When you tell them that they will be surveying people in Spartanburg, working with a group who has needs, and you will be able to help meet their needs, it gives them extra enthusiasm that I haven’t really seen in my other courses. And it makes me more excited as well to observe the students be of so much service to the community.”  

View a flyer highlighting Dr. Pariyadath’s work 


Dr. Renu Pariyadath

Assistant Professor | Communication

“We are serving the community. We are helping students become prepared for the community, to serve in this place when they come back and get jobs here.”

Dr. Renu Pariyadath is an assistant professor of Communication at USC Upstate. She joined the university in 2016 after earning her Ph.D. and serving as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Iowa. Dr. Pariyadath teaches several courses in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences’ Fine Arts and Communication Studies Division. Those courses are centered on her research, which includes Environmental Communication, Gender and Communication, and Communication for Social Change. Dr. Pariyadath is a coordinating committee member for the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal. She earned a master’s degree in Communication from Ohio State University.