When USC graduates of decades past return to visit their alma mater, the reality that sets in as they step onto campus must be staggering. As they stroll along Trousdale, remembering the places where they learned or lived, they realize that the USC they attended no longer exists.
In just 10 years, widespread growth and expansion have fundamentally changed USC’s institutional identity.
Concretely, USC has evolved from a commuter school into a full-fledged residential university. To accommodate this seismic shift, USC has added more housing complexes, dining facilities and recreational options.
The university’s institutional growth has been no less remarkable. In the last decade, many of USC’s pre-professional schools have invested millions of dollars in facilities and research that have thrust them toward the cutting edge of technological and intellectual innovation.
The change that has grabbed hold of this university over the last 10 years has been extensive by any measure. What we — the USC students of the 2010s — can gain from looking back at the last decade is the understanding that change on this campus, though often hard to see firsthand, is happening all the time.
Over the next 10 years, the USC community will continue to grow by leaps and bounds. With two new capital construction projects near completion and the 30-year Master Plan on the verge of city approval, an important conversation is set to take place that will determine how this university will fit into its surrounding community.
The educational experience USC offers will also continue to evolve as our academic momentum powers us forward. Change is inevitable. But, as USC’s current students, we have a unique opportunity to help decide what its impact will be.
That means giving professors feedback, approaching administrators with comments or complaints, participating in student-run organizations and, most of all, lending your ears and your voices to the ongoing campus discourse where decisions are constantly made about what it will mean to be a USC student 10 or 20 or 30 years from now.
Most of us will probably return to campus at some point, years after our graduations. The question before us all now is, when we do, how much of that campus will be ours?