Department of Public Safety Chief Carey Drayton said he has high hopes for the new Ronald Tutor Campus Center. He thinks the building’s opening in the fall will begin to solve several problems that have been resolved unsuccessfully by the university over the past years.
Long-time residents of the North University Park area have complained about the noise, trash and safety issues that arise from parties at nearby fraternities on The Row and the massive number of students that accompany such events. Late-night on-campus events of the same magnitude are few and far between.
In an effort to curb the problem, USC added tram service to L.A. Live last fall. But the addition of the limited service has not been enough to quell overcrowding issues on The Row.
Many other students have been left out of the mix altogether. As Drayton points out, not every 18-year-old wants to get drunk at fraternity parties on a weekly basis. But, most everyone does have a need for some social outlet.
The campus center is that other option.
First, the university must present food options that extend past the 10 p.m. closing times of the campus’ two dining halls. Sara Escalante had it right in last week’s Daily Trojan (“Weekend dining is food for thought”). The campus becomes barren on weekends because there is nothing to entice students to stay in the area. The problem is exacerbated at nighttime.
An establishment open late at night would give students an all-night-long option for something fresh, instead of the prepackaged, microwavable goods hawked by Trojan Grounds and drive at least a few more students onto campus, especially Thursdays through Sundays.
For instance, Stanford University’s Axe & Palm Café, which serves breakfast to-go or made-warm-to-order, is open until 2 a.m.
Second, USC must commit to making the funding necessary to bring high-quality acts, concerts and events to the area in front of the campus center and its ground floor multi-purpose room available.
With the exception of Welcome Week and Conquest, the Greek system currently has a dominant hold on social life at USC. The university should bolster its agenda of large, late-night social functions as Drayton vows it will.
USC will have to go leaps and bounds to attract a serious number of people who appreciate the new entertainment option. But in the end, competition drives innovation, and that means students should come out winners.
Drayton, for one, is not too worried. He thinks changing the culture at a university is a fairly easy process because the population changes every four years. Inculcate a class of freshman to believe that the center of campus is the place to be at night for entertainment and more will be the wiser. In four years, the entire student population will be on the same wavelength.
The debate ensues as to whether USC’s culture of partying is giving way to a culture focused on academic prowess. Whether or not that is the case, students will always need some form of social expression to release the energies pent up after a day of class.
USC prides itself on its diversity, which includes a diversity of choices when students come here. USC will only get better by attracting even more students to engage in new experiences by providing high-quality all-night dining and actively producing successful social events at the new campus center.
Paresh Dave is a freshman majoring in print journalism.