On-campus social scene needs a life

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.

Aaron Rovner | Daily Trojan

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.

8 replies
  1. Joe
    Joe says:

    Prospective, I wouldn’t worry too much about Loner. What you have in the Greek scene is basically a continuation of high school social dynamics — rich and good-looking people who spend a lot of money to make themselves appear to be having a good time, and look down upon those who don’t fit in. If you’re not a member of that group, then the effect it has on you really depends on how you approach it. Some people, like Loner, are insecure about themselves and desperately want “in”, so they feel like the whole campus is mocking them. Others, more confident in their own identities, couldn’t care in the least. University is utterly unlike high school. Being intelligent does not stigmatize you, and being constantly drunk does not make you “cool”. If you want to be a Greek, enjoy it! If you don’t, then just learn to laugh at them. There are dozens if not hundreds of other social scenes at USC.

    • lauren
      lauren says:

      ^^Agreed. :)

      There is an incredibly vibrant social life at USC that has absolutely nothing to do with the Greek system. There are ALWAYS events going on at USC. On any given night, you could find 3 different student group-sponsored events going on.

      There is no such thing as “the cool kids” at a school of 17,000+ students. The notion is ridiculous.

      Find what you love and stick with it. I am absolutely thrilled to be at USC because I have found the people I love to be with–fellow activists, intellectuals, artists, musicians, student leaders, etc. The people I work with everyday have helped to enrich my life. And I have never felt like I was “missing out” by not going out to the Row to get wasted. That lifestyle has never, and will never, appeal to me.


  2. Prospective Student
    Prospective Student says:

    Is ‘Loner’ the average non-rich USC student? I’m a prospective student and thought that most people looked really happy at USC while I visited for Explore USC. Also, isn’t USC a good school? What do you mean, ‘party culture’?

  3. Dr. Christopher Eaton
    Dr. Christopher Eaton says:

    Loner, it sounds like you need to place your focus on other aspects of your own social life than your exclusion from the Greek system. There are lots of people at SC who aren’t rich or good looking and have rich social experiences, either in or outside the Greek system. It sounds like you might need some counseling.

    Trojan_Anonymous, I personally don’t believe that the with the Tutor Center USC wants to or should attempt to diminish Row social life. The introduction of the Center on campus though provides new and viable alternatives for students on campus to participation in Greek life off campus. It’s a beautiful thing. Enjoy it.

  4. trojan_anonymous
    trojan_anonymous says:

    There is absolutely no way that the introduction of the Tutor Center to campus is going to diminish Row social life over the 4 years after it opens

  5. Loner
    Loner says:

    “The debate ensues as to whether USC’s culture of partying is giving way to a culture focused on academic prowess.”

    I thought USC was making fervid attempts at nerdifying itself by the means of attracting foreign students who are inept in English but geniuses in math; atrracting bright high school potentials from all over the country (not just Cali); having 1 Nobel Laureate, George Olah, while UCLA and Cal’s got like more than a dozen combined, yada yada yada.

    The Greek org’s here ostracize you more cruelly than other major colleges in S. Cali. You’re either one of them, or you ain’t shieet. If you’re not good-looking, rich, or aren’t seen with the”right” crowd, then you’re not gonna make it here at ‘SC. You might as well bury yourself in the books and focus on upping your GPA so that you can get into a better grad school than ‘SC.

    A new infrustructural hangout isn’t going to mitigate the problem of “selective social interaction.” These are the games we play in life. If you lack social clout, then you’re a pariah.

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