USG holds seminar for new students

USC’s Undergraduate Student Government hosted an open meeting between campus administrators and new spring admits and transfer students on Thursday night.

Held in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, the meeting aimed to give new students the opportunity to voice their concerns about housing, academics and more.

At the meeting was a panel of representatives from organizations with an interest in improving the undergraduate experiences of spring admits and transfer students.

Both Lynette Merriman, the assistant provost for support and advocacy, and Nahid Razavi, assistant dean of student development programs, were on the panel. Orientation coordinators Elizabeth Mitchell and Irvin Jerez were in attendance as well. Rini Sampath and Christine Hennes,     co-directors of USG External Affairs, moderated the meeting.

The first topic addressed was the lack of communication between the university and spring admit students during the fall semester before they’re enrolled. Several students in the audience mentioned the fact that they didn’t feel that they were given enough information before officially enrolling as a student.

Students suggested mentorship programs with past spring admits and greater communication with department advisors as potential solutions.

Housing was another major issue brought up during the discussion.

Students expressed concern over the difficulty of applying for student housing as spring admits. They told the panel that the timeline of applying for housing was too short, and asked for more information about all their options before being forced to commit to one housing option.

Spring admits rarely have the option to live on campus, and many of the students in attendance believed they were missing out on the freshman experience. They felt that being forced to live far from campus, often in apartments with upperclassmen, made it difficult for them to integrate themselves into the rest of the freshman class.

One solution proposed was a greater effort to place spring admits and transfers in one location to foster a sense of community.

The panel also addressed the differences between orientation in the fall and in the spring. Fall orientations have many more events than orientations in the spring and are more focused on building school spirit. Due to the schedule, spring orientations are shorter and focus more on the things the students need to know, such as housing, student organizations and campus safety. The students asked for a greater effort to make spring orientations more fun.

Katherine Stock, a freshman majoring in business administration, thought that knowing other students had the same concerns as she did helped alleviate some of the stress of being a spring admit.

“I appreciate them listening. I appreciate the conversation and just knowing that you’re not alone,” she said. “Just knowing that with classes and with orientation everyone had the same experiences.”

Brad Streicher, a freshman majoring in broadcast and digital journalism and English, felt that the discussion was a good chance to let his voice be heard and came to the event to try to improve the assimilation of spring admit students.

“The spring admit process as a whole is a good opportunity for students and it’s just something that a lot of us felt could be improved,” he said. “We wanted to take the opportunity and try to voice our opinion to help other students in the future. It’s obvious that there’s some work to be done and so to know that the university is behind making changes, I think that’s something that’s really reassuring.”