Undergraduate Student Government hosted a think tank discussion for student leaders in different organizations across campus to collaborate on pressing issues that students are facing on and off campus.
The Think SC event encouraged students to raise questions and offer solutions to four of the more fundamental topics for students at USC: Greek life and its social policies, wellness, sexual assault and sustainability. USG student body president Christian Kurth moderated the evening’s event, posing a series of questions that dealt with each major topic and searched for strategies to solve the controversies surrounding these topics.
“It’s a think tank, so [it’s] an open dialogue for all presidents and representatives of their organizations,” said Giovanni Navarrete, president of the Lambda Upsilon Lambda, a Latino fraternity. “It’s sort of just [to] come up with ideas and help create a better USC environment, better programming, a better way to connect amongst each other — you know, network, so that’s what I’m here for.”
One topic that was discussed during the event was the prevailing wall between Greeks and non-Greeks at USC, focusing on ways that the student body and their surrounding organizations can bridge the gap between the two.
Sophomore Rini Sampath, USG co-director of external relations, online editor of the Daily Trojan and vice president-elect, believes that philanthropies and the abundance of talent within the Greek system could serve a bigger goal to bring more people together from all over campus in various kinds of events.
“I see Greek life as large pockets of really talented, intelligent [and] driven people who, I think, if we utilize that space, we can really do some amazing [things],” Sampath said.
USC student leaders then shifted to a discussion on sexual assault. Kurth encouraged students to brainstorm ideas on how to improve resources for sexual assault victims and methods to encourage a change in the culture of this issue. Many students agreed that alcohol was a predominant part of the sexual assault culture at USC, but they also encouraged forums and talks with students about sexual assault and the fine lines that might be overlooked or ignored.
Sampath hoped that the evening’s discussion would foster an environment for students to mix together ideas and shed light on any topics that came to mind for the different leaders.
“I think that we had such a diverse group of students this year,” she said. “It was a great mix and everyone was saying things that I never even thought about, and that’s what the purpose of the event was, to have different opinions come out — and we achieved that.”
Sampath hopes to provide USC students more opportunities to engage in think tank-related discussions.
“One promise that we are making is we want to have an event like this every month of the year, [a] town hall [or] forum-style discussion, where students outside of USG are able to give us feedback where we can make real change,” she said.
The students raised support for the evening discussion and hoped that these events continue to be a method for people to come together and share ideas.
“I think that this is a good idea. I wish there were more before,” said Loranna Grigoryan, president of the Pre-Pharmacy Society.