Starting this semester, a new club on campus is helping students explore their interest in all things automobile.
SC Auto Society, which was officially chartered in Fall 2017, creates an environment on campus for all car enthusiasts, welcoming undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni and even faculty members to become involved in and knowledgeable about cars. Its members organize drives, go to car meets, attend car shows and visit auto museums, said William Squires, the club’s vice president.
“The SC Auto Society is a essentially a club of people who love cars,” Squires said. “The car enthusiast community is one of the most welcoming communities. You don’t even have to have a car to be in the club. There are some expensive cars in the club and some inexpensive cars, but no one is treated any differently by what car you have.”
President Steven Chang started SC Auto Society because he believed that there were a lot of car enthusiasts who had no place to go, especially after a previous club, Auto Club of SC, ended three years ago. In addition, Chang thought the club would be a good way to keep in contact with his friends and expand his network.
“It has allowed me to meet a lot of alumni or conduct events with alumni,” Chang said. “The whole philosophy or mission statement of this club is to bring together people who wouldn’t normally hang out. We’re able to bring together international students, kids from the East Coast, both boys and girls and those all over California.”
Becaues SC Auto Society is a new club this semester, the organization’s executive board is primarily focusing on building a solid foundation. To expand the club’s reach to the Trojan community, the board developed a logo, created special car stickers and ordered apparel.
So far, most of the club’s events consist of going to car shows and meets that car dealerships or other schools host, Chang said. The point is to park your cars, have them on display and talk to others about what kind of cars they’re interested in and what features they added to their cars, and to get to know them on a personal level, according to Squires.
Car shows, which typically occur on Saturday or Sunday mornings, allow people to bring their own cars and to meet new people, Chang added.
“At these car shows, people from all over the area will come and bring whatever they have,” Chang said. “Some of them have themes, so a theme might be exotic super cars with Lamborghinis or Ferraris. Typically, they’ll have a sponsor, so it’s a way for a company to get their name out there or for a club like us to interface with the community.”
So far, the largest event the SC Auto Club’s board has organized was a car show held on Nov. 5 at Pagani Newport Beach. Originally, the show was meant to be a small gathering for only USC students so the club could get some exposure through pictures and social media, according to Chang.
However, after getting more involved and reaching out, several other schools — including Chapman University, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount University and Palos Verdes High School — showed up.
“I was sort of in the process of putting together a league of all of these car clubs in California,” Chang said. “We’re friends with about 15 schools now and so it was nice to meet all of these people for the first time after talking to them for months, so it was my favorite car show.”
Squires hopes SC Auto Society will continue to be an inclusive and prominent club in future years. He also aspires to help the club host its own show along Trousdale Parkway, with dealerships and possibly famous car collectors like Jay Leno and David Lee.
“I would really like to have a car show in the spring semester on the USC campus,” Chang said. “Not only would we be able to get our name out there, but it would give students a chance to show their cars, meet more people and hopefully get more alumni involved. The end goal is to also provide a way for students to meet alumni not just through panels or for networking and school-related events, but through hobbies.”