Changes around campus should inspire service

The dust has settled.

In the last year, USC has seen a new president, a new football coach, a new $130-million campus center, a $900-million proposal to renovate the dilapidated University Village and the first steps of its 30-year Master Plan take place.

Now that so many of the university’s efforts have come to fruition, it is time to look outside our own walls.

Before Steven B. Sample passed the torch to President C. L. Max Nikias he made sure that the university’s legacy — and his own — was not just one of academic and athletic paragon, but of diversity, service and community outreach. USC’s devotion to philanthropy and community service in the surrounding neighborhoods of Los Angeles has been just as indelible a trademark as any admission statistic or Heisman Trophy.

The student body must now consider how the monumental changes we have effected around campus will impact the city to which we are so closely tied.  We must be aware that as we expand our own horizons, we take with us the future of a metropolitan giant.

With our school now occupying a higher profile, the time has come to increase student involvement in our outreach programs; we must also hold our administrators accountable to avoid a myopic vision of the future that focuses solely on campus development.

USC often touts its “College of the Year” award, which it won in 2000 for outstanding community service. But we can’t continue to pat ourselves on the back for accolades we collected a decade ago. The Joint Educational Project, the USC Good Neighbors Campaign, Local Vendor Program, Small Business Clinic and a host of other enterprises designed with the Los Angeles community in mind can ensure that the Trojan spirit that won us that honor will not be forgotten.

Throughout all the renovations, the restorations, the Master Plans and the changing faces of our university, our city, malleable as it is, will be the constant that does not change.

“USC is here for the long term,” Sample said in 1992.  “We will not be sold or merged or moved to Phoenix.”

Let the legacy of USC’s service to our community be just as enduring.