Fostering community isn’t just about providing funding.
Campus organizations grant students the opportunity to express themselves, satisfy their interests and share their passion with others. In turn, these organizations make USC a better place to live and learn.
But while the community thrives on its own, it relies on the university to support it. Fostering community is the administration’s most important responsibility outside of improving academics.
USC does an excellent job of supporting community organizations by granting them access to its resources. But supporting community does not end with funding. Providing forums for student groups to communicate with one another and to reach the community is just as important.
The Ronald Tutor Campus Center should support the organic growth of a dynamic and interconnected university community. Unfortunately, it fails to do so, putting institutional goals like fundraising and increasing prestige ahead of the community.
The first floor of the main building looks more like the inside of a corporate high rise than any part of a college campus, and the sitting room beyond the lobby is a hushed, reverent space that glorifies USC as an institution.
The International Plaza is always packed with students and could do very much to foster community. Instead, the plaza is a surprisingly difficult place for campus organizations to reach students. Nowhere in the entire Plaza can a poster, flier or community message of any form be posted. According to SCampus, putting fliers on the tables in the Plaza or using sidewalk chalk on the ground anywhere on campus is prohibited and punishable by fines.
The design of the campus center and its policies bely any vision of a university community characterized by youth, energy, spontaneity and independence.
I urge the administration to make the simple changes that will make USC a much more hospitable place to its own community.
Erect bulletin boards in the International Plaza and across campus. Allow student groups to promote themselves on the sidewalk with chalk. In the EVK Restaurant and Grill and The Parkside Restaurant, play KXSC Radio. Renovate the dilapidated Trojan Vision kiosk on Trousdale, and replace MTVU on the Lyon Center’s television screens with programming from Trojan Vision.
In doing so, you will reward students for their hard work and allow them to learn. USC will be an even better place than it is now, and the Trojan Family will be stronger than ever before.