USC’s Good Neighbors Campaign, an initiative to raise $1.7 million for the surrounding community over the course of one year, will come to a close on Oct. 31.
GNC is an annual employee giving initiative organized by the Civic Engagement Initiative through which faculty can give one-time donations or monthly payroll deductions to go toward community programs.
Since its inception, GNC has raised more than $16 million for the community.
GNC uses its contributions to enhance educational opportunities, promote good health and fitness (specifically focusing on type two diabetes and obesity prevention), support economic development through USC’s hiring initiative and improve safety in the surrounding community.
This year, GNC is focusing on supplementing science and engineering education in elementary schools and creating dialogue about land-use issues with high school students.
“Last year, we surpassed our goal of $1.6 million, so this year our new goal is $1.7 million,” said Carolina Castillo, the GNC campaign director.
Using funds from last year, GNC funded Mission Science, a program at six schools near the University Park and Health Sciences campuses that teaches elementary school students about technology, engineering and mathematics.
Mission Science sends USC Viterbi School of Engineering mentors to local schools to collaborate with the children on projects, ranging from small-scale experiments to creating model rockets.
The fund also supports “Our Neighborhood: Youth Artists as Civic Leaders,” a program that allows youth between the ages of 15 and 25 to artistically respond to social issues they see in their communities. Young adults in the program work with USC Roski students and professional artists to create public art pieces for the community.
Those on USC payroll can set up annual deductions to contribute to the fund, making it easy and convenient for faculty to give back. Students, alumni and people who are not affiliated with the university can contribute to the campaign as well.
Some students, however, have expressed their frustration with the program.
“While I think it’s great that USC is acting upon [its] responsibility to support [the] surrounding community, I hope that they will keep in mind that the socioeconomic issues affecting these communities are a lot more complex than they seem,” said Hannah Nguyen, a sophomore majoring in sociology and Spanish. “Throwing money at a problem only does so much; the problems affecting these communities are systemic, historic and complicated, but they will be solved by people, the same resilient and unrelenting people who live this reality every day.”
Others, however, believed that the campaign was a good way for USC to have positive relationships with people in the community.
“I think the Good Neighbors Campaign helps us give back to the community that we live in,” said Tianna Li, a sophomore majoring in business administration. “It’s really important to maintain good relations with our neighbors and the campaign is a good way to do that.”
Though this round of fundraising ends Oct. 31, donations to the GNC can be made throughout the year.
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