Jason DeRulo headlines 10th annual Conquest rally
Conquest, the annual concert and pep rally in anticipation of the USC vs. UCLA rivalry game, will celebrate its 10th year on Monday at 7 p.m. at McCarthy Quad.
The Concerts Committee within Program Board paired up with the Office of Campus Activities paired up to put on the event, working together to bring the community together and celebrate what it means to be Trojan.
“We want to have a fun and exciting event. Something that pumps up the students and really gets them rallied for the game against UCLA,” said Stephanie Aristakesian, executive director of the Concerts Committee.
The annual pep rally and concert traditionally attracts 7,000 to 10,000 people and features a celebration of the athletics teams, a ceremonial burning of a Bruin effigy, food trucks, fireworks, a Ferris wheel and a concert. Student groups and the Office of Campus Activities have been working to make this event feasible since last spring.
It has become a well-loved tradition on the USC campus.
“We call it ‘Conquest: the ultimate Trojan experience’ because we try to encapsulate the entire experience of what it is to be a Trojan,” said Lily Chowana-Bandhu, director of campus activities.
In departure from their typical genre choices, the Concerts Committee and Office of Campus Activities chose a mainstream pop artist as the headliner.
Chowana-Bandhu said they chose Jason DeRulo because they believed he would appeal to a wider audience and put on a show that many people could enjoy.
“He had taken a hiatus, and it’s really cool for him to pick up where his music left off at USC. I’m excited about his performance,” said Christina Mireles, program manager for the Office of Campus Activities.
This year, Conquest will also feature two hosts instead of one: Heather McDonald and Steve Rannazzisi. McDonald is a USC alumna and regularly appears on the comedy talk show Chelsea Lately. Rannazzisi is best known for his role as Kevin on FX’s The League.
But the biggest surprise in store for students who attend Conquest is a new pyrotechnic method of lighting the UCLA bruin on fire.
“It’s going to be a lot more impactful. And really, really cool. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say more,” Aristakesian said.
A goal of Conquest is also to celebrate community, and other milestones in Trojan history such as 125 years of Trojan athletics and 45 years of the world famous USC Song Girls.
The USC Song Girls will open up the show. There will also be performances by Chaotic 3, Trojan Dance Force and the Trojan Marching Band.
One of the greatest parts about Conquest, Chowana-Bandhu pointed out, is how numerous student groups work together to put on a massive event for the entire community to enjoy and celebrate the Trojan spirit.
“It’s really cool to see everyone come together and work together. It’s really amazing,” Mireles said.
Conquest will celebrate Trojan athletics by honoring the soccer, baseball, volleyball, swimming, diving and football teams and giving senior members an opportunity to speak and be recognized for their achievements.
To further honor the Trojan community, The Order of the Torch members are also being recognized. They will reveal this year’s Mr. and Mrs. USC.
“[Conquest] is a community building experience,” Chowana-Bandhu said. “It’s one of the events that is a great opportunity for students to visually experience Trojan pride.”
Students must show valid student ID at the Von Kleinsmid Center in order to attend. Non-USC students must be a guest of a student and also provide a valid form of identification.
Alumni and community members also welcome, and can check in near Parking Structure X.
“This is the 10th anniversary and we’re hoping to make it the biggest Conquest in Trojan history so far,” Aristakesian said.
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