Looking back with Kurth and Park
Signs on Trousdale. Profile and cover photos on Facebook. Student organization endorsements. What many see as a fierce competition raging on between factions of the student body is inspiring a very different kind of emotion in two students on campus — nostalgia.
“It’s weird seeing it from the other end,” said Undergraduate Student Government Vice President Ryan Park. “You know what they’re going through, and you know how stressed out and anxious and crazy they’re making themselves right now.”
The altered viewpoint is not necessarily a bad thing, however.
“It’s nice to see it from the other end, because we’re a little more relaxed now,” USG President Christian Kurth said.
Looking back on their campaign, Kurth and Park had some ambitious platform points, but they believe they have made a significant dent in them.
“I firmly believe that we’ve accomplished five or six very large items on our platform that I haven’t seen other tickets accomplish,” Kurth said.
During their administration, Kurth and Park established a farmer’s market on campus, fixed the sidewalks on 28th Street, increased sustainability awareness through the new Environmental Student Assembly and brought back the LA Live shuttle.
Other accomplishments, however, were less planned. Kurth believes the high number of alcohol-related transports and incidents that occurred last semester led to USG developing better relationships with the administration to deal with cultural issues on campus.
“What I’ll be most proud of at the end of the day is how our [USG] administration has fixed that dynamic,” he said. “The administrators, they can say they care about [the student voice], but for them to actually be willing to come and work with us on things [is new].”
Park agreed that if the two do leave a legacy at USC, it would be improved communication and cooperation between USG and the university administration.
“USC’s known for ‘work hard, play hard,’ but it will also be one of those work hard, play hard, but also get along with the administration,” he said. “Honestly I think that would be the coolest thing, to [have had] a hand in creating a culture both the administration and the students can agree upon and something they can both enjoy.”
Kurth and Park’s collaboration with the administration led to a new social events policy that allows programming on weekdays, as well as events at which alcohol is present on Thursdays.
“The policy changes, 1992 was when they were created, and they hadn’t been touched since,” Park said. “The school has become super different since then; we’re not a commuter school anymore. We’re a totally different community so it was awesome to be able to have a hand in changing the way in which the university and students come together and collaborate.”
Though much of the student attention has been concentrated on how this will affect their social lives, Kurth said the policy extends beyond The Row.
“It allows people to celebrate Chinese New Year. It allows the Chess Club to have a tournament later,” he said. “This isn’t just a huge Greek issue.”
The two said they plan on continuing working with the administration on alcohol-related policies including alcohol education in their remaining two months in office. When it comes time to turn over the reins on April 1, however, the two believe the school will remain in good hands.
“I’m very happy to know that all the candidates have USG experience, multiple years in most cases,” Kurth said. “I feel comfortable handing this off to any of them. But, it is going to be a really fun, close, tough race.”
Kurth and Park have both attributed their own positive experience to the university itself.
“There’s something called the USC experience, which is very hard to articulate, put in words. It’s different for everyone,” Kurth said. “But, once you’re here, you feel it, you do it … If I could bottle it and sell it I would, but I don’t know what it is.”
As for their future past USC, both have jobs lined up, Kurth will work in investment banking at Wells Fargo while Park will work in sales at the startup BrightEdge.
“I think the best years of our lives are still to come,” Park said. “This is just the beginning and USC has definitely equipped us with the tools and opportunities to make the most of what’s out there.”