Conquest prepares for crosstown showdown

Students joined together in McCarthy Quad Monday night for the annual Conquest spirit rally and concert featuring artists Miguel and ILoveMakonnen. Conquest 2015 was the result of a combined effort by the Office of Campus Activities, Undergraduate Student Government Program Board, USG Concerts Committee and Trojan Pride in anticipation of the crosstown rivalry game against UCLA this Saturday.

Conquest included a Bruin Bonfire put on by Trojan Pride, a fireworks show and a Ferris wheel all in McCarthy Quad. Food truck vendors The Boba Truck, Kogi, Coolhaus, The Grilled Cheese Truck, Jogasaki and Farmer’s Belly opened for business at 5:00 p.m., followed by the opening of the Ferris wheel.

The next portion of the night was the spirit rally, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The rally included guest appearances from student groups, including the USC Cheer team.

“Conquest is really exciting because we know a ton of people are going to be there to watch us,” said Lindsay Luiz, an undeclared freshman on the USC Cheer team. “I’m nervous because it’s our first really big performance, but it’s fun to build up to the game on Saturday. We’ve been preparing for a long time and making a special routine just for Conquest.”

Athletes and coaches, the Spirit of Troy, Song Girls, Trojan Dance Force, Spirit Leaders, UnderSCore, Reverse Osmosis and Break Through all made appearances on the Conquest stage.

“There are a lot of moving parts to Conquest,” said Alya Omar, one of the student MCs for the rally. “My job is to keep things moving, help with transitions, make sure everything goes smoothly and keep students excited and pumped. This is one of my favorite events because it’s a really good unifier. All of the student groups are so talented and just really fun to watch.”

Miguel and ILoveMakonnen were announced as the featured performers on the Conquest Facebook event page on Friday. Miguel, a Grammy-award winning, critically acclaimed artist, and ILoveMakonnen, best known for his song remixed by Drake, “Tuesday,” pumped students up toward the end of the night. Previous Conquest headline performers have included Phantogram, Jason Derulo and Childish Gambino.

“I’m not a huge R&B or soul music fan myself, but I think Miguel and ILoveMakonnen are really diverse in their nature. They will appeal to a wide array of audiences in the student body,” said Leah Palacios, a freshman majoring in communication. “For the Welcome Back Concert we had more EDM style artists, which I thought was really cool. Something like pop rock would have been better at really making people pumped up for the game on Saturday.”

At the event, five students were randomly selected to predict the  halftime and final score of the USC-UCLA game on Saturday. Winners will receive $10,000.

The spirit of Conquest began even before the rally and concert Monday evening. Representatives from the Office of Campus Activities and Program Board hosted a variety of activities in front of Tommy Trojan since last Monday, Nov. 16. These mini events included free Conquest t-shirt and goodie-bag giveaways, Sprinkles Cupcakes.