Troy Camp raises thousands at Homecoming

Volunteers pass empty milk jugs around the Coliseum on Saturday to raise money for a free summer camp for students from elementary schools near USC. (Josh Dunst | Daily Trojan)

Dozens of empty milk jugs found their way through the Coliseum audience at halftime during Saturday’s Homecoming football game, as student volunteers collected money from the crowd for Troy Camp’s annual fundraiser.

The Pass the Can fundraiser has been a part of Troy Camp since the 1970s, making it one of the oldest traditions and largest fundraisers put on by the student organization.

In order for the fundraiser to run smoothly, a large number of students volunteer each year. This year, approximately 1,200 students signed up to pass the jugs.

“[It] was a really incredible experience, just being on the field and looking all across the stadium and seeing the support of the USC community for Troy Camp,” said Troy Camp co-executive director Marla Ross.

Each volunteer receives a “Pass the Can” T-shirt and free admission to the football game, as part of a partnership between Troy Camp and USC Athletics.

In the past two years, Troy Camp has also run an online campaign along with the halftime fundraiser. This year, the virtual campaign ran for three weeks before the Homecoming game, allowing Troy Camp to raise around $13,000.

“It was a decision we made with the executive board, alumni and general members throughout the year,” said Kyle Footitt, Troy Camp’s fundraising director. “Having cash is less common at games; virtual is going to be the route that most people go.”

The donations raised from Pass the Can are used to fund a summer camp for students from local elementary schools. The camp is free for students and features activities such as archery, swimming and horseback riding.

To spread the word about Pass the Can, Troy Camp advertised the event on campus and through social media to both increase donations and attract more volunteers.

“We ask people to reach out to their friends, we ask them to present in classes, we send out email to our classes, we sit on Trousdale and table,” said Molly Bamberger, Troy Camp’s co-executive director.

The final amount from this year, including the online campaign, is estimated to surpass 2017’s total of $27,000, but the final count wasn’t complete by the time of publication, according to Bamberger.

“We do our part every year [to publicize Pass the Can], but there is such a deep-rooted tradition within the USC community and the surrounding community,”  Ross said. “We have Troy Camp alumni [volunteer] from several years in the past. I met one who was 12 to 15 years out and still comes every year.”