In a difficult and distressing time, USC has stood as a leader for the student body and the Los Angeles community in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Communication from the administration has been frequent and thorough. USC Student Health has provided several resources for both mental and physical health, and the offices of the president and provost have kept students and parents updated on grading policies as well as changes to international and summer programs. The administration’s leadership has also spearheaded the creation of the USC Student Basic Needs Fund and the USC Employee Support Fund to help students and staff financially affected by the pandemic.
The University has also taken steps to make the online college experience more interactive. The school has set up a virtual career fair and events such as Visions and Voices programming online. Keeping everyone in the USC family updated on the evolving situation, as well as hosting virtual events and activities, embodies the commitment and care the University has for its student body.
On a more tangible scale, the school has also accommodated more than 1,600 students with housing on campus. While the University deserves credit for organizing a contingency plan to support these students, the dedication of the school’s residential and food services staff has been indispensable.
Beyond student and employee affairs, USC has made an impact on the broader Los Angeles community and the world. Over the next few months, USC’s Good Neighbors Campaign, which focuses on community education and safety, will give local nonprofits $1.3 million in grants. Additionally, USC’s Neighborhood Academic Initiative, a college-preparatory program serving more than 1,000 students from local schools annually, has continued its efforts through Zoom and other online formats.
The University has also stepped up in a large way in the medical fight against the virus. The Keck Medicine of USC COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund was created to raise money to obtain medical resources, such as masks, gloves, testing kits and ventilators for USC medical workers and their patients. Through the Keck School, University researchers are studying the virus to help create better public safety measures, as well as develop potential treatments.
The Iovine and Young Academy and School of Architecture have both pitched in as well, using their respective 3D printers to make N-95 equivalent masks and deliver them to Keck Medicine, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the L.A. County+USC Medical Center.
In this time of crisis, USC has done exactly what universities were designed to do: serve society. Over the past month or two, the University has shown its resilience as well as its ability to make a profound impact.
Not only has the school made considerable efforts to accommodate its students, it has also taken a leading role in the community and the worldwide fight against the coronavirus. Although to an extent it is what should be expected out of a school, it is a reminder of how pragmatic USC is.