Guest Blog: Politics at USC and in Los Angeles

Presidential debate watch party, phone banking for Secretary Clinton, panel discussion on the role of the media in politics, and a Bernie Sanders rally–all in one week.  True, USC may be no historical hotbed of political protest like UC Berkeley and Los Angeles may be no Washington DC, but as a student, a wealth of political opportunities on and off campus lies at a finger’s touch.

Each week you can find several discussions, lectures, and events that focus on politics, public service, and issues facing the local community, state, and nation.  For example, just a few weeks ago, the Price School of Public Policy hosted retired General David Petraeus and Californian Congressman Adam Schiff to discuss the future of American foreign policy.  And a few weeks before, the Young Turks filmed a segment of their piece on Millennials and politics right on campus with a large crowd of students.  And on November 7, the day before the election, California’s Attorney General, and senate candidate at the time, Kamala Harris, arrived at USC to discuss her political positions and her thoughts on the election. This is not an aberration –it’s the norm here at USC.  And some of these opportunities hit a lot closer to home –literally.  That’s because at my freshman residence hall, the faculty master has already brought in several USC professors with experience in political journalism and campaigns in an informal environment full of discussion and, more importantly, free food.

Alec Vandenberg (right) at the Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator – CA (elect), discussion at USC  on November 7, 2016

My most memorable political experience here so far has been listening to Jeremy Shane, former Director of Campaign Issues for Bush-Quayle 1992, in one of these dorm discussions.  He talked to us about how Trumpism has manifested itself in the past, why millennials are becoming turned off from politics, and a myriad of other issues.  I was able to ask him about the chance of third parties emerging on the political stage and how this would affect polarization.  Participating in events like this really has personalized politics for me and has provided me a window to the wider world of policy.

And off campus, from rallies, to volunteering for campaigns, to internships, LA provides USC students with chances to engage with, experience, and shape the political world around them.  Back in October for example, I had the chance to hear Bernie Sanders speak about prescription drug prices at a rally just a short Uber ride away.  Even though I didn’t agree with certain aspects of the proposition he was advocating for, it was an electric experience that I won’t soon forget.  I’m only about two months into my USC journey, but I’m more than excited to see what the next several years hold for me not just academically and personally, but also politically.

BY: Alec Vandenberg Public Policy ’20
Price Student Blog

What We Love About Fall at USC

Fall is a special time of year at USC. For our freshmen students it marks the beginning of their college experience. For our admission staff it marks the beginning of the recruitment cycle for our next freshmen class. For students and staff fall is a wonderful time of year for many different reasons. We thought it would be nice to survey our some of our students and admission counselors to see why they enjoy the fall at USC so much.

Here’s what some of our students had to say:

“I love producing TV shows at USC’’s Annenberg TV News” – Jake, Senior, Broadcast and Digital Journalism, Ridgefield CT

“I love seeing so many alumni come back to USC Football games to support the Trojans” – Pooja, Junior, Kinesiology, Cupertino, CA

“I love seeing all the new students getting involved with the different student organizations who recruit at the start of the semester” – Matt, Senior, Public Policy Management and Planning, Irvine, CA

“I look forward to a cappella auditions and welcoming our new members” – Trace, Junior, Broadcast and Digital Journalism, Elmhurst, IL

“FOOTBALL” – Ryan, Senior, Accounting, Chicago, IL

Here is what some of our admission counselors had to say:

“I love leaving work each day and hearing the marching band practice at the track stadium and listen to Dr. Art Bartner direct the group. I love that the band allows us to run on the track during their practices. Good music to get you fired up!” – Michael Gulotta

” I love fall because the students come back and bring life back to campus!  It’s great to hear what they did over the summer.” – Samantha Schreiber

Conquest is every fall and it’s a sendoff for our football team, but it’s also a lot of fun for the rest of campus.  The main quad gets turned into a carnival, with a Ferris wheel, fireworks, bonfire, and food.  But the best part comes at the end of the night when they start the concert.  Every year they bring amazing artists to campus to perform for students.  My favorite show was Lupe Fiasco!” – Kendall Williams

The Trojan Knights” – Olivia Sajjadieh

“I love when the weather actually turns to fall and the leaves begin to change color, especially in Alumni Park – it’s the perfect setting with all the trees and Doheny in the background!” – Neelam Savla

Local Cuisine


Today’s blog post is brought to you by one of our admission counselors, Alejandra.



As a Los Angeles native, my favorite thing about this city is the diversity. Los Angeles is an ethnic and cultural hub that allows us to have access to wonderful art museums, musical venues, and my personal favorite, delicious food! I am known in the office for being a food aficionado and am constantly surprised by what Los Angeles and the local USC neighborhood has to offer in this regard.

One of my favorite USC neighborhood establishments is Mercado La Paloma (The Dove Market), a mini food court within walking distance of campus. La Paloma features cuisines from around the world including my two favorites, Chichen Itza, which offers food from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, and Mo-Chica which features gourmet Peruvian food at a reasonable price. Mo-Chica was voted 4th best restaurant in Los Angeles by LA Magazine in 2010. This marketplace is definitely a hidden gem in our community.

Every summer, once per week, our admission counselors take a long lunch at a local restaurant and then explore what our community has to offer by visiting local galleries and museums. Last year one of the biggest hits was the 23rd Street Café which is accessible using the USC Tram. It is a fusion of Indian-Mexican food, with some of the most mouthwatering chicken tikka masala quesadillas.

Chano’s, a USC institution, is located a short walk from campus. Besides the fact that it is open into the wee hours of the night, you can find some pretty good Mexican food there. Surrounding Chano’s is almost any and every fast food restaurant known to man. Our office favorites include Five Guys, Free Birds, Chipotle, and Chick-Fil-A all within walking distance!

In addition to some off-campus favorites, I would like to highlight the excellent food options we have on campus. Our new Ronald Tutor Campus Center also has a lot of options for students including Panda Express, Wahoo’s Fish Taco, California Pizza Kitchen, and Carl’s Jr.  Lemonade, a Los Angeles boutique café, has local and organic foods and is also one of the best healthy food options on campus. They also have 4 different flavors of fresh lemonade every day, my favorite being blueberry-mint. If you’re looking for an all-you-can-eat experience, the dining halls on campus, such as Parkside Residential Dining Hall, offer a variety of cuisine ranging from pizza to international specialties.

Recently in Los Angeles there has been a food truck phenomenon, boasting some of the most innovative, delicious, affordable, and quick food around. Last week we took a lunch trip to the food trucks. In the picture you can see us getting ready to chow down on Filipino style tacos and good old American burgers. They are on campus daily and can be tracked through Twitter.

Well, as you can see I can talk about food for hours on end, however I encourage you to not only experience what our school has to offer on campus, but also get to know our neighborhood.  Who knows?  You may run into one of us at lunch one day!