Students are always interested in what there is to do on campus. Of course, there are clubs and organizations, athletics, Greek life, movie screenings, guest lectures, community service programs, and many other things. Two USC signature programs that I always highlight to prospective students are Visions and Voices and What Matters to Me and Why. These programs are unique to USC and are both manifestations of the values of the University as they seek to expand students’ perspectives through highlighting the diversity of experience that surrounds us all.
Visions and Voices was created in 2006 by USC President C.L. Max Nikias when he was the University’s provost. The program was designed to reflect the rich cultural opportunities of the city of Los Angeles, and beyond. Visions and Voices is an arts and humanities program, and its events are designed to attract students from all disciplines at the University. Highlights of the series this year include a visit to the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA, a culinary tour of Thai Town, the three-day Comedy@SCA Festival, an evening with Romeo Dallaire the Canadian senator and humanitarian credited with saving 32,000 lives in Rwanda, and a performance by San Francisco’s LINES Ballet. And I can’t leave out one of the most interdisciplinary events, “Wonderland and the Mathematical Imaginary,” an entirely new look at Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, lead by a science writer, a math professor, and an English professor.
What Matters to Me and Why is a speaker series sponsored by the Office of Religious Life. The program is designed to give students the opportunity to learn a bit more about the values, beliefs, and motivations of those who shape the University today. This year students have had the opportunity to hear from; Reverend Cecil Murray, one of the most influential ministers in Los Angeles who is also on our faculty, and Professor Paul Frommer, the creator of the Na’vi language you may have heard in James Cameron’s “Avatar.” I had the opportunity to attend the talk by Elizabeth Garrett the current provost of USC. Provost Garrett has had an epic career (and that may be an understatement). One thing that I took away from her presentation was that she believed in the idea of being open to new and unexpected opportunities. She credits most of her career to taking advice from some of her teachers and professors in looking outside of her immediate world (which was Oklahoma at the time) and to take on interesting opportunities as they reveal themselves, rather than trying to stick to a set path. I loved that! This is one of my favorite events to attend at USC, and it’s not just because there is a free lunch involved, it’s because it is such a human and communal experience.
For both of those programs my explanations above are just the tip of the iceberg. I absolutely encourage you to check out their websites to learn about all of the great events they have coming up!