“When you arrive at USC for the first time as a transfer or veteran student, it can a feel a little foreign,” said Apollo Emeka ’09. “But let me assure you that USC is very much yours. Make your mark and own it.”
These words from a veteran and transfer student summed up what the new Transfer and Veteran Student Programs (TVSP) hopes to accomplish at USC.
Founded by the Office of Campus Activities in the Division of Student Affairs in fall 2011, TVSP held its first Spring Recognition Reception on April 5 at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.
“This program has been around for almost a year now, and it’s important to celebrate the work that we’ve done,” said Syreeta Greene MSW ’09, associate director of TVSP. “These are two communities – transfers and veterans – that are not always recognized because they aren’t always that visible, but we’re definitely working on improving that.”
The reception also provided an opportunity to recognize some of the students and alumni who have supported TVSP during its inaugural year.
One supporter has been Emeka, a U.S. Army veteran who transferred to USC, earned both a McNair Scholarship and Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship for his original research in race relations and graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. At the reception, he delivered an inspiring speech about feeling a sense of belonging on the USC campus.
Rebecca Obada, a junior majoring in public relations and president of the Trojan Transfer Organization, enjoyed meeting her fellow students at the reception.
“The ceremony gave an opportunity for both the transfer and the veteran communities to get to know each other and recognize one another,” she said.
Throughout TSVP’s first year, Greene and her group of student volunteers have built a better support system for the 6,000 transfer and veteran students in their first year at USC. The program, which provides counseling and information about the student services available on campus, will implement a first-year seminar and peer-mentoring program next semester.
“We think these resources will provide transfer and veteran students with a variety of things they need to know for their first semester, whether it is academic, personal or professional guidance-related,” Greene said. “The mentoring program also is a step in the right direction because it’s important to connect students with similar interests who may have taken a similar path to USC.”
Greene and her team are moving forward with optimism about the future.
“We’d love to see more students in attendance next year and be able to recognize more students,” Greene said. “Not just students involved in TVSP but those doing phenomenal work in the campus community.”
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