They came for the free food and stayed for the community.
Nearly 200 USC students from across the University Park Campus gathered recently with retired USC faculty and staff members for a new tradition called Trojan Table. Hosted by the USC Emeriti Center, the free events encourage the two groups to connect over a shared meal.
“Trojan Table is an act of caring and nurturing that offers USC students a chance to relax, meet new people and communicate with adults who have no agenda other than listening and providing food,” said Janette Brown, assistant vice provost for the emeriti center. “And there is no stigma about showing up. It is casual, comforting, stress-free and happy.”
The inaugural Trojan Table meal on Feb. 26 brought 180 undergraduate and graduate students to the University Religious Center to dine with USC retirees. Two additional meals are planned this semester — on March 26 and April 21.
Students who are interested in attending should bring their student ID. They are also encouraged to bring a container for leftovers. Organizers said meals will be provided as long as supplies last, and vegetarian and vegan options will be available.
USC faculty and staff members, students and alumni are also invited to participate by providing a meal, volunteering to serve food or donating funds to finance future Trojan Table gatherings. More information is available by visiting the center’s volunteer website, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 213-740-8921.
The USC Emeriti Center supports USC faculty and staff retirees and pre-retirees by providing opportunities for service, learning, teaching and research. Other student-focused efforts at the center include the Caldwell Scholarship Program, which awards scholarships to students from high schools near USC, and ongoing support for the Trojan Food Pantry.