USC first-year students and their parents took a whirlwind tour of Los Angeles led by some of the foremost experts on the city’s entertainment hubs, history, sports and social scene. And they didn’t even have to leave their couches to do it.
Every year, dozens of freshmen and transfer students sign up for organized trips to L.A. destinations as part of their Trojan rite of passage before their first semester begins. But this year is like no other. Thanks to the pandemic, most students remain off campus and group outings are discouraged.
The coronavirus didn’t stop the annual pilgrimage across Los Angeles, though. In some ways, the L.A. immersion experience may have been even better.
Explore L.A. welcomes new USC students to the city
On Aug. 13 and 14, students and their families tuned in to special sessions on Zoom called Explore L.A. Anyone can watch the recorded talks on the “Welcome Trojans” Facebook page, the official page for the Office of Orientation Programs.
The virtual trips and topic included:
- Olympics and pro sports: Students learned directly from sports stars like USC quarterback Kedon Slovis, Olympian swimmer and alum John Naber, and Trojan track and field athlete Anna Cockrell about the region’s sports teams and their history.
- Restaurants and eateries: Foodies and food scientists dove into hidden culinary gems across the city. Guests included Michael Pettiti, a professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and an expert on food and class in Los Angeles; Grayson Jaggers, a USC Dornsife professor who teaches about biology and food; Xochitl Ruiz, an anthropology professor at USC Dornsife who offers a class on food in culture and society; chef and restaurateur Nguyen Tran from Starry Kitchen and Button Mash; and more.
- Social scene and landmarks: Outdoor enthusiasts talked about hiking trails, outdoor areas and places worth visiting, with the help of representatives from the Peaks and Professors program and Karin Huebner, director of programs for USC’s Harman Academy for Polymathic Study.
- L.A.’s neighborhood flavor: The city is about more than the beach and movie studios. Neighborhoods from South Los Angeles to Lincoln Heights offer rich cultural scenes, and experts like USC historian William Deverell showed them off.
- The entertainment scene: Students and professors in the entertainment industry showcased concert venues, studio tours and other hotspots. Guests included Madison Thompson, a current USC student and actress who stars in the Emmy-nominated series Ozark; USC alumnus and actor Collin Woodell from the series The Purge; and others.
Curious about what else is new for incoming Trojans this year in the age of the pandemic? Visit the We are SC site.