What are the five traits of a Trojan? It may sound like a trivia question, but to USC Orientation Programs, it’s a campaign to welcome new members of the Trojan Family.
At an orientation adviser conference in March, USC junior Jessica Frey was intrigued by student discussions of the core values of their schools.
Frey decided that it was time to bring to life the five words etched on the pedestal of Tommy Trojan’s statue. These traits – faithful, skillful, scholarly, courageous and ambitious – were incorporated into the freshman orientation sessions that began on June 9.
“The overall goal is to provide awareness of the traits and to get students to feel connected to the Trojan Family,” said Frey, who now works as an orientation session coordinator. “I thought it would be a good way to talk about our core values and get students thinking positively about our campus.”
A performance for Visions and Voices, the USC arts and humanities initiative, introduced the traits. National poetry slam champion Javon Johnson, who lectures at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, shared the importance of the five traits during a question-and-answer session with students.
After the presentation, groups of students made posters about the traits they already embody and those they would like to work toward achieving. The students were photographed holding their signs, and the pictures will be used as part of next year’s campaign.
Chrissy Roth, associate director of Orientation Programs, is proud that the campaign was driven by students.
“It’s really cool that they took upon themselves to create this initiative,” she said. “They found the inspiration, they did their research on how to do it and they got it done. It’s been really good so far, and we’re going to expand it next year.”
Planning for orientation sessions is a year-long process, Roth said. Each summer there are seven freshman sessions, three transfer student sessions, one graduate orientation for domestic students, one graduate orientation for international students, one international orientation for undergraduates, a Hawaii session and a Hong Kong session. In the winter, there are sessions for frosh, transfer and international students.
Each freshman session usually has 360 students and close to 300 parents or family members. The sessions for graduate students typically have more than 1,000 students in attendance. While incoming freshmen attend workshops on academic success and expectations, their parents and family members learn about paying for college and parenting and supporting through the college years.
Parents also take part in a faculty showcase, where a star professor teaches a class that their students might take, and a presentation from the Office of Parent Programs.
Other highlights of orientation include a spirit rally where the Trojan Marching Band, Song Girls and Spirit Leaders teach USC’s popular cheers, traditions and fight songs, and a student social sponsored by USC Spectrum.
By the end of the sessions, the new crop of faithful, skillful, scholarly, courageous and ambitious students are ready to put the traits of a Trojan to work.