If you think “Student Alumni Association” is an oxymoron, think again.
After all, every alum was once a student, and the more a student is actively engaged by alumni, the more likely that student will be an active and engaged alum once he or she graduates.
With this in mind, the USC Alumni Association has chartered Society 53, named for the 53 students who comprised USC’s first student body in 1880.
Society 53 initially will be limited to 53 members who will serve as a leadership board working to enhance the alumni association’s outreach to the USC student community.
Many may recall the Pepsters, a student service organization supported by the Alumni Association for approximately 25 years, and SCions, USC’s legacy student program, both of which assisted in various campus efforts over the years.
The Pepsters provided the student foundation upon which Society 53 was formed. Its members were given the opportunity to transition to the new organization, and 33 opted to do so. SCions took part in this process, including a SCions representative seated on the Society 53 executive board.
In order to fill the remaining open positions for the launch of the new group, the alumni association’s Lifecycle Programs staff, in coordination with members of the Pepsters executive board, conducted a recruitment campaign that included a written application, interviews and special rush sessions at the Alumni House.
To be eligible for Society 53, students must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. They must be proven campus leaders with a demonstrated enthusiasm for promoting all things Trojan and acting as stewards of USC traditions and as official ambassadors for the Trojan Family.
Others involved in the selection process include the USC Alumni Association board of governors’ Student Outreach Committee, a student outreach representative from the Alumnae Coordinating Council and members of the Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Council (the advisory board representing alumni who have graduated within the last decade). Once accepted into Society 53, students will serve for the duration of their undergraduate careers at USC.
USC student Stefani Roberts, past Pepsters co-chair and now a Society 53 vice president, was happy to make the switch. “We really worked hard to find a way to make Pepsters more prestigious and to make sure our members would be committed.”
Many former Pepsters are looking to play a larger role in reaching out to and involving their fellow students in USC events and programs.
Members of Society 53 will be trained in all aspects of campus life and history via weekly briefings from campus leaders and staff. In addition, they will assist in organizing “Trojan SCuppers,” meals for 10-12 students that alumni will host at their homes or another convenient venue.
Based on successful programs from other schools, the SCuppers will give students the opportunity to interact socially with their peers as well as their alumni hosts.
Society 53 members also will plan, promote and run the Alumni Association’s Senior SCend Off and related programs geared to undergraduate seniors preparing to graduate each May.