Hello from your undergraduate and graduate student body presidents! We — Trenton Stone and Skye Parral — are so excited to start a new biweekly opinion column in the Daily Trojan titled “President’s Corner.” The aim of this column is simple: to inform students about resources their governments offer, describe initiatives we’re working on to improve the USC experience and highlight important topics on campus. For this first edition, we are writing a joint introductory piece to kick off this new effort. And for the following editions, the two of us will alternate in order to focus on different undergraduate and graduate subjects. 

First, we want to welcome every student to USC. Whether you’re returning for another year or it’s your first semester, we’re excited to work with you over the next year. It’s a uniquely exciting year — with a new University president, a new provost, many new vice presidents and changes in every corner of campus, we all come to USC with new hopes and ambitions for our community. As your elected representatives, we strive to make institutional improvements to the place where thousands of us work, live and study. Through understanding and collaborating, we want to strengthen the Trojan family and address issues of common concern for all students, both undergraduate and graduate. It is our hope that you feel you can reach out to us with any questions, comments or concerns you have about USC.

We recognize the difficulties faced by many students as they first come to campus, especially with everything that has happened in the past few years. To best adjust to the campus environment, we encourage you to work to find your place in the Trojan Family. Luckily, there are over 1000 student-run organizations and myriad other opportunities across campus. Research shows that the first six weeks of the semester are important for finding your social circles. Positive friendships help lessen stress and depressive symptoms, and establishing a supportive network of friends is helpful on a college campus.

As we look toward this new school year, we’d also like to introduce you to our student governments — USG and GSG — to highlight a few key goals for our administrations.

USG is composed of almost 120 student officer positions that support its daily mission through our advocacy, communications, funding, judicial, legislative and programming branches. Together, we employ a budget of nearly $2.5 million, derived from the $64 student programming fee, to enhance the USC undergraduate experience. USG’s work is wide-ranging and ever-evolving. This year, some of our priorities include increasing availability of and access to mental health resources, improving USC’s environmental sustainability, cross-campus shared governance and increasing student-focused services like free Lyft, the number of study spaces, student organization funding and resource support for first-generation and international students. 

GSG is composed of 26 students operating on a $1.6 million budget. And this year, GSG is focusing on several items. The first is increasing equitable programs and resources for the students of the Health Sciences Campus. Second, we are working with multiple campus partners on a permanent DREAM center for students. GSG is always juggling multiple projects and initiatives such as travel grants, childcare subsidies and identifying the needs of first-generation students, just to name a few.   

Together, as two student governments, we are prioritizing a few initiatives. USG and GSG are actively working to address housing and food insecurity among our students. We believe that students should be able to focus on their coursework, lab work and growing as a scholar while they are at USC.  Moreover, we aim to improve communication and shared governance between students, staff, faculty and senior administration. Separately, USG and GSG have a variety of funding options available for students to hold events and perform research. We also offer all students access to free professional legal counseling, a free annual subscription to The New York Times and free HIV testing through USC Student Health, among much more. You can check out our websites for more information at usg.usc.edu and gsg.usc.edu.

Both of us are thrilled to start this biweekly opinion column, and we look forward to sharing more information with you through this year. 

We wish you the best this semester and hope to see you around campus. Fight On!

Trenton Stone (USG): usgpres@usc.edu | usg.usc.edu/contact

Skye Parral (GSG): gsgpres@usc.edu | gsg.usc.edu/contact

USG office: TCC 224 | M-F, 9am-6pm | (213) 740-5620

GSG UPC office: SKS 410 | M-F, 9am-6pm | (213) 740-5649

GSG HSC office: SRH 101a | M-F, 12-1pm | (323) 442-1257

Trenton Stone and Skye Parral are the USG and GSG presidents. They write about ongoing and upcoming USG and GSG initiatives, and their column, “President’s Corner,” runs every other Tuesday, alternatively, in the Daily Trojan.