Back-To-School Story Ideas from USC

August 14, 2013

**Photo opportunities during USC’s Welcome Week beginning Aug. 21 include activities at USC Bookstores, L.A. Memorial Coliseum and dining halls.**

Contact: Merrill Balassone at (213) 740-6156 or

It’s back-to-school time at the University of Southern California, and we’d like to invite you to see firsthand what it’s like to be a student today.

Please RSVP to USC Media Relations at (213) 740-2215 for more information.

Rent-A-Book, Save $450,000

Students eager to save money on textbooks can rent their textbooks at USC Bookstores. The program, launched last fall, helped Trojans save more than $450,000 over the cost of new textbooks last year, said USC Bookstores director Dan Archer. The use of e-books and digital materials is also on the rise, although Archer notes that most tech-saavy undergrads still seem to appreciate “the feel and experience of a hard copy.”

When: Wed, Aug. 21 from 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: USC Bookstores

Trojans Light Up the Coliseum

Witness the first year of a new USC tradition. Students will make their way to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (kicking the flagpoles for good luck on the way, of course) and onto the field through the players’ tunnel. There, they’ll spell out “USC” in the dark with flashlights for a class picture.

When: Friday, Aug. 23, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Students will meet at the Tommy Trojan statue before making the march to the Coliseum.

Gluten-Free at USC

It’s not easy to keep up with the latest diet trends (especially in L.A.). But at USC, students going “gluten-free” can find all the same treats, minus the gluten, in everything from muffins, bread and pasta to cupcakes and brownies at their campus dining halls.

When: Wed, Aug. 21 thru Fri., Aug 23, from 7 – 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Where: Parkside Dining Hall

Those who believe pizza qualifies as a vegetable can take a break from moving into their dorms to score free samples of campus favorites like BBQ pork and bread pudding at the inaugural “Taste of ‘SC” event.

When: Wed., Aug. 21 at 5 p.m.
Where: Ronald Tutor Campus Center

Making the U.S. Their Home

USC has more international students than any other private university in the United States, and many choose to study at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Many international students have been keeping a close eye on the immigration reform bill currently before the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes provisions that would make it easier for foreign students who earn certain degrees to stay and work after they graduate.

USC postdoctoral researcher Harshvardhan Vathsangam’s goal of launching a company turning smartphones into tools for healthy lifestyles may be put on hold if, instead, he needs to work for a company that can sponsor his visa. “It’s like a lottery in terms of sheer numbers of talented people who want to work in the U.S.,” he said. “(Immigration reform) will give a lot of students the courage to start their own companies and create jobs in the U.S.”

When: USC Viterbi New Student Luau and Class Photo on Thurs, Aug. 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Engineering Quad

Social Media Scavengers

Scavenger hunts have long been a popular way to get students to meet each other and explore the campus. But for the first year, USC will be showing new students around via social media, a critical communication tool for a new generation of students. From Aug. 21-29, students will be criss-crossing campus to solve clues doled out from the university’s social media channels, while learning about USC’s history, programs and traditions at the same time. You can follow along using the #uscquest hashtag on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.