Universities leading in the 21st century cannot be silos. Nor can they believe they are not a silo simply because they are producing research with impact. Universities are part of the social fabric, especially in the geographic vicinity of their campuses, and as such, they must be caring and committed community partners. As Trojans, we should be immensely proud of our partnership with communities throughout Los Angeles and around the world. Whether it is through our Good Neighbors Campaign, or workforce training and employment, or the Joint Educational Project which provides community service-learning opportunities to thousands of students every year, or the community clinics run by health professionals and students, or the Trojan Day of Service that enlists alums throughout the world in community improvement projects, civic engagement is part of USC’s DNA. And we must not forget USC’s long history of athletic excellence, arguably the most celebrated athletics program in American collegiate history – with more Olympic gold and combined medals won by its athletes than any other university, more gold medals won than all but 14 nations in the world, and more NCAA championships than any university save two. Beyond these noteworthy milestones, Trojan athletics boosts civic pride, promotes civic engagement through sports camps for kids, and contributes to Los Angeles’ success in hosting past and future Summer Olympics, Paralympics, and Special Olympics.
Over the next few years, USC will set a goal that every member of the Trojan Family contributes to making some small part of the world better. We will create community advisory boards to counsel us on our partnering possibilities. We will create programs that help our students connect with community partners and support student groups that wish to make a difference in the community. We will increase the number of programs that bring our neighbors to our campuses. We will continue to broaden and deepen our support for children, especially through programs focused on early life health and wellness, education, and access to the arts. We will encourage our schools to create and support community clinics across a wide spectrum of support services. And we will not forget that we are a community unto ourselves, and so we must continue to invest in programs that support physical health, mental health, and wellness for faculty, staff, and students.