Doing something new is always hard. I think that’s a fact of life, no matter who you are or where you are in it. There’s always someone telling you it can’t happen, something blocking the way, and some obstacle to overcome. But overcoming those challenges makes doing something new worth it, and it’s that idea that’s at the core of Spark SC, a student organization I’ve been a part of since Spring 2016. It’s been one of the most transformative things I’ve done while at USC, and it’s become a second family while I’ve been here.
“So Ankur, what is Spark SC?”
Spark SC is USC’s student-driven hub for entrepreneurship to innovation. Our mission is to inspire a culture of innovation, expose students to their creative potential, and connect makers across diverse communities. We’re committed to making USC an amazing place to be entrepreneurial, in whatever sense that means to you. Here’s a breakdown of some of what we do:
1000 Pitches : An annual, a two-month long pitch that engages students with entrepreneurship by encouraging them to pitch their own ideas for new ideas, product solutions, and problem fixes! Just like the name says, we get over 1,000 each year.
The Startup Career Fair:A flagship event every semester, the Spark SC Startup Career Fair brings out top LA startups to connect with students seeking full-time jobs and internships. Work on outreach and logistics to help strengthen USC’s connection with startups in Los Angeles.
State of the Arts: State of the Arts is an art fair that exists at the confluence of art, food, fashion, entertainment and entrepreneurship. Build relationships with exhibitors, speakers, and community members, plan logistics, and work on marketing for this one-of-a-kind event.
USC Hackers: We’ve made an impact in the USC coding and hacking community by creating USC Hackers. USC Hackers throws monthly Hack Nights and large-scale events that lower the barriers of entry to hacking and bring the community together.
Project Launch: Design and manage a social entrepreneurship project, collaborate with nonprofits, and give back to the surrounding LA community. Project Launch helps underserved high school students build the hard skills, soft skills, and growth mindset they will need as leaders of the next generation.
TechLA Fellows: We’re connecting 12 of the best technology companies in Los Angeles with 12-15 amazing students for a unique summer internship experience that will bring together learning, community, and culture.
Each of these initiatives could be a club on its own, and each of those clubs could have its own teams and own infrastructure. I’ve been fortunate that I found a community of people in Spark SC who are not just willing to work on multiple projects, but instead build many of these out at the same time. Each initiative is student-run, student-launched, and student-led, and I’ve had the opportunity to get to know each of these incredibly talented student leaders over the course of the last year.
So next time you’re walking around campus, look out for a 1000 Pitches t-shirt, or a USC Hackers Logo, or a random food festival. More likely than not, the students at Spark SC have played a part in making it happen.
Doing something new isn’t easy. But that’s doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.