This week I’ll be sharing with you all about some of my favorite USC traditions from home as well as some of my new favorite Singapore traditions here at NUS. They might be 8,769 miles apart, but it’s neat to see how people celebrate with the same school spirit in both places!
- Game Days
At USC, there is no doubt that Game Days are one of the most exciting events on campus. You wake up in the morning to the smell of barbecue and the sounds of hundreds of people tailgating all over campus. Everywhere is red and gold – there are children running around and people laughing and students enjoying the day off. The whole day is one big celebration together. Then at the end of the day, there is a massive outflow across Trousdale (the central street running through campus by Tommy Trojan) as everyone makes their way to the coliseum. And of course, sitting in the student section is an unparalleled experience with all the chanting and singing and jumping and waving and yelling. I love how game day means seeing the Trojan family at one of its finest moments!
- Visions and Voices
One of my favorite initiatives at USC is the Visions and Voices program, which brings incredible artists from all around the world to perform on the USC campus – many of these performances are also open to the public, and its fun to see the huge line of people stretched all the way down Trousdale waiting in front of Bovard auditorium. Because of this program, I have been able to hear a talk from author Junot Diaz, watch Samoan dancers, see a contemporary dance ballet performance, hear the majesty of the Irish band
“The Gloaming” (which you MUST listen to here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w7cjXAtpJ4), and countless other amazing things! This program has added to so much richness to my academic experience, and has allowed me to enjoy state of the art performances right in my backyard.
- Career Fair
Now this one might not sound so exciting, but one of the coolest things about USC is the number of career opportunities available to students. The career fair at USC is therefore quite the show – all of Trousdale is lined with tightly packed booths holding every type of company under the sun. It’s neat to see all the USC students in suit and tie and pencil skirt with their briefcases and resumes talking like pro’s with company representatives. The Viterbi career fair is even cooler – because all the companies are for engineers!
- Farmer’s Market
One of my personal favorite traditions (and definitely the yummiest) is the USC farmer’s market every wednesday, when vendors come to sell all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables and hummus and nuts and bread and other odd trinkets. There are even food vendors for tacos and hot dogs and sandwiches. It fills all of McCarthy quad with the best of smells, and pulls students and faculty from all over campus for a great meal!
- Engin Day
At NUS, there is a special day dedicated to celebrating the founding of the engineering school. On this day, all engineering classes are cancelled and there is a carnival all over the engineering campus with games, free giveaways, popcorn and cotton candy and churros. There are tons of booths advertising all the engineering clubs, many free seminar talks, and professors have open hours for questions and meet-and-greet. It was such a surprise to arrive for class that day to find an empty classroom and everyone celebrating! I think it is a great tradition to get the whole engineering school involved and to celebrate being an engineer – my favorite part was just getting to see all the neat projects everyone was working on in their extracurriculars, and of course to watch engineers having fun playing games.
- NUS Arts Festival
Every spring, NUS has a wonderful festival called the NUS arts festival. This year’s theme is “Wonder.” At this showcase, there are various performances, art galleries, and various other forms of art presented for the whole campus. It is a great way to celebrate art, which offers something intangible and so important for our growth as people. The arts festival is happening in less than a week, so I’m so excited to see what this year’s performances will bring.
- Concerts in Utown
Utown is the name for the most popular and hoppin’ university living space. There are several dorm buildings for students, both local and international, and there are multiple dining halls and restaurants where students congregate all throughout the day. The buildings are pristine, the sky is always blue except for afternoon rainstorms, there are trees all around, and there is a huge green field in the middle of the courtyard where students can be seen hanging out and playing frisbee and rugby. My favorite part, however, is seeing the all the student concerts in the evening – I’ve heard a lot of great guitarists, vocalists, and student bands over the past couple months!
Overall, its cool to see that no matter where students are in the world, there are neat traditions that follow them. It would seem that what students enjoy most is time celebrating life and each other, which is pretty cool!