One of the best parts of going to school at USC is the opportunity to experience life in a big city. Los Angeles is not like any other city in the world- it has this incredible mix of culture, with some stereotypical skyscrapers neighboring small family-owned corner shops, tons of vibrant neighborhoods and cultural centers. LA’s Koreatown has the best Korean food in the country (KBBQ!!!) and our Arts District is home to some of the best artists in the modern art/street art movement. However, another takeaway of living in such a diverse city is that we get to experience the effects of wealth disparity, socioeconomic inequality, and racism every single day. At USC, the student body is extremely tolerant and open minded, however, going out into the city teaches us all about how the real world works.

Luckily, there are a ton of amazing organizations that allow students to go out and volunteer in the LA community, attempting to incite reform at every level. The Joint Educational Project connects SC students with kids in the area, providing tutoring in literally every subject. Troy Camp sets up a year long mentorship group for local kids with USC students as mentors, then takes 200 of them to a free summer camp– something they may not have been able to experience given their financial background or family stability. As a BME premed, I like to volunteer within the medical sector; there are tons of organizations like the Health Sciences Education Project (educating community schools on important health topics like sexual health and vaccinations), Peer Health Exchange, Hudson Clinic Volunteers and more. I work with Coaching Corps, a program that allows college students to coach kids in the community, empowering youth to get involved in physical activity at a young age. I know a ton of people involved in government campaigns, medical programs, working with the huge homeless population in LA and so many other clubs. In fact, there are organizations like Alpha Phi Omega that are entirely dedicated to community service and bettering the world around our USC bubble.

We’re so lucky to live in LA, but it’s even cooler that we get a chance to better our community and contribute to the massive changes happening in the city. There’s community service opportunities available for everyone in literally every sector possible– USC really makes it a priority to allow students to interact with the “real world.” I love the volunteering work I do, and all my peers are passionate about their involvements– we are all so lucky we get a chance to help the world around us.

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