Campus Niches: Discovering Your Space

Written by Destiny Gautho | July 5, 2024

Coming into college, we’re all trying to find our place and figure out who we are outside of our friends back home, outside of what we’ve known from high school, and even just trying to find others that understand us and our interests. We’ll each stop by the involvement fair on our way to classes in those first couple weeks, and sign up for a handful of clubs just to try and get your foot in somewhere. When going through that search in the beginning of my time here at USC, I was able to find a place that helps welcome a place of security and belonging for me. The USC Student Union provides an oasis to multiple identities to find a place of belonging and comfort that they were a part of in their previous communities and now what they were looking for within their new USC community. In this post, I’ll shine a spotlight on several student organizations dedicated to supporting and empowering cultural communities on campus.

Each space within the Student Union may hold a special place for many USC students, and these places include space for those who identify as Black, LGBTQ+, first generation communities just to name a few of cultural communities that are held within the Student Union. Within each of these organizations, you can find resources from academics, to mental health help, to just finding someone like you to talk to and connect with. I know being able to find a place that consists of simply going to get some work done is always a want; one of my friends enjoys doing work in La CASA as it provides them with a consistent work environment with that welcoming atmosphere. For myself, within CBCSA I’ve made some really great and meaningful connections with people that I was able to find a connection with because of our shared identities. 

Attending USC, which I consider to be a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), can be challenging for many students, especially if they are coming from communities where they feel deeply connected and understood. It can be daunting to navigate a new environment where you may not see many faces that look like yours or share your experiences. Personally, I went to predominantly Black and Hispanic schools from elementary through high school, so I experienced a shift in culture when I came to USC. Being able to find a place that was similar to home within all of this newness, and being able to find solace and camaraderie with the help of these cultural organizations was great help. I’ve met people I can now call friends, I know a friendly face when I see one, and overall I have a place on this campus I know I can go to and feel welcomed.

Overall, these student organizations play a crucial role in fostering a diverse, inclusive, and supportive campus community here at USC. By celebrating and embracing cultural diversity, we enrich the educational experience for all students and prepare them to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world and campus.