How community service helped me get involved on campus

In a sea of 4,000+ undergraduate students in my class alone, I was unsure how to make friends at such a big school and how to find my place freshmen year. I had always loved serving others and making friends through various community service organizations in high school and I was determined to continue it at USC.  At the involvement fair my freshmen year, I tried to grab as many flyers as I could even if I was only a little interested in the club.  I remembered the advice I had gotten from an upperclassmen about joining lots of clubs and attending at least one meeting and then deciding which I liked best. That’s how I discovered Room to Read USC, a club on campus that is a chapter of the larger global organization. Room to Read, as a whole, aims to improve literacy rates in underprivileged communities as well as promote gender equality in education. Through the USC chapter, I had the opportunity to see first hand how much help teachers need in the classroom.  I was able to work with kids one on one and see them improve their reading skills every week and spell out words on their own, which was so rewarding. Room to Read helped foster my passion for education and volunteering with children, which was new for me since I hadn’t done that kind of volunteering as much in high school.

 

I decided I wanted to keep making an impact and serving in as many ways as I could. Little did I know my love for service would help me find my home on campus via the USC Helenes. The Helenes are the oldest all-female service organization at USC. We are united in our passion for serving others and bettering our community through our three pillars— service, spirit and sisterhood. One of my favorite parts about Helenes is that we partner with various nonprofits and organizations in Los Angeles as well as help out with university events through our role as ‘official hostesses of USC’. Through our service events as well as our spirit events, which include cheering on our team in the front row at home football games, I was able to branch out and learn more about USC and the different neighborhoods and communities in this large city.

 

Joining these service-oriented organizations completely changed my college experience for the better and I’m so grateful to have found people on campus that share the same interests and passions as me. USC has so many diverse clubs to choose from and I’m glad I made it a priority to go explore what clubs were out there because it helped me find a supportive community on campus. 

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Mahima Dutt