Every year, the incoming and outgoing Presidents and Vice Presidents of the Graduate Student Government (GSG) and Undergraduate Student Government (USG) are invited to the USC Trustee Retreat over a March weekend. Because the GSG retreat sometimes coincides with Trustee Retreat, we don’t get the chance to go. Luckily, this past weekend was free, so we were all in attendance in Santa Barbara!
Because both governments are represented on three Trustee committees – Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Alumni Affairs, we recognized many of the Trustees there. It was so nice seeing them outside of the work environment and talk with them about additional student issues and programming that might not make it into our presentations. We also saw many senior administrators, including Dr. Carry who was on his way out of his role as Vice President of Student Affairs.
We even had a bit of time with the incoming USC President – Dr. Carol Folt! We had met with her on the day of the announcement, but this was another opportunity to engage with the next leader of our university. We are extremely excited to keep working with her in the future and have no doubts she will lead USC to new heights.
Although most of the meetings throughout the day were limited to just the Trustees, we were able to watch the keynote speech, given by past Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He talked about many of his experiences with past Presidents and the lessons he learned as a leader. Secretary Gates had a range of incredible experiences, leading organizations in government, social service, and academia. While I have much more limited leadership experience, I learned a lot from his tips.
As I begin to wrap up my term as President, I will reflect on all these incredible events, meetings, and opportunities that I have been privileged to be a part of. I will not take any of this for granted and feel so lucky to serve other students at USC. I am looking forward to being the Director of Community Service next year and engaging with our neighbors! There is a lot to be done.