Carrying on the Torch

Georg and Angela, who are currently both seniors and active members of the LGBTQ community, recently were selected as Order of the Torch members, which is one of the highest honors the university can bestow upon its students. It is a life-long membership into a premiere group of Trojans who  serve as ambassadors for the university, promoting USC and the Trojan family to current students, prospective Trojans, alumni, the academic community, and the public. Read about what it means to them to be part of this great tradition.

1. What does it mean to you to be an Order of the Torch member?

Georg: Looking back at my freshman year, I did something called the Emerging
Leaders Program, ELP for short, and that’s a program where freshmen get to interact with Order of the Torch members. In ELP, I got to meet the twelve Order of the Torch members. They were really cool, interesting, and passionate people. They were passionate about different things. I feel that as part of Order of the Torch, I want to give that passion to the next generation, whether they’re freshman, sophomores, or juniors. It doesn’t matter what they want to do as long as they care a lot about it. There’s no point in doing something without being fully committed to the cause or without really putting your full self into it. Other than that, the things that I’ve heard about Order of the Torch is that we are present at Homecoming and that we do community service as well. I am looking forward to that aspect as well, to be able to give back to the community. Being at USC has given me so much already in growth and learning, and I want to give back to the community that has done so much for me already.

Angela: Being a member of the Order really symbolizes a slight change in campus climate for me. I’m noticing more and more that the only students who even know about the Order are student within the Greek system. The people who have heard about it and congratulated me are mostly people I don’t really know. Most people in the networks and communities that I’m involved with have never heard of the Order. Given that this is suppose to be one of the highest honors bestowed upon seniors at the university, it doesn’t make sense that large portions of campus have no idea it even exists. I would not have even known to apply if it wasn’t for my good friend in Program Board who told me about it. Hopefully getting more non-traditional students in the Order will help to make it more known and accessible to the populations on campus who are very much eligible for such awards, but just don’t know about it. It is a great honor to be in the Order, but with that comes a responsibility on my part to continue to pursue changes in the university to benefit underrepresented students.

2. What was one time or experience that made you feel proud of being a USC Trojan?

Georg: There were a lot of moments I’ve been proud to be a USC Trojan, but I feel like a lot of the times the Trojan Family is the key center. The first time I was on campus, I was told the Trojan Family is going to get you a job in the future. It’s like the network that we build here. What I was really proud of was an incident that happened a month ago in Birnkrant. I wasn’t on duty (as a Resident Adviser for the building) and I was out with another resident adviser. Suddenly, I received a call from the RA on duty. She called us for back-up because there was an intoxicated student situation within the building. We came back to help her. There were two or three residents who were helping us out as well. In the end, it turned out this student involved in the incident wasn’t really a student at USC. He was a student from another school. It didn’t matter that he was not a USC student; we were going to help him regardless of his school affiliation. The Trojan Family commitment to service spans beyond the Trojan Family. We care about people regardless. I felt really proud to be a Trojan.

Angela: Definitely witnessing a first budge on the part of the administration to offer a gender-neutral housing option on campus. Instead, administration allowed a gender inclusive option on the Rainbow Floor, but there is still a long way to go to make our campus safe and welcoming for all students, but it was definitely something to celebrate after working on proposals for over two years.

Congratulations Georg and Angela for this great accomplishment!

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