Fourteen in-person ceremonies later, the start of USC in 2021 was the University’s first major in-person event since the coronavirus pandemic began, drawing nearly 15,000 students and 30,000 guests to Los Angeles. Memorial Coliseum in mid-May. Since then, University officials have used the inception result as the basis for planning more in-person events for the fall semester 2021.
According to Associate Vice President of Cultural Relations and University Events Adam Rosen, nearly 1,000 people helped run the launch in person, with 350 people for each of the 14 ceremonies. People from various departments contributed, with the major ones including cultural relations and university events, the USC Public Safety Department, and the Colosseum.
“I think we’ve all become more versatile… In the future, I think we’ll have a level of hybridity at [large events] and it will be a combination, or there will be things that will only be done in person or only virtually for one reason or another, ”Rosen said. “I think it makes us a lot stronger to have been through this [pandemic]. “
Rosen said he believes some conventionally organized in-person events could move to the online modality, taking into account the positive feedback received from the virtual audience at last year’s events and the capacity limits presented by Site (s.
“There are so many events that we have identified where our audience was much larger than they would have been if they had been in person, whether it was the capacity of the venue they were in. stood or the ability to watch it from your couch in your pajamas. ”Rosen said.
However, as USC prepares for the fall semester 2021, it’s unclear what the Los Angeles County and state coronavirus guidelines will look like at the start of the semester. For now, Rosen is using Gov. Gavin Newsom’s June 15 deadline to fully reopen his economy as a sort of litmus test for the University’s guidelines for large gatherings.
“Personally, I feel like we’re going to be in a certain type of distancing and a certain level of masking and capacity limit for a while. I don’t know if June 15th is going to remove all of this, but California is very successful in keeping the infection down [rates] down and we keep going down in stages, which is amazing, ”said Rosen. “I hope that in the fall these limits will be as minor as possible.”
Dan Stimmler, vice president of ancillary services and chief operating officer of Memorial Coliseum, oversaw the work that business operations and ancillaries did with the USC Office of Environmental Health and Safety and USC Student Health. The different departments have come together to create a full team ready to act on the ever-changing state of coronavirus guidelines throughout the past year.
With infection rates falling and the number of people vaccinated increasing, Stimmler hopes to see 100% occupancy for football matches.
“Obviously we will respond to whatever COVID status is, and we will abide by any county and state guidelines they impose on us, but my personal thought is, if we keep coming out of COVID as hard as we can. are. , then we should be able to organize a full season of games with the fans, ”Stimmler said.
While it is still not clear whether the University will enforce the wearing of masks, security measures, such as serving meals in containers, social distancing, and wearing face masks can be implemented to ensure spectator safety during matches.
Stimmler, who also works with USC Housing operations, said their goal was for the dorms “to have double occupancy and be as normal as possible for an academic year and housing.”
“From an operational standpoint, we have improved security measures and clean-up operations that meet the standards that have been developed for COVID,” Stimmler said.
Additionally, Student Affairs is developing programs for incoming sophomores who have not had the freshman experience in the hope that the transition from being away from home for the first time to meeting new people can be facilitated by the support of the University.
Miko Mariscal, a rising sophomore specializing in sociology, however, is excited about big events in person, with a slight trepidation.
“I’m excited for them, of course, because things are looking up, but I’m still worried about harming the communities around USC and most of all because everyone is excited to party and get back to normal. “said Mariscal.
Even though Mariscal has been a student for a full year, she hasn’t had the chance to experience life on campus and looks forward to the simplicity of going to the library, exercising in the gym, relaxing. take a walk and whatever gives him the chance to get away from his computer and get a change of scenery.
Mariscal said being at home made her feel stuck as a high school student, but after waiting another year to move in, she was more than ready to be immersed in the USC community.
“I still feel like I’m in high school. Maybe it’s just a lot of people who graduated in 2020 feeling that way because we never really had our college transition moment, ”Mariscal said. “I’m excited about what USC can give me with experiences and being immersed and seen as a student, things like having the North Face backpack and the bike.”
Ben Miller, a new junior specializing in chemistry, is eager to return to campus and attend big events such as football games, provided guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are followed. Miller said it’s the “little things” that he misses the most.
“I love to walk around campus,” Miller said. “It just sucks between classes, sitting in your bed, then logging in to the next class. It’s always more fun to see people skate when you go from class to class.
Students aren’t the only ones anticipating move-in day. Magnolia Ycasas, whose daughter Ina, a rising sophomore specializing in film and television writing, is everything to get her daughter to go to campus in the fall. Although she worries about large gatherings, Ycasas feels more comfortable with Ina going there knowing that she is vaccinated.
“As a parent, I would like her to experience all these events, especially because [the students] missed so many things, ”Ycasas said.
After more than a year of working and learning remotely, officials and students at USC are hungry not only for big events like tailgating, soccer games and parties, but also a comeback. daily on campus.
“I just think the overall feeling of enthusiasm is high,” Stimmler said. “Where it was so fun before meeting new students in the first week of school, I think it’s going to be magnified by 20. The first home football game, I think it’s going to be magnified by 20 as well, because people are ready to go back to normal life and relive all of these things for the first time. “