Sounds cliche right? Almost every higher education location tries to emphasize the importance of having settings outside of the classroom where students can continue to learn and develop experiences that will help them in the real life. But even then, sometimes those feel forced, environments where students can tell that they are supposed to learn (which defeats the purpose of it not being a classroom). This makes it all the more important for higher education facilities to surprise and shock their students and to give them a sense of what it’s like to learn things outside of the classroom. Luckily for us, we have Visions and Voices, a social studies initiative that brings in famous speakers from their respective fields to show USC.
There have been a lot of visitors in the past, many of them very accomplished artists or actors. One of my most memorable experiences was when as a freshman, I had the privilege of listening to a survivor of the Holocaust, Eva Schloss, someone who actually knew Anne Frank personally (they were actually step sisters). For me, it was a very engaging moment as I had never thought I would come this close to listening to history, from a first-person source, and it was so interesting to learn from that kind of perspective, rather than reading through a history textbook. It really taught me many things and was a very unique experience. She came to talk about her experience at the camps and how she had come to know Anne Frank, and how eventually they became step sisters. It was truly amazing to hear a first-person story about the history because a textbook will never be good enough to convey the emotion or even begin to describe what had happened.
For everyone’s interests, there is something interesting always going on. Just last night actually, as a part of USC’s very first Art Week, there was a speaker series with Brandon Stanton, the founder of Humans of New York. Humans of New York is a very famous blog with over 3.6 million followers and became a #1 New York Times bestseller. For maybe something a little less serious, but regardless just as interesting, USC held a Climatepalooza a few days ago, where climate scientists came to discuss the implications of climate change, in a less formal setting.
So really there is something for everyone. Oh, and did I mention all of this is free for USC students?