We Are Southern California

USC, L.A. and California’s southland are inextricably linked, having grown together from a literal "cow town" in the 1800s to today’s global epicenter in creativity, diversity and innovation. As a great private research university that serves the public good, we foster a symbiotic relationship across the city and throughout SoCal — advancing society and elevating humanity.

Briefly stated, the enduring relationship between them.

Creative Industries at USC

Powerful technology is built from the ideas and advances that came before it. Similarly, USC’s creative research comes from the deep collaboration between creators, technologists and artists’ real-world experiences as well as the visions allowed to grow in our university. These emerging forms of media and technology are then disseminated through the powerhouse of the music and film industries, which are housed within the city. These industries have taken the seedlings formed in our academic places and given them real-world applications.

When Local Means Global

USC reflects L.A.’s diversity, which reflects the world’s. Our countless nationalities and ethnic groups shape the nuance and detail we give to every aspect to our academic experience. Alongside our community focus, we never forget where we are on the Pacific Rim. Our place in the world gives us the advantage to receive and foster innovation, because being here is unlike being anywhere else.


From USC to the Screen

Hollywood, our neighbor, is the epicenter of the latest technological developments in creative storytelling. The Light Stages at USC are used to create ever-more realistic virtual characters, from USC-led initiatives such as the Institute for Creative Technologies’ partnership with the U.S. Army to major studios like Sony Pictures Imageworks, who come to USC to create photoreal digital actors as part of Academy Award-winning visual effects in Spider-Man 2, King Kong, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Avatar and more.

The Light Stages have been used to help create ever-more realistic virtual characters for ICT training and educations projects and by studios such as Sony Pictures Imageworks, WETA Digital and Digital Domain to create photoreal digital actors as part of the Academy Award-winning visual effects in Spider-Man 2, King Kong, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Avatar, as well as other Hollywood blockbusters.

Every Person Counts

People experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles is a priority issue for the USC community. Data from the annual LA homeless count demographic survey is analyzed by the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, which helps the LA Homeless Services Authority better allocate resources and serve people.

Denise Taylor, bottom right, is interviewed by USC Alumni Lynette Jenkins, right, during a homeless count demographic survey of Los Angele's homeless being done by the University of Southern California, Tuesday, February 28, 2017. (Photo / Gus Ruelas) Data from the homeless count is analyzed by the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. Experts like Patricia St. Clair, director of the center’s Data Core, break the numbers into categories that help LAHSA understand how best to allocate resources and serve the homeless population.

A Grounded View

It’s true: Southern California sits in earthquake country. USC experts keep a close eye on the geophysics of the surrounding area and beyond to gain deep knowledge of earthquakes and provide societies with key ways to prepare and recover.

As part of the Southern California Earthquake Center's, Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SCEC/SURE) program, USC professor of earth sciences James Dolan conducts a field trip to Griffith Observatory enabling students to look down on Los Angeles' fault lines, Thursday, June 22, 2017. (Photo by Gus Ruelas)

Key Partnerships for Climate Action

USC aims to be carbon-neutral by 2025, turning to renewable energy sources such as solar power. An agreement between USC and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has reduced the university’s carbon consumption by 25% while at the same time making renewable energy more accessible and affordable for residents in multifamily dwellings.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Springbok 3 Solar Farm in Mojave. (Photo/Courtesy of Arevon Energy Inc.)

Environmental Changemakers

Pristine Catalina Island sits just 22 miles from the mainland and offers unparalleled access to natural systems unaffected by urban human activity. Home to the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, the island welcomes Trojan researchers, scientists and students who produce solutions-focused investigations at the intersection of people and planet.

Boats in Avalon Harbor with homes on the hillside in Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California.

A Star-Studded Marching Band

Performing at the Hollywood Bowl is just one of the many thrills of being a part of the world-renowned Trojan Marching Band, aka “the Spirit of Troy.” Having performed many times there with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in 2022 USC band members joined Gwen Stefani on stage to kick off Bowl season with the first-ever joint performance alongside a friendly rival — the UCLA Marching Band.

The Spirit of Troy kicked off the Bowl season by sharing the stage with headliner Gwen Stefani and the band from that other university across town.The USC Drumline Performs with Gwen Stefani on June 3, 2022. (Photo/Brett Padelford)