Institute launches “BE THE CHANGE” and “Spotlight Awards”

The Schwarzenegger Institute launches “BE THE CHANGE” campaign at annual Council of Presidents dinner.

The Schwarzenegger Institute is proud to partner with the USC Undergraduate Student Government on the “BE THE CHANGE” campaign, supporting and encourage USC students to make a difference.

Be the Change Spotlight Award

by Michael Geragos ’13, Undergraduate Student Body President

The first sentence in the University of Southern California’s mission statement articulates that the purpose of the University is the development of human beings and society as a whole. It goes on to list public service as a means to accomplish this mission.

Although there is a written correlation, what is most special about USC is the actual practice of volunteerism and how it is ingrained in the mentality of those connected to the University.

I was approached by the Schwarzenegger Institute last semester about helping to launch the “Be the Change” Student Spotlight Award. When I told my team about it we decided to jump on the opportunity. The award, given monthly, will be presented to a person who exemplifies volunteerism and civic engagement. This award is the first of its kind in recognizing the amazing students at USC and their accomplishments. This is what we all loved about it, and why the program elicited our enthusiasm. So many times the work of amazing leaders on campus goes unnoticed, and USG wanted to change this by helping the Schwarzenegger Institute launch the award.

This is a project that I have been working on with Bonnie Reiss, the Global Director of the Institute, and we were enthusiastic to launch it at USG’s Council of Presidents Dinner. Having the presidents of over 100 clubs and organizations in attendance, we felt as though we could reach a large and well-involved group of students who would nominate or would be nominated for the inaugural award. Having Ms. Reiss speak to the student leaders was also very special, showing her and the Institute’s commitment to foster and expand the service work that is already happening at USC.

Although the prize for this award is extremely generous, I feel its biggest impact is simply recognizing those who work hard for their community and ask for nothing in return. I want to personally thank the Schwarzenegger Institute for allowing USG’s event to be the launching pad for this amazing new program. Being connected with awards that honor students is extremely important to me and my organization, because at the end of the day they are the ones we represent and their amazing work should always be in the spotlight.

Click here to learn more about the “BE THE CHANGE” Spotlight Awards.