USC Schwarzenegger Institute Class Final Presentations

The students presented to their family and friends, Price School Dean Jack H. Knott, the Global and Academic Directors of the Schwarzenegger Institute, and Chairman of the Institute, Professor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

By Professor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Monday, December 17, 2012

Today I had the opportunity to see the final project presentations of the first USC Schwarzenegger Institute Class, PPD 449, Celebrating Leadership for a Post-Partisan Age.

I was planning on sending out a few tweets, but after the fantastic experience of listening to these students' passion and creative thinking, I wanted to share a little more.

All of the presentations – every single one of them – was well-researched, imaginative, and most importantly, offered real world solutions. Each student deserves accolades, so I wanted to share the projects with you, and encourage you to follow them on Twitter and Facebook and check out their websites.

Thank you to Price School Of Public Policy Dean Jack Knott, USC Schwarzenegger Institute Academic Director Professor Nancy Staudt and my great friend, Global Director Bonnie Reiss.

Congratulations to the students on this inspirational work. I am expecting big things from each and every one of you.

Below, you will find the fantastic projects. Please visit their websites and social media accounts so you can be as inspired as I was. A video highlight about each organization can be found above as well. If you want to go a step further, I encourage you to reach out to them and get involved.

Give A Voice LA

Give A Voice LA Give A Voice LA is a grassroots campaign founded by Sydney Allen and Mitchell Vieyra that seeks to develop stronger community-driven after- school programs that focus on healthy living and the arts. The campaign encourages dialogue amongst members in the Greater Los Angeles Area and throughout the United States with the hope of inspiring others to implement programs and volunteer at their local community centers. For their first venture, Give A Voice LA developed a five week after school program at Hoover Recreation center near USC. Each week focused on a specific pillar that Sydney and Mitchell identified as a necessary skill for the youth living in today's society. They encouraged attendees to participate in a wide range of activities including music, yoga and cooking.

For more information, please visit:

Health and WellneSc?

This is a campaign founded by Chris Daskalos and Tania Mercado to increase student awareness about the strong correlation between leadership and fitness. Their research showed that the vast majority of our nations' most powerful leaders stay physically fit in order to stay successful. Tania and Chris have used their research findings to create fitness events for USC student leaders so that they know the far-reaching and long-lasting benefits of staying fit.

For more information, please visit:

?Twitter: @HealthyUSC

Feed South Central?

This is a campaign founded by Chelsea Wood and Andrew Christopher that works to educate the community about food deserts, the prevalence of fast food in South central, and the importance of choosing healthy food options. Through data collection and analysis, they have been able to identify the structural and behavioral barriers to choosing healthy food options. Through community health education, Chelsea and Andrew's campaign teaches residents of the region the importance choosing healthy foods, which can be difficult in a fast food oasis like South Central Los Angeles.

For more information, please visit:

Twitter: @FeedSouthLA

M.U.R.A.L. Project LA?

(Maintenance of Urban Real Art in Los Angeles)

This is an initiative founded by Karina Casillas and Sabha Salamah that seeks to create a comprehensive documentation of murals in Los Angeles (Compton, South Central, Koreatown, Inglewood, East LA, Chinatown, Hollywood, etc.) in order to show the importance of public art through civic engagement. Murals and public art are essential to the way we communicate and are part of our Los Angeles culture.

For more information, please contact us at: Twitter: @MuralProjectLA or [email protected]


(Study Abroad to Achieve International Leadership)

This is a campaign developed by Kele Song and Xiuzhi Wang that encourages students to study abroad in order to foster greater collaboration between different cultures and nations. Their goal is to improve communication between international students from China and American students by hosting events like roundtable discussions, story sharing, social impact activities and simulated negotiations. S.A.I.L. hopes to cultivate future leaders who have global vision and a profound understanding of both countries' histories, cultures and customs. Kele and Xiuzhi have already spread their campaign to other universities, including UC Berkeley and Stanford, and hope to expand to more in the near future.

For more information, please visit:


This is a movement founded by Kristen Hernandez, Gabriella Hecht and Patrick Elder encouraging grassroots activism as a means to seek change with every day policy flaws. As an example of the type of advocacy they hope to inspire, the trio formed their own campaign-within-a-campaign, Bike SCafely, which sought to implement more bike lanes on streets around the USC campus. After extensive research and discussions with university officials, the group learned that the university already has plans in place for more bike lanes. Regardless, Kristen, Gabriella and Patrick were satisfied that they took action and hope to encourage other students to seek change in societal problems they are passionate about.

For more information, please visit:

?Twitter: @BikeSCafely