University of Southern California

SCampus Student Guidebook

Student Services

Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs

Director: Corliss P. Bennett
Asst. Director: Rosalind Conerly
(213) 740-8257
(213) 740-3298 (FAX)
Student Union 415

The Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs (CBCSA) provides a wide range of support services, programs and cultural activities aimed at the development of undergraduate and graduate students. CBCSA is committed to creating an environment that encourages intellectual, professional and cultural growth of students of African descent entering and completing degree programs. CBCSA’s five major areas of focus are cultural and community awareness, leadership, professional development, social enrichment and retention.

Core Programs

Alternative Spring Break (ASB): The Civil Rights Movement

This service learning program allows students to explore historical events and legislation that have had an impact on the South. ASB participants take part in outings, engage in discussions and help enhance a community in need. Students work with Habitat for Humanity and visit historical monuments and museums related to the Civil Rights Movement.

Distinguished Speaker Series

The Distinguished Speaker Series creates a greater sense of community by introducing students to faculty from various disciplines and discussing important themes impacting the Black community locally and globally. Students explore ideas, concepts, and historical and current events and challenge themselves to shift from cultural knowledge to cultural competence.

Dr. Thomas Kilgore Honor Showcase

Undergraduate and graduate students have a unique opportunity to exhibit and share examples of significant research, projects and creativity with the university and surrounding community. Students present work through poster/panel sessions, art exhibits and electronic media.

 Leadership Series

The EXCEL Leadership Series uses the seven principles of Kwanza and the Social Change Model of Leadership to assist students with cultivating their leadership styles while learning how to be agents of change in the local and global community. Incorporating the seven principles of Kwanza makes this leadership series unique, because students are also learning about ways to uplift and preserve the African-American culture.

HBCU Exchange Program

The HBCU Exchange Program allows students to experience college life at a historically Black college or university (HBCU) and to examine academic and cultural themes within the framework of a different educational system. Students explore the distinctive opportunities of a HBCU while further exploring the diversity of the Black community in a unique and supportive environment.

Somerville Place

This residential community, established in 1995, is named after John and Vada Somerville, the first black graduates of USC’s school of dentistry. This community creates an environment that nurtures academic success, leadership, self-direction and personal growth by successfully transitioning first-year students into university life. This successful transition allows residents to excel academically and emerge as campus leaders. Somerville Place also aims to foster an understanding of, and respect for, Black culture, while cultivating a sense of family and community.

Signature Events

Black Welcome Week

This week – a collaborative effort between CBCSA, the Black Student Assembly (BSA) and Black student organizations – introduces new and returning students to the multiple and diverse cultural events and opportunities that are part of the Trojan experience. Activities range from engaging students in civic and community service to enjoying cultural foods while socializing with students, faculty and staff.

Black Family Weekend

Held in conjunction with USC’s Trojan Family Weekend, CBCSA and the Black Student Assembly invite students and their parents to an annual soul food dinner on Friday evening. On Saturday, three hours before the USC football game, CBCSA hosts a family tailgate picnic. On Sunday, we wrap things up with the family worship service and brunch.

Black History Month

Black History Month serves to promote, preserve, interpret and disseminate information to the university community about the life, history and culture of descendants of the African Diaspora. This month’s activities are a collaborative effort between CBCSA, the Black Student Assembly (BSA) and various other student organizations and departments at USC.

African American Cultural Celebration

Bridging our past with our present, this annual celebration offers traditional rites of passage that recognize and affirm students of African descent who have completed a rigorous journey through academia at USC. This well attended and highly anticipated event unites students, families and friends through culture and achievement. The ceremony is traditionally held on the Thursday evening before USC commencement, honoring undergraduate, graduate and professional students.


Project ReMiX: Exploring the Mixed Race Generation

Project ReMiX is an interactive discussion series that explores issues facing the mixed race generation – a growing population in the United States and especially at USC. Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS), CBCSA and El Centro Chicano (ECC) provide the program to attract students who might not otherwise seek out our specific cultural centers.

Black QueerStory

CBCSA, in conjunction with the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center, holds an annual discussion during the month of February addressing the intersection of being part of the Black and the LGBT communities.

Unity through Community: Black and Latino Overnight Experience

The Overnight Experience gives newly admitted high school seniors the opportunity to experience life at USC by staying overnight with current USC students after an entertaining and engaging evening of events. The purpose of the Overnight Experience is to assist in the recruitment of African American and Latino students by exposing them to the student experience at USC. The program’s partners are the Office of Admission, El Centro Chicano, Black Student Assembly and Latino Student Assembly.


Pre-college and Community College Outreach

CBCSA is committed to providing visiting students with insight into college life, encouraging them to pursue higher education despite current and foreseeable obstacles. Targeting students from as early as 4th grade through community college, the program offers participants a university tour followed by a presentation headed by one or more CBCSA staff members. Most presentations include a panel of USC’s African American students of diverse backgrounds, who share their rich and varied college experiences. The panel concludes with CBCSA Student Ambassadors answering any questions that visiting students have concerning college life. This outreach program serves as another vehicle for USC students to give back to the community while enhancing their experience at USC.

Real Talk Tuesdays

From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, students have the opportunity to drop by the center and participate in informal conversation on the hot topic of the week. Staff and/or faculty will join the discussions on a monthly basis.

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