Cultural Student Development Programs

Black and Latinx New Student Symposium

The Black and Latinx New Student Symposium is a personalized student welcome geared toward Black and Latino students, but open to ALL incoming students.

This is an opportunity for incoming students to learn about specific campus involvement opportunities and resources to help you achieve success during your first year at USC. The sessions are geared toward freshman, transfer and graduate students.

Sistah Circle

Sistah Circle aims to provide space for women in graduate programs at USC who self- identify as Black to connect with one another and examine personal, academic, professional and social challenges and successes.

The program’s mission is grounded in Black Feminist Thought which posits that Black women need safe spaces to participate in activities that give them voice, self- definition, and belonging (Collins, 2000). The program launched in the Fall 2016 school year.

Activities include biweekly discussions and meetings, collaborative events, and social outings. All activities are related to the topics of identity, culture, wellness, spirituality, healthy relationships, politics, and the personal development of Black women.


Somerville Place

Somerville Place is a residential community established in 1995. Named after John and Vada Somerville, this community creates an environment where academic success, leadership, self-direction, and personal growth are nurtured. The five goals that all residents strive to achieve are: spirituality, respect, retention, successful transitions, and an understanding and display of positive social values. The goals of Somerville Place aim to foster an understanding of and respect for Black culture, while cultivating a sense of family and community.


Somerville Overnight Experience

The Somerville Overnight Experience allows perspective high school seniors (fall semester) and admitted students (spring semester) to be partnered with a current Somerville Resident, attend classes, socialize and have a first person experience of being a Black USC student.




John & Vada Somerville

John Somerville and his wife Vada Watson Somerville, were both graduates of the University of Southern California, School of Dentistry. Graduating with honors in 1907, he was the first black graduate, and his wife was later the first black woman graduate. In 1914, only three years after its founding in New York City, the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP was created at the home of John and Vada Somerville.


Black Queer Story

Black Queer Story (change name) is a forum, hosted often in conjunction with the LGBT Resource Center, to discuss the intersectionality of being Black and LGBT.