The Daily Gamecock

USC administration gets feedback from students at Imagine Carolina listening event

USC's Imagine Carolina event in the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on September 11, 2022.  

University officials attended Imagine Carolina on Sunday to listen to students and understand what changes they want to see on campus. 

A lack of awareness about resources for student success, parking concerns and wanting the university to make more efforts to be inclusive topped the list of conversation topics at the all-day event. 

University President Michael Amiridis and Vice President for Student Affairs and Academic Support J. Rex Tolliver hosted about 150 students at the feedback-centered event. 

"It became clear that we need to have some fresh priorities in this (administration) and I came wanting to know what is happening, what the students want," Amiridis said. "I came in and since July, I've been waiting for this day. I'm very excited about this day."

Amiridis said he came in knowing that he wanted to hear from the students directly about what needs to be improved in the university.

"This is something he's talked about for the six months leading up to his arrival on campus. He was like, 'this is something I want to do. This is something we will do,'" Student Body President Reedy Newton said. 

The entire event was centered around getting feedback and criticism from students, including discussions in large and small groups. There was a notetaker in every small group breakout room recording the conversation to be relayed to administration for feedback. 

Tolliver was hired as Vice President for Student Affairs and Academic Support in July. He said it was important to get student opinions on administrative work. 

"I consider myself the chief student advocate and much like the president, I can't work effectively on behalf of students if I don't see students or hear from students," Tolliver said.

Students were encouraged to participate and speak up at the event to share their experiences and criticisms of the university. 

"I just hope that by the time that I graduate, there's actual change and it's not just words, fourth-year political science student Na'Kiya Tye said. "Because if it's just words, at the end of the day, I feel like I could've went to another institution and paid them the same amount of money or less for better treatment." 

Tye said she was optimistic about change coming from this event, as so many university officials attended to hear concerns. 

 Amiridis and Tolliver said their next steps are to talk about some changes students proposed. 

“I really, really, truly hope we see that they actually take this feedback and put it into action and are very accountable and transparent with the steps they take," Blair Elliot, chief of staff for the student body vice president, said. "It was a great first step, but it's definitely not the only step.”  

University leadership will discuss this feedback over the next few days and create plans for how to make the changes the students suggested, Amiridis said.