The freshmen arrive — with laptops and guitars in tow

USC freshman Zesheng Chen, left, meets roommate Brandan Sakka. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)


The freshmen arrive — with laptops and guitars in tow

Annual scene on the University Park Campus ushers in the 2014-15 school year

August 18, 2014 Andrea Bennett

Thousands of new USC students this week are participating in an annual rite of passage into adulthood that spans the nation.

They’re moving away to college.

Boxes and plastic bins stuffed with mementos and the wares of a new life are being towed, heaved and wheeled into residence halls across the University Park Campus. The annual move-in week scene brings anticipation — and, for many moms and dads enlisted to move boxes, some perspiration — as some 3,000 freshmen and transfers claim their new homes on campus.

President C. L. Max Nikias and Ainsley Carry, USC’s vice provost for student affairs, will greet new students and families arriving Wednesday, Aug. 20.

An annual ritual

Lillian Aluri, 18, eagerly pushed her bin toward Birnkrant Residential College on her move-in day, Aug. 18. “I’m super excited; I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” Aluri said.

Her father, Raj Aluri, who flew from South Carolina to help her move, rolled several suitcases behind her and nodded: “I’m here for whatever she needs me for.”

A move-in week veteran, Ray Aluri had already gone through the process with Lillian’s older brother, who graduated from USC in 2012.

“I come from a very small town, and USC was my first choice,” Lillian said. “Being in the city and on campus is very exciting.”

Freshman hugging dad
Freshman Maddi Eckert hugs father Jeff Eckert as her mother, Kathy Eckert, looks on. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

College staples: Food and music

Nearby, Martin Yi, 18, stood with his parents and a bin brimming with instant noodle soups and his bass guitar. “I’m pretty stoked,” he said. “I couldn’t go to sleep last night until 4 a.m.”

His dad, Chong Yi, had mixed emotions: “We feel happy and sorry, because this is his first day living on his own.”

Waiting their turn for the Birnkrant elevator was Reza Talieh, 17, and his father, John Talieh, who had driven five hours from Northern California for the big day.

“I’m the oldest in the family, so I’m the first one to do this,” said Reza, who says he chose USC for its unique program in chemical engineering in material science. “And I really like the Southern California experience.”

Dad was already sporting a USC polo shirt — even though he admitted he’s a University of Texas alumnus.

“This is a new chapter as a family, and I couldn’t think of a better place for him to explore his future than USC,” the elder Talieh said. “We’re all excited to be part of the Trojan Family.”