Friendship @ USC


USC students leading training sessions for student club leaders, RA’s, USG leaders, Greek life leaders, etc, in the arts of encouraging friendship, conviviality, and compassion on campus.


You see a person randomly in class, and then see the person randomly in your residence hall and say “hi”, and then you randomly discover you are both rock-climbers.  You start to hang out together on campus, and then the two of you go on a weekend in the mountains with other climbers.  At night, you sit next to each other around a campfire and get into a deep conversation.  You realize you are not just acquaintances anymore: you are true friends.

This friendship, like most among Trojans, happened by accident.  But how much friendlier would USC be if we created the conditions for it on purpose?  This is what Campfires @ USC are all about.

A campfire gives people a focus while they hang out together.  There’s something elemental about it, no?  – going back to human pre-history.  A campfire encourages intimacy, but allows for quiet.  The sight and sound of it are soothing, encouraging reflection – an ideal environment for making friends!

So light a virtual fire, and gather round! —  in classes, Greek life, clubs, dorms, special events, or – just for the joy of it!  Get a group together in a circle.  Put your all your laptops and/or smart phones (with phones in airplane mode) in the center, all playing this campfire video (no need to synch – the sights and sounds blends together).


“Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”  — Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903

What questions can you ask to help move an acquaintance into a real friendship?

What questions are worth savoring – pondering – considering – without being in a hurry for answers?

What questions take us deeper into our own hearts, and into the hearts of others?

What questions can create a culture on campus that values questions at least as much as answers?

Here is a list of questions that can enrich your relationship with yourself and with other people.  When you ask them, ask with genuine curiosity and openness, withholding judgments or preconceptions.  Make room in your soul to mindfully listen for surprising answers.  Ask with a desire to learn, grow, know, and love.