University of Southern California

USC Student Affairs and Campus Life

Students Find Fun, Free Events on Weekends at USC

By Remi Levoff Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Students enjoy the weekend entertainment and casual atmosphere at Ground Zero.Photo by Nathan CarterStudents enjoy the weekend entertainment and casual atmosphere at Ground Zero.

USC’s on-campus weekend social scene provides Trojans with a plethora of free cultural events ranging from musical concerts to comedy shows to dance performances and more. A majority of the year-round, high-quality entertainment is put on for students, by students, thanks to an incredibly talented and versatile group of undergraduates and graduates.

Here’s an inside look at a typical USC weekend:

Friday Night — Students yearning to usher in the weekend with a relaxing evening of free entertainment should look no further than USC’s very own Ground Zero Performance Café. Located next to Trojan Hall, this laid-back venue and coffee shop is the ideal spot to kick back with friends, listen to some live music or watch a stand-up comedy routine, and wash it all down with a sinfully sweet, signature Ground Zero milkshake. With flavors ranging from the Funfetti Cake Shake to Everything but the Girlscout, there’s a milkshake for everyone.

“Ground Zero is the best,” said Becca Marshall, a senior. “They’re constantly providing fun and different entertainment for students. Just this week, I attended the Thornton School of Music Jazz Night!”

Weekend performances at Ground Zero are always free and typically showcase student talent, whether it be USC’s improvisation group, “Second Nature,” or a classic Open Mic Night.

Check out Ground Zero’s Website for more information:

Saturday Night — For a vibrant Saturday evening filled with live music and food, head underground — quite literally — to Tommy’s Place, located on the basement level of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. USC students flock to this hip venue each weekend for a wide variety of free events, including concerts, trivia, sports screenings and karaoke. With easy access to Traditions Bar and Grill — the two spots are conveniently connected — students have a delicious menu right at their fingertips.

Tommy’s Place’s sleek black and red décor evokes a retro atmosphere, while the acoustics are ideal for live concerts. James Brownstein, senior and drummer for House Fire, says he and his band-mates have become regular performers at Tommy’s Place.

“It has to be the most professional college campus music venue in the country. The staff assists the artists on every front and makes every phase of the performance very smooth, from loading in gear to the actual show,” Brownstein said.

As for the audience, there’s nothing quite like the support of his fellow Trojans. Brownstein put it simply, “When Tommy’s Place gets packed, it’s an incredible environment.”

Tommy’s Place’s full calendar of events can be found here:

Sunday Afternoon — As weekends at USC come to a close, many students choose to devote their Sundays to service; giving back to the local community is an integral part of the Trojan spirit. With more than 850 student clubs and organizations on campus, Trojans have myriad opportunities for service-oriented activities each weekend.

Troy Camp, USC’s oldest and largest philanthropy, hosts multiple events each month on campus for local elementary school students.

As senieor Kendall Robertson, who is in her fourth year as a Troy Camp counselor said, “Weekends with Troy Camp are never dull.”

From putting on the TC Olympics to holiday parties, the volunteers work tirelessly to host a variety of fun, educational and dynamic events for the campers. But what truly drives the heart of Troy Camp is the relationships formed between counselors and campers.

“Troy Camp is an amazing, life-changing experience for everyone involved. Giving back to your community has never felt more rewarding or more fun,” Robertson said.

For more information, or to get involved, visit

Additional On-Campus Weekend Activities:

USC’s very own on-campus Fisher Museum of Art, open until 5 PM on Friday nights, showcases rotating events, exhibitions and collections, free to students seeking a dose of weekend art and culture. To learn more:

Bovard Auditorium hosts a variety of student performances each weekend from dance shows to Thornton School of Music opera performances, as well as professional, world-class entertainment and guest speakers. Bovard’s full calendar of events can be found here:

USC’s School of Cinematic Arts provides students with free screenings — featuring films both new and old — right on campus in the SCA theatres, each weekend. For information on upcoming screenings:

Feeling sporty? Sign up for one of USC’s intramural Recreational Sports teams. From flag football to volleyball to dodgeball, there’s something for everyone. Sign up at as a team or an individual and join in on the fun.


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