University of Southern California

Marshall Community Service Day 2007
March 26, 2007 • by News at Marshall

More than 150 USC Marshall School of Business students, faculty, staff, business partners and others fanned out across Los Angeles County, taking part in the first Marshall Community Service Day.

Participants joined one of seven service projects around central Los Angeles and neighboring cities, doing everything from planting trees in North Hollywood to building houses in Glendale to tutoring elementary-school children in business basics to visiting patients at two hospitals.

"It's really important for people to understand that business, and business students, are about more than just making money," said Stephanie Atiase, a senior majoring in accounting and business law who led the student-run organizing committee that created Marshall Community Service Day.

"You have to be part of the community where you live and work, and you have to give back," Atiase said. "Marshall Community Service Day was a chance to do just that. And I was delighted to see so many Marshall students and others connected with school come out on a Saturday morning for something like this that had never been done before."

Though Atiase is headed to a job with accountancy giant Ernst & Young after graduation, she promised to come back and help in next year's Marshall Community Service Day. Even without her presence, she said, the organizing committee will continue.

"I really feel blessed to have had such a passionate leadership team behind me who will build on this year's success to make next year even better," Atiase said.

The 25 or so participants who opted for the Watts playground project got an added treat, when California First Lady Maria Shriver showed up with news cameras in tow. The project was the first of 10 playgrounds that Shriver's foundation will be building in low-income areas of California in concert with a non-profit organization called KaBoom.

Shriver, in jeans, work gloves and tennis shoes, visited briefly with numerous Marshall students and posed for pictures, her visits breaking up the sometimes-vexing process of wrangling together large components of steel and plastic that eventually became climbing stands, stairways and other parts of the playground.

Other volunteers at the sprawling compound belonging to the Watts Labor Community Action Committee included employees from Marshall corporate partner Wells Fargo Bank led by Marshall '05 alumna Temi Osilaja.

Elsewhere, two-dozen Marshall students joined about 40 other volunteers building two Glendale duplexes for Habitat for Humanity of the San Gabriel Valley.

Students there were joined by Marshall Career Advantage Program mentor David R. Ajemian,  managing director of Citigroup's Private Banking operation in Beverly Hills, and his 16-year-old son. They painted the duplexes' exteriors and installed insulation and sheet rock among other work.

Marshall professors Kendall Simmonds, Naomi Warren and Sharoni Little joined Ernst & Young partner Richard Medor and about 25 students in the Young Business Scholars program, teaching children from a nearby elementary school about the basics of starting and building a business.

Other students went to the Dream Center in Echo Park, where they joined workers with the church and social-service organization in distributing aid packages in poor nearby neighborhoods. Other groups planted trees in North Hollywood or visited patients at Good Samaritan Hospital and Shriner's Hospital for Children.

Several of Marshall's student groups provided a large portion of the Service Day participants, including Marshall Business Student Government, the Asian American Business Association, the Accounting Society and Beta Alpha Psi.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.