Opinion: If USC Brings Back Shared Lyfts, Then Bring Back Splash Bash

by Maura Ende 

On Tuesday, January 3, USC Transportation announced a return to the Shared Lyft model for the Spring 2023 semester. We at the Sack of Troy find this change to be not only dangerous, but ignorant, to the needs of the student body. The only compensation for this direct attack on socially anxious and sheltered students—that is, those of us accustomed to Escalade drivers prohibited from speaking to us—is to revert to other 2019 USC norms.

If the university deems Shared Lyfts worthy of a reexamination, when will the university reconsider the abolition of our beloved Splash Bash? Most current undergraduate students have been robbed of this moist introduction to the Trojan experience at the Lyon Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a 2017 study by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Splash Bash single-handedly solved the drought in the University Park region, despite common misinformation that it only worsened it. We must continue to give back to our community by flaunting our bikinied bodies while an E-list DJ blasts a mediocre remix of “Plain Jane.”

How about the Trojan Grounds Starbucks location, huh? A refuge where pajama-clad freshmen once congregated at the wee hour of 2 A.M—but never from 3 to 4 A.M.—to escape the 10-page GESM essay demanding their attention at the library. Now, the classes of ‘24 and beyond wander aimlessly through McCarthy Quad during their late-night study breaks without the safe haven that Trojan Grounds offered. A DPS report from last semester describes the moment when an upperclassman suffered from nostalgia-induced psychosis. “Suspect sipped from the reflecting pool,” the report states. “Suspect claimed to mistake it for a ‘Frappuccino-filled oasis.’”

While we’re at it, we must ask the question on every senior’s mind: where did Fluor Tower go? A cultural cornerstone of the pre-pandemic USC experience, Fluor housed the university’s largest free arcade, a private theater, and a spacious multipurpose room (the main purpose of which was as a private meeting room for USC’s renowned yet unfortunately defunct BDSM club). The freshman dorm allegedly served as a hideout for El Chapo for two months in 2003, as well as for Olivia Jade in early 2019. Another example of USC erasing its problematic history, Fluor Tower must be resurrected and its legacy must be shared with incoming students. (Please don’t bring back Trojan Hall though)

On a more serious note, the university has all but brainwashed us into forgetting the supreme overlordship of Fetti and Highkey in 2019. Long before Duffl began its relentless persecution of innocent bystanders at Village Crossing, these party-sourcing apps preyed upon innocent freshmen, promising them an unforgettable weekend, which they usually encouraged us to spend on the Row. How does the next generation know what the move is on a Friday night? Without the guiding light of the Fetti app icon, we are a lost, empty, and sober society.

As greatly as those apps enriched our culture, we students of 2019 survived a primitive society nonetheless: one without the cloaked sexual advances permitted by the USC Missed Connections Instagram account. A simpler time, our 1 A.M. TroGro Starbucks encounters linger still in our wildest what-ifs. We scroll through our Snapchat friends and see a vast array of names that evoke nostalgic recollections of smushed Lyft rides to a Fetti-endorsed function.

Thus, we must remain grateful and optimistic. Perhaps these Shared Lyfts, for which we must wait an uncomfortable 15 minutes, only to sit in for an unbearable 10 minutes or more, will introduce us to our next missed connection. God bless the poor soul responsible for sifting through our meticulous descriptions of the dude in the middle seat whose aroma of Axe and weed made those 10 minutes worthwhile.