Originally started in 1978, the Asian Pacific-Islander Student Outreach (APSO) was aimed to advocate for the Asian Pacific American students on the USC Campus. Through the efforts of APSO, the Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS) and Asian Pacific American Student Assembly (APASA) developed and became an integral part of the USC community. In 2006, APSO became defunct and ceased to exist as it once did.
In 2009, a group of students involved with the Critical Issues in Race, Class, and Leadership Education (CIRCLE) Program saw the need for a student organization whose main goal was to advocate for the APA community both at USC and around Southern California. The goal was to create an organization aimed at implementing activism at the most basic level, beginning with ourselves. And using APSO as a template, SCAPE was born.