Review Category : Features

Davis Filmmaking Society drives students’ cinematography passions

Operating as a small-scale movie-making studio while emulating the film industry, the Davis Filmmaking Society (DFS) works to train its members in the field of cinematography. Despite only having been created last Winter Quarter by a group of first-year students, the organization has grown rapidly since its start and now consists of over 50 members. “What we really want to do is to unite the filmmakers of Davis, put them into one community and really foster filmmaking as an art,” said Alex Lee, a second-year political science major and DFS president and co-founder. “There are a lot of career options, but one thing we obviously want to do is make art and have fun doing it. Right now since we’re such a new club, I’m still expanding us into several different directions and I want to gradually incorporate it into being more business-like too.” With members of all experience levels, from zero film background to years of working in various roles for the industry, DFS welcomes all types of students.... ...

Read More →

Interview with human rights professor Keith Watenpaugh

In the religious studies department in Sproul Hall, one will find professor Keith Watenpaugh in his office overlooking the university campus from the ninth floor. An associate professor of modern Islam, human rights and peace since 2006, Watenpaugh recently developed the human rights minor at UC Davis. His most recent research involves displaced Syrian university students in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. What are you currently researching? I just finished a book called Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism under contract with the University of California Press. I’ve researched the history, theory and practice of human rights and humanitarianism, especially in the wake of war and genocide. The research I’m currently working on involves understanding the current conditions facing refugee university students from the war in Syria, both as a problem of security and the human right to education. When did this research begin? We began the research work in March 2013. This last month concluded the third part of the study in Turkey. It’s... ...

Read More →

New app “Yik Yak” hits UC Davis

Whether keeping students up-to-date on the latest local happenings or simply serving as a source of entertainment during lecture, there has been plenty of chitchat about new smartphone application “Yik Yak” over the past few weeks at UC Davis. “In general, our biggest communities are college kids,” said Cam Mullen, YikYak lead community developer. “[College students] can use it to connect with the people around them immediately, and that’s a core feature.” The Yik Yak app requires no sign-up, and upon opening, shows a hundred of the most recent anonymous posts within a two-mile radius of the user’s location. The app has grown in popularity since its launch in November 2013, and is now active at over 1,000 college campuses across the country. “Yik Yak has two parts. The first one is location based, which is different [from] any of these sites that want you to friend people,” Mullen said. “The other thing is how you keep your privacy — it’s anonymous and that lets you have discussions about things... ...

Read More →

Artists install public, interactive art throughout Davis

     As Bill Maul painted Godzilla’s torso, standing on a ladder at the top of an outdoor stairwell leading to the roof of the F Street parking structure in downtown Davis, Alex Reisfar outlined the carnivorous pursuits of another less fictional dinosaur on the adjacent wall. The collaboration, mixing the separate influences of two artists from different parts of the country, brought together two different styles of art sharing a theme to a public space. The F Street garage, dubbed the “Art Garage” by its creators, is the latest experiment undertaken by art gallery owner John Natsoulas to paint the walls of Davis. Maul is the leader of the Davis mural team, which includes Resifar, from Portland, Ore.; Monto Kumagai, who documents most of the works and several other local artists. The Art Garage is an expansion of the Transmedia Art Walk, which links together most of the publicly available art on the UC Davis campus and in the streets of downtown Davis, most of the latter being interactive.... ...

Read More →

Zombie John’s takes off in Davis

Halloween is rapidly approaching, and along with the promise of candy, pumpkin carving and politically incorrect costumes comes the opportunity to check out some local seasonal attractions. Among these attractions is the brand new business, Zombie John’s, located straight off the Chiles road exit on Interstate 80 in Davis. The Zombie John’s experience includes a pumpkin patch and corn maze by day, and a zombie paintball thrill ride by night. In the ride, visitors are given ammunition and can shoot at zombie actors from halloween-themed trailers. Zombie John’s only made it’s start this year, opening on Oct. 1 to the public. However, planning has been in the works since September of last year, when the operation’s Acting Manager Lana Maeder began to look into the idea of creating a Halloween attraction in Davis. “I found out that there were no paintball zombie shoots in the area,” said Maeder. “My brother’s a farmer, and I said, ‘How come you haven’t made a pumpkin patch here?’ We put our heads together and... ...

Read More →

Professors, lecturers face different rights to tenure

According to the American Federation of Teachers, lecturers teach 40 percent of classes at UC Davis. Unlike lecturers, professors are able to ascend to the level of tenure-protected faculty, and have a permanent place in the university after a period of review and evaluation. “Tenure is achieved after a faculty member has been deemed qualified and having achieved the necessary level of a scholarly body of work,” said Binnie Singh, assistant vice provost of Academic Affairs, in an email interview. While a lecturer’s primary function is to teach, a tenure-track professor also has to do research. It is not required for lecturers to pursue research, but many do. The UC Davis Academic Personnel Manual UCD-220 Section IV states that in order to receive tenure, professors must show that they are working towards being published or have just completed a publication. APM UCD–133 states that assistant professors must ascend to the title of associate professor within eight years to receive tenure. If assistant professors are not promoted within this time frame,... ...

Read More →

The AB540 and Undocumented Student Center celebrates grand opening

The AB540 and Undocumented Student Center celebrated its grand opening and ribbon-cutting event Oct. 21 at its on-campus location in the Student Community Center. In addition to guest speakers, including Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Adela de la Torre and UC Davis Law School Dean Kevin Johnson, the event featured cultural dance performances from Danzantes del Alma and a tour of the new center for guests. “I am really proud that this campus has a very strong visual [and] political statement of what it means to be inclusive. This [center] is a great form of accountability,” said ASUCD President Armando Figueroa. “We talk about diversity every day [on this campus], and we finally put our money where our mouth is.” In 2001, the state of California passed Assembly Bill 540 as an addition to the existing California Education Code. According to the AB540 website, the legislation created an exemption for certain non-resident students from paying non-resident college tuition. Specifically, students who have received a high school diploma in California qualify... ...

Read More →

Ideas, grants and public benefit continue to drive research

The University of California system prides itself on its leading role in worldwide research, and the UC Davis campus is no different. From tenured faculty and graduate student projects to on-campus research institutes and the Undergraduate Research Center, UC Davis serves as a major contributor to the UC system research pool. “[Faculty are] constantly doing research. One of the reasons we’re called a research university is [because] that’s really what it’s about,” said Molly McCarthy, associate director of the Humanities Institute at UC Davis. “The expectation is that our tenure-track faculty, assistant, associate and full professors are doing research all the time. They are researchers; they are scholars who also teach. They live and breathe their research. They do it when they’re not teaching, they do it when they’re teaching.” Darrene Hackler, executive director for Humanities and Arts Research Development in the UC Davis Office of Research, said that professors are evaluated each year under certain categories, including teaching and research. At a research university like UC Davis, research is... ...

Read More →

An interview with new Classics professor Colin Webster

UC Davis Classics professor Colin Webster recently joined the department this year after receiving his doctorate in Classics from Columbia University in June. He is currently researching ancient science, medicine and philosophy. More specifically, he’s researching the way shifts in technology change our explanations of the natural world’s inner-workings. Webster, who has been researching the subject for about 10 years, is planning to create new courses related to his research in the near future. What are you currently researching? I research ancient science and medicine. On one hand I do a lot of research on the medical side of things, and on the other side a lot of mathematics, diagrams and the history of optics. What I’m particularly interested in is the way that shifts in technology produce new assumptions about nature. The big modern analogy for [how we read the technologies around us into our explanations of how the natural world works] is the computer….When the computer [was] invented people immediately [started] thinking of the brain as a computer….Before... ...

Read More →

Council for International Development maintains active role on campus

The Council for International Development, a student-run organization aimed to unite the broad variety of student initiatives regarding international development, has taken an active role on campus since its inception in Winter Quarter 2013. “[In summer 2012,] I had recently become friends with a lot of people who were high-ups in various… international development clubs,” said active member and fourth-year civil engineering major Imaan Taghavi. “I wanted to do a formal for my own club, Engineers Without Borders, and I realized, why not do it with some of these other clubs and have this joint venture where all these clubs can come together?” Early on, Taghavi realized there was a strong need at UC Davis for a forum in which international development clubs could interact with each other. After interacting with these other organizations on campus, Taghavi noticed a lack of interest among students in collaborating with organizations similar to their own. Since its inception, the Council for International Development has put on two fundraising events, each called a Formal... ...

Read More →

Global manufacturing facility in Davis continues to grow

Two years ago, the Japanese machine tool company DMG Mori Seiki collaborated with UC Davis’ College of Engineering to build a $50 million factory with state-of-the-art equipment only five miles away from campus. The manufacturing facility specializes in large-scale manufacturing units and the pre-assembly of major machine systems before they move through the assembly line process.   Since its opening in July 2012, the factory has employed about 150 workers in the local area and has provided valuable career and internship opportunities for UC Davis students. “Students have participated in a number of training programs at DMG Mori Seiki. Moreover, students are often hired to work there during the summertime so that they can be exposed to advanced manufacturing techniques,” said UC Davis College of Engineering Dean Enrique Lavernia in an email interview. “I believe Davis is an excellent place to build [the factory]. It is located strategically close to Sacramento, as well as to San Francisco, and it draws on the expertise of the faculty, staff and students at UC... ...

Read More →

Religious Studies Department hosts weekly tea event

Every Tuesday afternoon in the Walen Lai Library on the seventh floor of Sproul, the tallest building on campus, the Department of Religious Studies holds a small gathering complete with tea, biscuits and conversation. Originally started ten years ago by religious studies Professor and Department Chair Naomi Reshotko, the Tea Meeting has since grown to accommodate regular and new drop-in students and professors on a weekly basis in Sproul Hall. “It’s a common tradition to have time set aside in the afternoon for tea,” Janowitz said. “There is no limit to the time you spend working while being a student or a faculty member, so this is a way to break away from that dilemma.” Though the tea events are open to all, most of the attendees are affiliated with the Religious Studies Department. The goal is to create a dialogue between professors, faculty members and undergraduates within the major’s department. “You don’t meet people in classes normally, you probably meet people in the dorms, or as roommates, or if... ...

Read More →

Campus makes room for growing student population

As outlined in the 2020 Initiative spearheaded by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi last year, there will be a 5,000-student increase in the undergraduate student body on-campus by the year 2020. Many campus organizations, including the Student Housing Administration, must now find ways to accommodate a larger population and ensure that this growth does not put a strain on the campus’ resources and facilities. The 5,000-student figure includes new in-state, out-of-state and exchange students. According to the UC Davis News Service, the population increase will garner a total revenue of $38 million to $50 million a year. “I believe the 2020 initiative and the increased number of California, national and international students living in the residence halls will continue to provide a rich and vibrant community of first-year students living on campus,” Ramona Hernandez, Director of Business Services in the Student Housing Administration, said in an email interview. According to Hernandez, in order to house incoming students, an additional 150 triple rooms were added to the Tercero North area, allowing for... ...

Read More →

Three UC Davis Alumni lend aid and a voice to South Sudan

In Dec. 2013, only two and a half years after South Sudan celebrated its first independence day, tensions between the country’s two main ethnic groups erupted into violence. Only 19 months into independence, the world’s youngest country was plunged into civil war. In addition to giving monetary aid, the international community has stepped up in other ways, providing medical and media attention to the area. Contributing what they can through knowledge and expertise in their respective fields, three UC Davis alumni have been performing such work in South Sudan since the nation’s inception. Dr. Matthew Fentress, who graduated from the UC Davis School of Medicine in 2008, currently works in South Sudan with Doctors Without Borders, a medical non-profit organization. Prior to this, Fentress worked with the Global Health Fellowship in developing countries. “The first part of that [Global Health Fellowship] I spent a total of six or seven months in South Sudan,” Fentress said. “I always knew I wanted to work either outside of the country in the places... ...

Read More →

AB 540 and Undocumented Student Center opens on campus

The AB 540 and Undocumented Student Center will be a new addition to the Student Community Center to provide centralized resources for the growing undocumented student population on campus. The state’s education code was changed to include the Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) in 2001, allowing certain non-resident students to pay in-state tuition at California public universities if they had received a diploma from a California high school or the equivalent. Specifically, this bill aids students who are considered undocumented. According to the official AB 540 website, a person who does not have the appropriate documents to live legally in the United States, is considered undocumented. UC Davis has seen nearly a tripling of enrolled undocumented students –  from an estimated 70 in winter 2012 to just over 200 students in fall 2013. The center’s establishment is the result of years of student advocacy as well as a changing national and campus climate concerning immigration and social inclusivity. Late last year, University of California President Janet Napolitano allocated $5 million... ...

Read More →