Review Category : Features

Stories on divestment: Sohail Morrar

As the vice president of the UC Davis Students for Justice of Palestine, fourth-year international relations major Sohail Morrar wanted Senate Resolution (SR) #20 to bring awareness about Palestinian human rights violations to campus. “Although there are the people in the opposition that say it divides the campus, I feel like it created solidarity between many groups,” Morrar said. “I think that solidarity comes from these groups of people constantly interacting with each other on campus. It is a united force.” Even though Morrar did not author the divestment bill, his personal investment in the matter dates back to his last trip to Palestine in September 2009. “I thought it was important to have my voice heard, seeing as I have family members who live in the territories and understand what it’s like to live under occupation,” Morrar said. “The bill does connect those companies that do commit human rights to the Palestinian cause and I also feel like the bill helps Israel because it helps Israelis become aware of... ...

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Critically acclaimed writer Yiyun Li teaches at UC Davis

Whether a hobby or an academic pursuit, creative writing calls for inspiration, and award-winning writer and UC Davis English Professor Yiyun Li has been inspiring her students since she began teaching here in 2008. Among her many achievements, Li has won numerous awards for her writing, including the Whiting Award, the Lannan Foundation Residency fellowship, the 2010 MacArthur Foundation fellowship and most recently the 2014 Benjamin H. Danks Award. She was also named one of the 21 Best Young American Novelists under 35 by Granta, and one of the top 20 writers under 40 by The New Yorker. “Being awarded is an external confirmation, and it’s good to have confirmation of your work. These awards are external and they don’t change how I look at the world, they don’t change how I write,” Li said. Li has become a locus of literature, making people more aware of UC Davis and bringing prestige to the creative writing program. “What I think should be most important to people is the quality of... ...

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Celebrity chef speaks at ASUCD Entrepreneurship Fund’s annual event

World famous chef and UC Davis alumnus Martin Yan was this year’s speaker at the ASUCD Entrepreneurship Fund’s (E-Fund) annual event, held at the Student Community Center on May 13. The E-Fund was founded Fall Quarter 2012, and its main goal is to promote entrepreneurship among undergraduate students. This year, Yan was chosen to speak, not only for his fame and skill, but also for his love of cooking and his success in turning it into a long-thriving career. “I’m not much of a business person, but I believe you’ve got to believe in yourself,” Yan said. “And passion — you’ve got to love what you do and never give up.” Yan was born in Guangzhou, China and formally started his culinary training at the age of 13. When he moved to America, Yan got a master’s degree in food science at UC Davis and later became a teacher at an on-campus cooking extension program focusing on Asian cuisine. “My time in Davis was a very memorable time because I... ...

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On-campus shop provides auto-mechanic service for 32 years

Tucked away at the edge of the UC Davis Arboretum, Redfield Machine, an auto-mechanic shop open since 1982, advertises its services with only one small sign. For owner Bob Redfield and his regular customers, however, the name of the 17 Arboretum Terrace auto shop is recommendation enough. “If anyone can, he can,” said Redfield Machine regular customer and UC Davis Associate Professor of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology Dirk Van Vuren. “He’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve.” Redfield himself was associated with the University as well — before opening his auto shop, he earned his Ph.D. in Spanish from UC Davis in 1980, giving a nuanced meaning to the phrase “car doctor.” “You never know how it’s all going to end. I expected to be a professor, and it fell through,” Redfield said. “And what do you do? Fall apart? You can’t. You’ve got to keep moving, and the keep moving was open a shop, and that worked out fine.” As it turns out, “fine” equates to... ...

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LGBTQIA Resource Center celebrates 20th anniversary

On May 7, marking the 20th anniversary celebration, hundreds of alumni, students, faculty, administration and members of the Davis community gathered together in the LGBTQIA Resource Center to reflect upon its growth and development. Over the past two decades, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) Resource Center has flourished significantly in its mission to be a vital resource on campus. “When I learned that this year marked the 20th anniversary, I was excited to celebrate it because I thought it could generate a beautiful opportunity to reflect on our story, have inter-generational dialogue about the struggles and joys of the LGBTQIA community, and also to explore a vision of what we want the center to develop into in the coming years,” Elizabeth Cote, interim director of LGBTQIA, said. Leading into the opening of the celebration, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Adela de la Torre presented a speech highlighting the several successes and achievements of the LGBTQIA Resource Center. The celebration also featured stories, music, dance, poetry performances... ...

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UC Davis forager explores wild side of California

When I first saw Kevin Smith, he was twining cord using strips of a leaf from a New Zealand flax, one of several useful plants one might find on a walk through Davis. Smith is a Ph.D. student in archaeology at UC Davis, pursuing his interest in studying and practicing how our ancestors lived. He’s written a blog called “Countryman: Foraging California’s Wild Side,” where he details many of his adventures around California and in local areas, hunting wild animals, collecting edible plants and then cooking gourmet meals. He took a couple hours from his studies to show me a few samples of California’s wild side that are right here in Davis. In our short trip through the Arboretum, Smith pointed out and told me the names of several different plants and what they could be used for. “People don’t really understand how much of this is edible, and how much of it is useful,” Smith said. He identified and attempted to harvest a sample of chia seeds from a... ...

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UC Davis’ Bottles for Poverty builds school in Ethiopia

After almost three long years of collecting thousands of recyclable bottles and redeeming them for cash, UC Davis’ Bottles for Poverty successfully raised enough funds in order to build a school in Gonder, Ethiopia this past April. Started in 2011, Bottles for Poverty (BFP) is a club dedicated to raising funds in order to alleviate poverty, particularly in Ethiopia. “Growing up in Ethiopia I’ve seen a lot of poverty, and I always felt responsible to do my part to help people there,” said Robel Haile, a managerial economics and international relations graduate student, and BFP founder. “I was thinking about an idea that would help me raise funds but at the same time galvanize students as well — so this idea just came to me one day. A lot of students drink and party, so they can at least donate their garbage and try to make a difference.” From a small start of only six members, Haile said the organization has grown tremendously over the past few years, and now... ...

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Once, twice, sold

Broken, forgotten and weather worn, bikes are abandoned as students graduate, purchase new ones or deem broken ones not worth fixing. If not for Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) these once-coveted velocipedes would crowd parking areas, their carcasses slowly picked clean by looters. “We are picking up abandoned bikes constantly, it’s a year round process,” said TAPS Bicycle Program Coordinator David Takemoto-Weerts. “We pick up around 1,000 bikes a year.” TAPS surveys campus and removes abandoned bikes as they crop up — but instead of scrapping them, they put them back into the local community through their bi-annual auction. Tucked away from the ever-shifting elements inside the ground level of the ARC parking structure, the vault where the impounded bikes are held is opened the morning of the auction. A small bleacher and stage goes up and prospective buyers register and are allowed to examine the bikes, which range in all forms of disrepair, with some rolling on their own right while others limp up the ramp to the auctioneer.... ...

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Gates Foundation chooses 11 UC Davis sophomores as Gates Millennium Scholars

Each year, the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program selects 1,000 students, 11 of whom are in UC Davis’ Class of 2016. Provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the students receive unmet need and self-help aid funding throughout their years at a university of their choice, and the program also offers graduate school funding for continuing Gates Millennium Scholars in certain areas of study. According to their website, the goal of GMS is to “promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for outstanding minority students with significant need to reach their highest potential.” Although consisting of a lengthy application process that included eight essays, many of the 11 sophomore recipients said the outcome was definitely rewarding. “From the class I came from there were a lot of really outstanding GPAs and a lot of studious people that weren’t awarded it,” said Lilia Moncada, a second-year animal science major. “The way I see it is what you wrote in those eight essays had to stand out in some way.... ...

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Current, former ASUCD presidents weigh in on trials of position

With election season over, Armando Figueroa settling into his position as the new ASUCD president and former president Carly Sandstrom working as an ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo) employee, the two students respectively discuss and reflect on the presidency and the sacrifices that go along with it. As dictated by the ASUCD Constitution, the president’s job is to serve as CEO of ASUCD and to organize the office’s operations. The president must serve as an ex-officio member of all commissions, and is the only member of ASUCD who is able to make treaties, memorandums of understanding or other legally binding contracts on behalf of the association. He or she is required to lead and sit on various committees that require student membership and appoint the ASUCD controller and most ASUCD unit directors, with the exception of The California Aggie and KDVS. The president does not, however, have the power to introduce any legislation, except for ASUCD’s annual operating budget. Adam Thongsavat, a UC Davis alumnus who majored in history and served... ...

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TEDxUCDavis features freshman student speaker

First-year Harley Litzelman, who is double majoring in American studies and sociology and minoring in education as well as working as a legislative aid for the ASUCD Lobby Corps, was chosen to be this year’s student speaker at the annual TEDxUCDavis event. TED, an online video nonprofit that aims to spread ideas, is not directly involved with managing TEDxUCDavis. Instead, a small group of students were responsible for setting up the event, only needing to get a stamp of approval from the TED company. This year’s event, themed “Pause or Press Play,” was held on May 4 at the Mondavi Center featuring talks from 10 speakers, each lasting about 20 minutes. “We feel sometimes you need to pause and have further consideration. Then there are times you just need to get it over with and just do it,” said Cory Warshaw, who is a recent graduate from UC Davis with a degree in biology and the curator of the event. “We take our theme as a real question. We don’t... ...

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Coffee cooperative fights for small farmers

A great cup of coffee is more than your morning caffeine fix. At Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, a great cup means a high-quality drink sold directly from producer to consumer. Pachamama Coffee Cooperative (Pachamama) occupies the corner of First and E streets in downtown Davis, and to the unsuspecting consumer seems like a typical college town coffee shop. A friendly barista, complete coffee menu and great patio complete the image. What Pachamama’s customers may not initially realize is that by purchasing that cup of Guatemalan drip coffee instead of their usual Starbucks Americano, they’re voting for social change. Pachamama Coffee Cooperative is owned by over 140,000 farmers in five different countries: Ethiopia, Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Mexico. Pachamama is the only company in the United States that’s 100 percent owned by coffee farmers, said Thaleon Tremain, the general manager of Pachamama. That means that the profits made from Pachamama coffee go directly back to the farmers themselves, because they’re the ones selling it. Many similarly advertised companies have a middle man... ...

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UC Davis ranks 19th among top Peace Corps volunteer-producing schools

It seems that the spirit of giving back runs in the blood of UC Davis students. According to the 2014 Peace Corps rankings of top volunteer-producing universities across the nation, UC Davis ranked No. 19 among large schools, and currently has 41 alumni serving worldwide. For the past 12 years, UC Davis has made the top-25 rankings among large schools. There are numerous obvious reasons for graduates to join the Peace Corps: all-expenses paid travel, the once-in-a-lifetime experience, professional development, resume building and academic and professional opportunities such as the Returned Volunteer network. “We interview and send 25 to 30 volunteers abroad, straight from campus,” said Daniel Quinn, the UC Davis campus recruiter. “The interest in international work and in the Peace Corps has been rising, and we’re always getting more applications than ever before.” The high number of UC Davis volunteers can be attributed to a service-oriented, globally-minded student body, according to Lorry Marvin, the Sacramento Peace Corps recruiter. “There is also a great international student population at UC... ...

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UC Davis names 2014 Community Service Award winners

Many hardworking UC Davis clubs and individuals were recently recognized in the 2014 Community Service Awards. Each year, the Community Service Resource Center (CSRC) holds the UC Davis Community Service Awards in order to recognize students, staff, faculty and student organizations that have gone above and beyond. After being nominated, the participants were required to fill out a short application that the CSRC then reviewed. The recipients received certificates for their assigned category — which were determined by various aspects of their work in the community. The categories for the awards are Outstanding, Gold, Silver and Bronze, in order of prestige. Third-year communication major Viktoriya Mlonchina won an Outstanding award for her organization “Stories for Success (SFS),” a nonprofit tutoring program for English as a Second Language (ESL) students at an elementary school in San Francisco. As a Ukrainian immigrant herself, Mlonchina began elementary school as a student in the ESL program. “In my teen years, I became aware of the severely depleting resources allocated to ESL students and chose... ...

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Students complete #77DaysofDavis to mark last quarter of college

Students fill their 10-week quarters with academics: lecture, study, jobs, internships and if they’re lucky maybe a few social events here and there. The quarter system is wrought with chaotic deadlines, exams and constant scheduling. However, an online platform called 77 Days of Davis is spreading throughout campus to motivate students to be spontaneous and introspective, and to take advantage of their Spring Quarter. Fourth-year political science major Ting Jung (TJ) Lee was inspired during finals week last winter to create a bucket list of activities she had always wanted to do. The bucket list would be for her last quarter of college. With the design and advertising help of friends and her own determination, she was able to launch the website, social media and checklist design for students to fill out. “I’m a senior so I started to feel the senior anxiety of worrying so much about what I was going to do after college. It was about mid-March when I [realized] I worried two-thirds of my senior year... ...

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