Review Category : Features

International House hosts second Formal Without Borders

On the corner of College Park and Russell Boulevard stands a white building ornamented by a fringe of foreign flags. International House represents a celebration of culture, and this year it hosted Formal Without Borders, a new tradition for the international development clubs of UC Davis. The second Formal Without Borders was held on May 17. The event kicked off at 9 p.m., and more than 10 clubs tabled at the event to fundraise for impoverished communities in developing countries and raise awareness about a multitude of causes. The outside area was set up with an assortment of food and club tables. Attendees in formal wear mingled, enjoyed snacks and struck up conversation with both established and upcoming clubs. Inside, the festivities were complete with international music, dancing and performances. Imaan Taghavi, a third-year civil engineer major, was a main organizer of both the first and this second formal. “I was thinking to myself, it would be really cool to get a lot of these international development clubs together, because... ...

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UC Davis students voice their opinions on UCSB shooting

Hanni Newland First-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major “I think a lot of times in tragedies like this, you get caught up in it and you don’t think about how these people had friends, had families,had lives — you just hear a name and see a face. I don’t feel unsafe [being on a UC campus], but I think the biggest thing is balance. There needs to be a time for mourning and a time for thinking and reflection — a balance between the two is always good. Not to get political, but when I see fingers pointed that it’s a gun rights thing, it’s a feminist thing, it’s a mental health thing, I say why not all three, why not approach all issues? Just as the victims are multifaceted, so was the perpetrator, and I think that’s something to keep in mind.  I don’t feel like it’s just one issue, there’s a lot there.” Ahmed Naguib Conduct Coordinator in Student Housing “I graduated from UCSB two years ago, so... ...

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UC Davis student founds first national Amigos de las Américas program

For over 50 years Amigos de las Américas has sent high school and college students to Latin America to volunteer with community development projects. For the past year, however, second-year community regional development major Anna Peare has been redefining what it means to be a part of Amigos. Peare was recently awarded the Donald A. Strauss Foundation Scholarship, winning $10,000 which will go towards her plans to launch the first national Amigos program, working with youth to impact local change. Her project is called the Amigos de las Américas: Backyard Program. For those who are unfamiliar with the organization, Amigos de las Américas is an international nonprofit that fosters adventures and education alike by preparing high school and college students to spend a summer in Latin America. Once there, students live with a host family, soak in the culture and lead service projects that range from health to environmental, depending on the individual needs of the community they’re living in. Peare was already an Amigos veteran when she came to... ...

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“Filed Away” exhibit showcases personal objects, stories during undocumented student awareness week

Exposing contemporary issues through design, the filing cabinet drawers of the “Filed Away” exhibit contain the objects and stories of anonymous undocumented students at UC Davis. This exhibit is the thesis project of designer and MFA candidate in the design department Emma Thorne-Christy. To her, “Filed Away” strives to uplift these objects and stories through her design and museum skills in order to bring awareness to undocumented students. “This is about connecting to people’s personal everyday objects. Putting them under Plexiglas creates this power,” Thorne-Christy said. “They say in the museum world that there is a museum effect that comes out of putting a case over something. Suddenly a cell phone charger becomes a piece of art.” Other objects in the temporary exhibit include a keychain, a couple blankets, children’s toys and a small painting, all symbolizing the experiences of the undocumented person to whom they belong and will be returned. “I wanted to give students who are still under the radar a chance to speak through an object, not... ...

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Stories on divestment: Mandy Losk

Being both an Israeli-Jewish student and a Middle Eastern and South Asian (ME/SA) major, the past few months have been quite an experience for second-year student and Aggies for Israel member Mandy Losk. “I kind of signed up for it. I thought it would be a less Israeli-friendly major than others, so I expected a lot of difficulty during divestment time,” Losk said. “There have been days that I have been scared to deal with people who are really unhappy with me.” Growing up in a Jewish community and visiting Israel as a teenager, Losk said she has been exposed to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for much of her life. But on her first trip to Israel, Losk said she was surprised at what she witnessed. “It really surprised me because what we were hearing on the news in America was really different than what was happening there,” Losk said. “I decided I wanted to focus on the area as my major, and wanted to learn as much as I could... ...

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Stories on divestment: Eran Zelnik

At the May 8 ASUCD senate meeting, UC Davis history Ph.D. student and former Israeli soldier Eran Zelnik is part of the small population of Jewish-Israeli students who affiliate with the pro-divestment side. “I care about people from that region. That is my place, that is where I come from,” Zelnik said. “I want the place that I come from to exhibit justice, to be a just society.” Born and brought up in a Jewish household in Haifa, a small town in northern Israel, Zelnik said he grew up receiving a Zionist interpretation of life. Although his family was considered a typical Israeli left group, Zelnik said they were still very devoted to Zionism. Before coming to Davis, Zelnik served in the Israeli army as a tank commander on check posts and patrols from 1997 to 2000. “When I grew up, I was very intent on going to the army, I thought it was the best way to serve my country,” Zelnik said. “I really wanted to go to combat... ...

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Stories on divestment: Nitzan Bluvstein

As a born and bred Israeli, third-year psychology major Nitzan Bluvstein delivered heartfelt accounts of her experiences living in Israel. “I breathe Israeli through and through,” Bluvstein said. “I grew up in an open-minded community.” Bluvstein and her family moved to America in 2001, mainly in an attempt to distance themselves from the violence happening in their hometown. “My parents were afraid about the future of the country,” Bluvstein said. “I had a really great childhood, but at the end of the day, you live in a warzone. It’s really frustrating trying to explain that to people that can’t relate.” Some of the violence Bluvstein experienced targeted toward the Israeli people included the potential of unexpected explosions and suicide bombers. In her personal account at the senate meeting, Bluvstein described the feelings of being a small girl who couldn’t walk a short distance to school on her own due to the high risk of being hurt. “When I talk about it now in America, it sounds dramatic. But, it’s a... ...

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Stories on divestment: Reem Fatayerji

For Reem Fatayerji, a second-year international relations and economics double major, dealing with divestment on campus has been far from relaxing. “I knew that there was some type of injustice going on from when I was a little kid,” Fatayerji said. “I knew it wasn’t a religious thing, because I wasn’t raised religiously. All I knew is that I had to be careful about what I was saying, around everyone.” As a half-Palestinian, half-Lebanese student, Fatayerji said the conflict has always affected her life, more recently while on a family trip to Israel on an American cruise line in 2008. Being the only Middle-Eastern Arab people on the boat, Fatayerji and her family were not surprised when they were called for a random interview and check by the Israeli government. “They talked to my dad for two hours and looked through all stamps on my parents passports,” Fatayerji said. “They wanted to know what our intent on the cruise was. We were coming from an American cruise line, and they... ...

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Stories on divestment: Jessica Reiter

When SR #20 was presented to senate, second-year political science and international relations double major Jessica Reiter sat among her Jewish and Israeli peers, proudly representing herself as anti-divestment. Reiter is a German Irish Catholic student. Although the majority of the anti-divestment side of the conflict identified as either Jewish or Israeli, Reiter was one of the many students with strong opinions despite not having a cultural or religious connection to the matter. “The first time I saw divestment was last year, when I just joined [the External Affairs Commission] and I had never sat in any meetings before,” Reiter said. “I was really excited to see both sides of the story. But, when I saw the actual resolution, and how it was singling out one side of the campus, I did not agree.” Growing up in a U.S. military family, Reiter said her familiarity with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been more than the average student. “Israel would come up a lot at home, so it was something we talked... ...

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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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