Exploring the company we keep at UCI and beyond

Roller derby girls. God Without Religion. Harry Potter enthusiasts (fanatics?). These are a small sampling of the groups and organizations that have formed at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and around Orange County. Members share a devotion to their cause and a desire to pursue it in collaboration with others, which are the subjects we examine in this blog.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Live Nude People: Improv Comedy Comes to UCI

By Emily Gallagher

“Rule #1: Give us your suggestions: This is audience participation so you will speak loudly and arrive on time.”

“Rule #2: No bad suggestions: If you give bad suggestions, you will be publicly flogged. Examples of bad suggestions are: Teletubbies, Pokemon, Inanimate objects, and anything to do with Bill Clinton.”

“Rule #3: Give homage to the Spoon: When the spoon is presented, you will chant like this…(static vocal high pitch sound while waving one’s fingers in the air).”

“Rule #4: Judge fairly: Even if the player is your best friend and/or lover, you will not vote for them if their games sucked booty.”

“Rule #5: You will come every Friday: Even if your mother is tied up above a pit of lions with leaping doom flames of doom and you alone can save her, you will say, ‘Sorry Mom, it’s Friday.’”

“Rule #6: At the beginning of every show, you will count down like this. ‘Live Nude People will begin in 5-4-3-2-1-LIVE NUDE PEOPLE!!!”

Live Nude People (With Clothes On) is an improvisational comedy troupe at UC Irvine designed to tickle the anteaters’ funny bone. Improvisational comedy is a form a theater where the actors perform spontaneously.

Live Nude People (LNP) is run without a teacher or an expert; members select their own student leaders and everyone learns from one another. Three captains (three teams of four, twelve students total) compete for one thing: the Giant Spoon. Every other Friday night at 11pm on UCI campus, 200-300 people gather to watch two of the three teams battle it out for the spoon by playing improvisational (improv) games. The remaining team hosts the show. The audience sits back, relaxes and “laughs without holding back,” says devoted audience member, Ethan Nguyen. He describes LNP people as “cool and awesome people. They are my personal heroes.”

Live Nude People comedy troupe is not an original idea. In 1988, a program called Whose Line is it Anyway? brought improvisational comedy to television audiences. In the mid 1990’s, several colleges around the country took a hint from the hit television show and created improv comedy groups of their own. All around the country, several colleges compete in improv comedy tournaments. In 2008, Washington D.C.’s “D.C. Improv” hosted a “Funniest College Competition” where several colleges traveled to and competed in. While LNP has not done any formal competitions, several of their alumni have gone on to perform at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton, CA for a comedy troupe called “Improv Shmimprov.” Other LNP alumni have also gone on to other acting opportunities including theater productions and film.

A UCI grad actor, Eric Stein, created Live Nude People in 1997. Once Eric graduated in 2000, it was taken over by another student, Crystal Solomon, only for a mutiny to occur a year later in which three captains took control. Three captains has been the tradition ever since. The three captains are individually in charge of Advertising, Acquiring Venues, and Financing. They are also in charge of picking their four-person team with themselves included, running practices, and hosting a show every quarter. The captains remain captains until they graduate or are unable to participate, yet the rest of the team must prove their worth every quarter. Every quarter auditions are held to be a part of LNP, so the teams change every quarter to keep the group fresh and interesting.

Jose Cagigal, a current Live Nude People captain, looks back on his auditioning moments and described them as “excruciating.” Any UCI student is welcome to audition with no previous experience necessary. At the audition, they meet each other, warm up, and then play several improv games to see who is cut out to be a Live Nude Person and who is not. Auditions last several rounds of about five hours and then final decisions are made at around one or two in the morning according to Cagigal. The three teams meet up three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays for an hour and then three hours on Fridays. Improvise by definition means “to compose and perform or deliver without previous preparation.” Cagigal responds, “The reason we rehearse so much is because we build relationships. We do not practice what jokes we are going to say, we just practice being with these people and we hang out all the time after rehearsals. We spend at least five hours a week together and we get to know each other very well.”

April 16, 2010 around 10pm few people are scattered outside Crystal Cove Auditorium located in the Student Center at UCI. Live Nude performers push carts filled with audio equipment and props from the elevator to the theater door. Fans try to peek inside when the door cracks open for the performers to escape into, hoping to catch a glimpse of what is going on inside. A swooshing sound is heard from the staircase, as the footsteps grow louder, “Oscar the Grouch” appears. Well, a student dressed like “Oscar the Grouch” appears at the top of the stairs.

Tonight’s theme: “Tickle Me Emo.” Audience members are encouraged to dress up with each theme. Themes for Spring Quarter 2010 have included “Tickle Me Emo,” “That 1870’s Show,” “Cereal Killers,” and “ImPROM…Houston we have an PROMlem.” Traditionally those who dress up get inside first and get the best seats in the house, needless to say, the student “Oscar the Grouch” was let in first. Around 10:30pm, a Live Nudes performer came out with slips of paper and big poster paper. Some were asked to write a line for the show on the slips of paper, which could say anything the audience member wanted. The big poster papers were passed around and the audience was invited to draw anything on it. By the time the audience was done with the lines and posters, the lobby was packed with people some dressed up, some dancing independently with help of liquid courage, all eagerly waiting to be let inside. The mouths of the audience mirrored the slow opening motion of the door as they let out a cheer and quickly stormed their way inside on a mission for the best seat. Around 200 people filled the space, which is drastically larger from the 20 people that attended when the group first started in 1997. The audience excitedly twiddled their thumbs in their seats in anticipation for the show to begin.

The audience roared with enthusiasm as three people slowly and sadly made their way to the center of the stage. They were all dressed in black with dark makeup and their hair hanging over part of their face. These three guys were the definition of emo. They started the scene pretending to be waiting in line for a My Chemical Romance concert. While waiting in line they all started reading each other some of their dark emo poetry, to the delight of the audience.

Then they each grabbed a willing audience member, some made willing by their friend’s suggestion, and they were pulled onstage and were asked to give their best emo poetry. The audience decided which volunteer made the best emo poetry by cheering the loudest for their favorite contestant. Once the short introduction skit was over, Alexa Green, a small performer with short blonde hair took over the stage to talk to the audience à la Saturday Night Live style. Then they began to host the show starting off with reciting the rules, which all the performers and regular audience members knew by heart.

The host team, Team: Model Citizen, is comprised of Brandon Norris, Alexa Green, Soren Santos and Garrett Bales.

Throughout the show, Alexa Green was the main host who introduced all of the improv games for the night and explained how each game operated. The rest of the team members sat in the front row and watched their fellow Live Nude People perform.

The competing teams for the night were introduced as Team: The Mystery Machine Rides Again featuring Will Cranmer, Darren Peters Jose Cagigal, and Erin Suth.

Team: Bayside Medical featuring Alex Foster, Rob Salas, Katie Smith and Craig Fox.

These teams mesh well together -- in every game they are quick to respond to each other and support each other as if they are all thinking on the same wavelength. They are able to be on the same wavelength due to their constant practice of playing improv games and hanging out to see how they all think and work together.

Caution: Live Nude People are not perfect; they are not always on their game. During the show, they were playing a game where Craig Fox from team Bayside medical was sent outside and the audience had to come up with a phrase that Fox would eventually have to guess; the audience chose, “Putrid cactus that perspirates.” Fox was allowed back in and his teammates had to mime out the phrase without speaking to Fox while he desperately attempted to figure out what his teammates were miming. Fox and his teammates were both expressing sighs and moans of frustration that Fox did not understand what they were miming. The situation seemed hopeless. Then the other team stood up and cheered on Fox, then the host team stood and cheered on Fox. Fox’s fellow Live Nudes family was not going to let him hang there by himself. With their encouragement, Fox took a deep breath and said, “Putrid cactus that perspirates.” The audience replied with standing ovation and cheering. According to Jose Cagigal, they all have their bad nights, nights when everyone else is “connecting perfectly” while someone else cannot think of a good response. They all learn from those nights, Cagigal says, “My first show I was not funny at all. The second show I started to get the hang of it.” He recalls the night after his first show when a fan came up to his teammate and said, “OMG you are so funny!” and then turned to Cagigal and said, “Oh…you were good.” Jose mentions, “the best parts of improv come from those moments when one cannot think of anything to say, because then their brain takes over for them and does all the magic without even thinking.” Yes, Live Nude People are not perfect, but they learn from their bad nights and their teammates help pick themselves up and continue on with the night. The regulars in the audience understand because they have seen them good and bad, and it makes the performers human and relatable. There is a special bond between the performers and the audience, they all help each other out, and the night goes on.

Throughout the night, the two teams battle it out in improv games and each game has as aspect or rule to it that comes from the audiences’ suggestions. The Words of Wisdom game involves two members from each team who all have a handful of slips of paper, which happen to be the same ones that the audience members wrote before the show began and they begin a scene. When a performer decides that the moment calls for a word of wisdom, they take out a slip of paper from their pocket that they have never read before and read it as their line. The audience radiates the walls with laughter as they recognize their friends’ words being said onstage. For a moment, the audience members’ own words are the source of laughter, even from the performers. Ann Sbardellati, a regular audience member, stood up and cheered when her line was read.

After the show, Ann commented, “It is so cool when the audience is laughing so hard at something you wrote! I mean, I wrote that, and everyone laughed!” Then story time commences as two performers, one from each team, sit in chairs and hold the stack of poster boards that the audience drew before the show. The audience comes up with a story title, tonight’s being “The Night I Wet My Bed,” and the performers tell the story using the pictures as guidelines for the story. All of this involves quick, witty thinking and all the performers have to rely on is the drawings from the audience.

By the time midnight passes, the host team starts wrapping up the show, and the Giant Spoon is unveiled. An audience member is picked to hold the spoon; tonight’s member was none other than “Oscar the Grouch.” Oscar held the spoon upright while the two teams stood on either side, as the audience was asked to cheer for either team, Oscar tilted the spoon in the direction of the team. Whichever team had the loudest cheer, the spoon went completely to that side and the team won the night.

Cagigal says “there is no significance of the spoon, which gives it all the more significance. It has always been there and is a tradition.” The LNP performers do not really care who wins, because they are all excited for each other on their good night and funny moments. They may be on separate teams, but with their huge twelve-person group hug at the end, it is evident that they are, as Katie Smith says, “One big family.” Smith says that LNP is like any other family, “we fight, laugh, support, trust and love each other. We are all really close.”

Almost all of the Live Nude People are Drama majors and have been in a few shows outside of Live Nudes at UCI. During finals week, LNP put on a special show called “Quarter in Review,” where they write a script and make fun of all of the theater shows at UCI this quarter.

It is a quarterly tradition and most of the actors that were in those shows show up to see how they are being made fun of. Jose Cagigal mentioned that before the show the LNP were all “really nervous because they some of their jokes are really mean.” Cagigal goes on to explain that there is only a “grain of truth” in their parodies of the plays and that they even “talk shit about their own performers that were in shows.” During the show, Katie Smith was covered in a large blanket and started walking towards the audience. Yet she walked a little too far and fell off the stage, the audience was dead silent. Her Live Nude family rushed out to see if she was O.K., but she quickly picked herself off and smiled to the audience and then the audience stood and cheered for her. Katie Smith is a graduating captain and has done improv since high school and joined LNP her freshman year. Jose mentioned that there are a few seniors leaving this year and he is sad to see his “best friends and heroes” leave. Alexa Green and Jose both concurred that “it hasn’t hit them yet that they just had their last show as a family together.”

Jose Cagigal describes the feeling of being onstage performing improv comedy as “Unlike anything. Awesome. The best. It’s you out there. Everything you do has been created by you, it is your words, your actions, your persona and that feels really cool. And if people like you, that’s awesome!” Since its birth, Live Nude People has promised the bored and culturally deprived students of UCI a reprieve from their bland surroundings.

Live Nude People kept their promise.

Reporting Notes:

-1 hour interview with Jose Cagigal, Live Nude People captain

-1 interview with Alexa Green

-1 interview with Katie Smith

-1 interview with Ann Sbardellati

-1 interview with Ethan Nguyen

-2 Friday night shows
-1 Tuesday night show (the Quarter in Review show)

- Twentieth Century Acting Training. ed. Alison Hodge. New York: Routledge, 2001.

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who%27s_line_is_it_anyway

- http://www.thedctraveler.com/2008/04/since-when-is-college-funny/

- http://www.improvshmimprov.com/

- http://www.livenudepeople.com/

- http://www.newuniversity.org/2007/03/features/introducing_ucis_improv_organizations29/

- http://www.newuniversity.org/2007/10/entertainment/uci_strips_for_students45/

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmAAI5xwPVw

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXoU1y5os1E

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Do It Yourself at UCI by Martha Davis

Today Alex, a second year Science and Engineering student at UCI, has traded in math equations and 4” textbooks, opting to turn his focus towards creating a piñata with balloons, newspaper, flour water, and colorful tissue paper. While Alex usually finds himself bogged down with grueling engineering homework where one problem can typically take over several hours and several pages, today he takes a break with the DIY (Do It Yourself) crafting club on campus where students from all different majors and creative backgrounds are welcome to try their hand at creativity. Sometimes, substituting a notebook for a balloon, and calculator for some tissue paper can be just the ticket for a stressful release. Co-Founded by UCI sophomores Hannah Hirsekorn, Tiger Souvannakoumane, and Melissa Maldonado, DIY is dedicated to the hand-made and spreading awareness towards a crafting revolution.

Hannah, Tiger, and Melissa recognize a handmade revolution emerging today, and actually the trend of “do it yourself” started in the 1950s when families started fixing houses themselves. With an increase of user friendly manuals available, people were more easily able to paint, install carpet, and put in lighting fixtures themselves. Then, the trend turned toward the Hippie revolution in the 1960s when people opted to make new clothes out of used ones to not only be unique, but also to defy mass-producing cooperations. Today, the “do it yourself” trend can be partially attributed to crafting icons like Martha Stuart who appeals to women looking to add personal touches of elegance into their home. Certainly, with the rise of television “how to” demonstrations and internet blogs crafting has become an increasingly popular pass time. In fact, Tiger, Hannah, and DIY member Hannah Avarquez all have their own Etsy account, a website that allows people to create their own online profile to sell vintage items and handmade creations. An online craft fair, if you will. Though the rise of crafting has been largely influenced by new technology, it has also seen a rise in popularity as young celebrities have turned to crafts such as knitting and crocheting during their time on set between filming. Big time stars like Cameron Diaz and Hilary Swank have all been noted to try their hand at knitting, influencing their young fans to do the same.

Hannah wants to bring “DIY” awareness to the UCI campus through her club. Hannah explains, “DIY is a craft revolution. It’s about the handmade and doing things for yourself, and going against and working with technology… it’s about bringing back the old sewing and all that kind of stuff. And also, incorporating it into the modern world.” Hannah, Tiger, and Melissa all agree that crafting brings them a creative outlet, as well as a sense of accomplishment when they finish a project. Since Hannah, Tiger, and Melissa are all art majors, crafting gives them a creative release that their school projects cannot fulfill.

During a typical meeting, Hannah, Tiger, and Melissa will first hold a craft-making demonstration for a project they all agreed to prior to the meeting day. Then, they will either get lost in their own crafting experience, or circulate around the room and help with other member’s projects. These projects have included the making and designing of hair barrettes, mother’s day cards and jars, t-shirts, quilts, cupcakes, charcoal drawings, fabric flowers, piñatas, and even pasta. The trick to coming up with an idea for meeting is by making sure the craft can be completed within two hours (time allotted per each meeting), that the project does not require complicated tools, and that the craft is relatively inexpensive since the DIY budget is based on $5/quarter dues from each member. Because the club’s attendance ranges anywhere from 5 to 25 people, money is tight and consequently so are supplies. However, a tight budget has not dampened their desire to come up with fun and unique ideas. If anything, it forces them to be more creative to use supplies they already have, like using an old t-shirt for fabric, using old photos for collages, or using sticks found on the ground for decoration.

Even though Hannah, Tiger, and Melissa’s major have them constantly around art, their club manages to bring together a diverse group in the means of study concentration. DIY contains members studying art, journalism, global cultures, urban design, and even engineering among others. Melissa explains “A lot of our members are really creative, but they’re not art majors, and they want a chance to just be creative, stress free, and relaxed. So, they come and make these crazy cards, sew crazy creatures, and make little hair barrettes. Everyone can be really creative, that’s the best part of our club.” Besides containing various concentrations of study, DIY also has a surprisingly consistent male membership, and let’s face it; the prospect of crafting does not ring the bells of interest in a lot of men, and finding gender-neutral crafts can be a bit strenuous. Therefore, the groups flower barrettes also functioned as flower pins.

During the piñata meeting, DIY member Alex paper maches a balloon that will later turn into a sturdy shell for candy, and muses about his big mechanical engineering project due on Wednesday that he has yet to finish. Though, dipping newspaper pieces into flour water and then meticulously placing them onto his orange balloon seem to sooth any anxiety he has about his upcoming school duties. Similarly, during the Mother’s day glass jar decorating and card making meeting, newcomer Charlie, a 2nd year science and engineering major, admits that rather than crafting right now, he should probably be writing his 8 page paper due the next morning, which he hasn’t started. Again, gluing delicate colorful pieces of paper to his glass jar seem to take his mind off of his paper topic. Charlie silently holds up several colored pieces of paper in blues and greens and places them against the jar and then puts them back down again. Though he is “in the zone”, all his creative efforts come to a sudden and blatant close with one rapid turn of his elbow, causing his mother’s day jar to fall of his desk and violently break onto the floor. “I guess this is a sign that I should be working on my paper.”

Breaking jars are not the only ailment challenging the smooth running of DIY. One challenge Hannah faces is the logistics of being recognized as an official UCI club. Though she wants to have school recognition, a lot of red tape is required to maintain club status. Hannah, Tiger, and Melissa all had to take a CORE test and go through a club organization orientation. There are a lot of rules they need to demonstrate proficiency in, and a lot of precautions they are advised to take but that are hard to accomplish. For instance, DIY has not been able to purchase the school’s club insurance because of the excessive cost. Hannah has enough trouble affording bi-monthly crafting supplies, and cannot afford to put money into insurance. So, should someone run a sewing needle through their finger, technically Hannah is responsible and has to pay for any repercussions. That just means their crafts not only have to be time-conscious, user-friendly, and inexpensive, but also insanely safety proof. No one better step on that glass!

Besides club logistics holding DIY back, the group attendance is almost impossible to predict. Though DIY has several consistent members that come to every meeting, there is no way to account for a big group of friends that shows up after seeing a DIY poster on campus. Hannah says, “Sometimes there are big groups of people that will come together, but then some meetings they just won’t come. It’s fine, but sometimes it makes it hard to plan crafts because it’s hard to know how many people are going to be there and how many supplies we’re going to need.”

Though DIY faces a few setbacks, there’s no doubt that they manage to have fun at every meeting. At their charcoal drawing meeting, Tiger has a hard time finding an inspiring object to draw, so he asks Corinne if he can draw her plushy sea otter backpack. After drawing the sea otter, Tiger asks Corinne to model in the middle of the room with one leg up in the air and one hand extending outward into a claw. It’s not long before the whole room starts drawing Corinne, and then drawing her without ever looking at the paper; a drawing technique Hannah shares with DIY that she learned in one of her art classes. Corinne’s blue pigtails and animated face offers a perfect template for a bold drawing, and good entertainment as well.

During the quilting meeting, Hannah shrieks, “Corinne, why do you think you’re so special that you don’t have to make your quilt square the same size as everyone else!?” Apparently, Corinne missed the memo that she was supposed to leave at lease a centimeter around her 12”x12” fabric square so Hannah could have room to sew all the squares together. Hannah slowly shakes her head back and forth with a faint smile on her face, perhaps musing how she might be able to work around this faux pas.

DIY meetings offer humorous moments, but they can also be eerily quiet too. Sometimes members get so wrapped up in their own creations that they forget to talk altogether. It’s fascinating how some meetings are especially social and full of laugher, while others are more peaceful and methodical. While the quilt-patch sewing meeting had members too entranced with the process of sewing buttons and fabric pieces to their quilt square to talk, the piñata meeting had people laughing, questioning each other’s forms, and sharing stories. These stories often fill the room with good moods, like when Hannah tells everyone about the time she made a stencil of her boyfriend holding a balloon, and attempted to sell it at a craft fair. Tiger pointed it out to an old woman who said “oh my gosh, I like this one” and bought it. “So, now some random lady has a stencil of my boyfriend.” Also entertaining is when people take supplies from the meeting’s official project and start making other creations, like when Corinne found a strip of lace, and a piece of fabric with a printed bird on it and started sewing them onto her jeans.

DIY members all consider crafting as a soothing means to relax and de-stress, but some also find motivation to craft as they consider the prospect of selling their creations. Along with his Etsy account, Tiger has sold some of his hand-screened t-shirts at various craft fairs in Orange County. Likewise, Hannah has set up several of her own booths at craft fairs, and at some school-sponsored events like UCI Wayzgoose where UCI clubs are welcomed to set up a table in Aldrich Park to entice prospective members to join. Unfortunately, DIY was not included in the Wayzgoose brochure this year, despite Hannah having signed up and paid for a reserved spot. DIY had been forgotten; just another bump in the road for first year clubs, but Hannah managed to set up a table anyways. Her table displayed hand-made headbands, barrettes, retro cards, t-shirts, and buttons that they were hoping to sell in order to put more money towards club supplies. They also put out manila envelopes, ribbon, old photos, buttons, glue, and scissors with hopes that students passing by would be inspired to make their own cards. At the end of the day, a hearty amount of the card-making supplies were gone, as well as a respectable amount of projects that were for sale. Overall, it was a successful craft day.

Though fun and entertainment is always welcome at DIY meetings and events, Hannah, Tiger, and Melissa take crafting very seriously. They want people to recognize the craft movement, and vision their club as an established art force. To them, crafting is more than a hobby, and one of Hannah’s biggest fears about the club is that people perceive them as a group that glues macaroni pieces to card stock. They want more people to regularly attend craft fairs, where they frequent their own craft booths, and appreciate people’s ability to make beautiful creations from scratch. Further, they do not recognize a distinguishing separation between arts and crafts. Melissa says, “Craft making is a kind of art form. We take it very seriously, and our projects are artsy. I mean, people make hair barrettes and get really into it like it’s their own piece of art they want to make perfect. Craft making is just a different way of making art.”

Hannah also gets irked by those who do not appreciate the hard work and skill that is put into making art. While some people switch their major to art with hopes for an easier work load, Hannah rebuts, “What, do they think art is going to be easier, NO!” She even wrote a paper in one of her art classes about UCI’s art buildings being completely separated from the rest of the school buildings. She finds it ironic that while all the other major’s buildings are linked by a circle, students must take a bridge to reach the art buildings all the way on the other side of campus. Is there a reason the art rooms are separated from all the others?

With their first year coming to a close Hannah, Tiger, and Melissa have new ideas for next year that are intended to make the club even more successful. Rather than planning meetings solely by themselves, they are holding club elections to vote for a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, history recorder (takes pictures at meetings and documents craft ideas), ideas person, and advertising liaison (someone to popularize DIY through posters). With all the position requests turned in, Tiger reveals that everyone will pretty much get the position they want, or at least be involved in the planning somehow. Along with DIY “officers”, Hannah has new event ideas to liven up the DIY club, like a 24 hour knit-a-thon where everyone is invited to watch movies and knit all day and all night. Is there a prize for the longest scarf? Maybe. In essence, Hannah works hard to ensure the survival of her club upon her graduation. She says, “My vision for this club is to just become an established art force. I just really want people to recognize this movement, this craft movement that’s going on right now, and participate in it.” after reminiscing about the first year of DIY under her belt, sometimes handmade.

8 hours of meeting observations
lengthy interview with the group founders
3 smeller interviews with group members
2 hours observation at craft fair
craft research through 3 UCI data basis'

*Photos by Tiger Souvannakoumane

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dorm Reeducation and the Green Campus program

By Tristan Schlotz

At the UCI Vendor Faire, everyone's trying to sell something. A pack of ethnic clubs will try to sell you Korean barbecue or tasty boba drinks, a pod of Christian Crusaders can sell you peace of mind, frats and sororities set up camp on couches and blast music, trying to sell you a good time. Not many groups, however, can offer what Green Campus has for sale. The Green Campus Program is a statewide organization run under the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), which maintains chapters in fourteen UC's and CSU's, as well as three community colleges. Doubtless more popular in cities not renowned as bastions of conservatism and comfort, Green Campus at UCI faces a number of unique challenges. Though the city of Irvine and the University are both extremely ecologically responsible as a result of the high property values and comfort and stability of the city, the people of Orange County and the students at UCI are some of the most indifferent towards green issues. Still, this determined cell, comprised of some 15 core members, perseveres. At a Green Campus booth open during Earth Week 2010, Green Campus sold sensible aluminum water bottles and gave away reusable canvas grocery bags in trade to anyone who brought to their booth 10 or more plastic grocery sacks. While other booths sold food or god or the promise of sin, Green Campus sold, simply, the future.

It’s Wednesday, April 21st, halfway through Week Four of Spring Quarter at UCI. Last week was Earth Week; a frenzy of organization, tabling, sign-making, and panel-holding. This week is the comedown, a brief respite before a return to normalcy. Typically, Green Campus works by speaking to students and administrators, working to keep UCI informed and up-to-date on the latest in Green Technology and energy-saving strategies. During Earth Week, though, Green Campus was aggressively active on Ring Road - distributing flyers, and holding daily green events. This week though, they're all tuckered out. The hung over do-gooders start to trickle in at around 6:05, coming in ones or twos until maybe nine people occupy the too-large classroom in SSLH. The room is almost entirely silent. A ceiling fan drones loudly, muffling the idle chatter diligently made by Henna Pithia, a paid intern of Green Campus and majordomo to the club’s Team Leader, Cynthia Leung. Henna sits at the front of the classroom, in one of the student desks, angled slightly so she can speak to the rest of the crowd scattered in the some 40 seats which the classroom accommodates. Henna asks a few of the club members, who she knows by name, about midterms and about parties scheduled later that week. She is killing time until the pizza arrives. When Kelly Li arrives, maybe 20 minutes late, carrying a stack of pizza boxes, she is met with a brief stir as her fellow students shuffle up and begin to pick at the pizzas, pulling away a couple of slices and, in the end, eating maybe half of the product. Kelly asks Henna to make sure Cynthia gets the receipt for their evening’s meal, and then rushes out.

When the meeting begins in earnest it is maybe 6:30. Henna apologizes that Cynthia can’t come this week, and that most of the other interns are busy today. She promises that tonight’s dorm education will go off without a hitch, and begins a brief lecture about the tools used in office audits before reminding her audience that, on May 8th, the group is going to visit Tanaka Farms; a local organic strawberry farm that offers tours and the opportunity for visitors to harvest their own fruit. Her audience desultorily voices interest, but she seems genuinely excited. She shows the club members a tool called a kill-a-watt which is used to gauge the energy consumed by any piece of electronics plugged into it. The kill-a-watt slots into the wall outlet like a surge protector would. It has a matching plug input on the front, along with a small LED screen which gives the readout. Simply plug an electronic device into the front of the kill-a-watt and it will give back to you the object's energy information. A hair blow-dryer uses 1.3 kilowatts of energy a second; your cell phone charger uses .4 kilowatts per second. The lesson of the kill-a-watt is that every object in your house uses energy, whether it's in use or not. Every object in your house which draws energy from the wall holds these charges, which are called Phantom Loads and amount to about 5% of your monthly energy bill.

Henna’s club members and the interns she directs will need to know how to operate this device and how to explain the lesson of phantom loads when she starts her office audits this summer. “It’s really fun to use,” Henna says, “I took it around my house last weekend.” Her club members believe it. Henna Pithia has worked very hard to integrate the teachings she took away from Green Campus into her everyday life. Her bedroom in the apartment in VDC she shares with her roommates provides a perfect example of how to "live" green. According to Pithia, her laptop and her speakers are both energy efficient. She relies mostly on natural light in her bedroom, so her desk lamp doesn't see much use. She's not sure about her printer, though. "It was a gift from my father," she explains. All her electronics are plugged into a single power strip beneath her desk. According to Pithia, she turns the strip off every time she leaves the apartment, in order to save energy. "In my bathroom, all my toiletries are eco-friendly. My face-wash, my deodorant, my toothpaste, and my makeup are all organic. The soap I use to wash my dishes with, I got it from Trader Joe’s. My laundry detergent is also eco-friendly."

After the meeting, when most of the group goes home, four volunteers stay behind. They are preparing for tonight's dorm education event. Together, they walk to the Greyhaven Study Lounge in Middle Earth. The group arrives a few minutes early. One of the interns, an energetic freshman named Kimi Le, runs to gather up any freshmen in the hall, while Dawny Kim, Henna Pithia, and Irene Long move the furniture so all the chairs and couches face to one side, converting the room into a makeshift classroom. They hold a few improvised props: a large piece of construction paper, a plastic water bottle, a sack full of tantalizing prizes.

Kimi returns, bringing with her ten freshmen, who colonize the couches and look expectantly towards the front, where Henna starts the ball rolling with an icebreaker. She introduces herself, states her major, and confesses her biggest Green sin: she likes to take long showers. One by one the people in the room introduce themselves, and then the show begins. Henna's interns cover water etiquette, ("Try to take the five-minute shower challenge. Each minute you spend in the shower uses four gallons of water and the average 20-minute shower wastes enough water for a person to live for a week"), recycling, ("Target and whole foods will give you a discount if you bring your own bag, this is important because plastic bags take oil to make, and we need to save oil"), and computers. ("You can set your computer homepage to blackle.com if you want to save a little energy; it's just like Google, only the black background uses less energy.")

According to Cynthia Leung, Green Campus paid intern and Team Leader, the club has three big focuses: "we save energy, we try to do education and raise awareness, and we do workforce engagement". Leung, a third-year Quantitative Economics major, lives to live green. She claims that she grew up saving energy and water, and has translated most of those childhood habits into her work for Green Campus."I grew up green – my stepfather would always be like ‘turn off that light’ and I’d be like ‘no I need it right now’ and he’d always be on my case about recycling. We started last year an at-home compost bin." She told me "I don’t think of Green Campus as a job. I’ve even made my boyfriend to go green." Programs like the dorm education events form the cornerstone of the education-awareness campaign, while quarterly projects for the Green Campus interns fulfill their more direct goals.

According to Leung, UCI Green Campus holds a somewhat federal structure. At the lowest level of integration are the club members, and people on the Green Campus listserv. These people attend meetings, and help out the interns. There are approximately 110 people on the Green Campus listserv, which sends out a monthly newsletter and club announcements. When asked how many "regular" club members attended Green Campus meetings, Henna replied, "around six." Green Campus maintains four for-credit interns, and four for-pay interns. The for-credit interns assist the for-pay interns, who each have their own Green projects to complete on a quarterly basis.

In the Fall, for example, Cynthia Leung conducted an extensive audit of all science labs in the Natural Science buildings in order to conduct a competition between all science schools, to monitor fume hood waste. With the data collected from those science labs, she was able to extrapolate energy consumption in science labs for all the physical and biological sciences, and chemical engineering labs. Each such lab contains several fume hoods, devices designed to draw from the air toxic chemicals released into the air from science experiments. When not in use, Fume Hoods are supposed to be closed, so they don't continue to draw air out of the room, wasting energy. Leung spoke to TA's of lab courses and raised awareness on Fume Hood waste, and conducted a competition where the school that had saved the most energy by changing their fume hood policies would win a pizza party. "Our goal was to normalize that behavior of shutting the sash." She said. At the end of the quarter she was able to collect new data in order to gauge the effectiveness of her hard work. When asked who had won the pizza party, she replied that the results were "still tabulating."

But Cynthia's work requires she speak to more than just chemistry students. "To save energy it’s less student outreach and more the administration. We talk a lot to Wendell Brase and his assistant Anne Kreighoff. They’re both huge advocates for going green; they’re always looking for the next step. Wendell will have ideas and he’ll come to us because we have the manpower. Like he’ll come up and say ‘I think we should stop selling water bottles on campus’ or ‘I think we should start a Styrofoam ban’ which we actually did there’s no Styrofoam in food sales anymore."

The administration of UC Irvine and Green Campus seem to be a perfect match. According to an April 2010 study by the Princeton Review, UCI is one of the top 286 "Green Colleges" in the nation. It claims about UCI that "As a member of the University of California system, UC Irvine adopted a Policy of Green Building Design and Clean Energy Standards back in 2003 in order to promote environmentally conscious construction and fixtures on campus." The document lists as some of UCI's accomplishments "In line with this, UC—Irvine has determined that all new construction on campus must seek LEED Silver certification at minimum. In fact, five buildings on campus have achieved LEED Gold." and that "UC Irvine is currently installing a 1.2 megawatt DC solar power system, which is 'expected to produce more than 24 million kilowatt hours (equivalent to offsetting 25.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide) over 20 years.'" The LEED certification system, (LEED standing for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,) is designed to cut back on CO2 emissions and energy waste in building design and operation, and was established by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) to provide third-party verification that a building is eco-friendly.

Students at UCI work on a Green Campus, and the evidence of the Green ideology is all around us. Still, Green Campus faces challenges in making Irvine reach its conservationist potential. Dawny Kim, a second year computer science major, and for-credit intern at UCI, says that the biggest challenge facing Green Campus is not the administration, but Southern California culture. "Irvine was one of the first cities to hop on board the Green Movement in the 1980’s, but the culture is very much 'do what you want.'"

Green Campus tries a variety of strategies to burst the "Irvine bubble". In 2009, the group won the prestigious Anteater Award for "Best Educational Club on Campus". They operate a website updated monthly, and work on videos like the "Phantom Hunter". Produced in 2006, the video (available on Google Video), shows students in the Humboldt State branch of Green Campus, enter the house of a typical student and hunt for energy waste. The video is highly tongue in cheek; the plucky lead character, (doing a very bad Steve Irwin impression,) stalks the halls of her bemused subjects, aggressively monologuing about the "natural habitat" of an energy waster, and ways to improve the habitat to make it more responsible. She replaces light bulbs, unplugs the TV, and places a large jug full of sand in the bathroom toilet tank. She promises that you'll save "THIS MUCH water with each flush!" and gestures wildly. The video is designed to make learning about power saving fun, and is often incorporated into Green Campus lectures and club meetings. Their monthly newsletter, constructed by Green Campus interns and published on their website, is designed to keep the interested reader up-to-date and excited about Green goings-on around campus. Their April 2010 issue provides information about Green Campus events during Earth Week, in an article entitled "Let the Festivities Begin!" and publishes the names of the new interns selected for Green Campus staff. "For-Credit Interns Make the World go Round". The website, designed to inform, contains a detailed calendar of Green Campus events as well as an interactive guide to the "Green" dorm room, where organic bed sheets are neatly tucked onto twin-long mattresses, the thermostat is turned off, and all the appliances are energy*star certified.

As her Dorm Education session draws to a close, Henna Pithia gamely tries to get her pupils excited by engaging them with a pop quiz game. She asks the room at large an open question, and threatens them with prizes, if they guess correctly. "What are Phantom Loads?" She asks the crowd of maybe 10 students on chairs and couches who stare dumbly back at her. A student timidly raises her hand and replies "They're energy charges that are given by appliances that are not in use." The student wins a Smencil, a pencil that smells. Henna goes around the room, asking Green questions and getting Green answers. Once the quiz is over, and all her smencils and oversize green campus tees are distributed, she asks the students to sign a large piece of construction paper with My Green Promise written across the top. She wraps it up. "The Green movement requires a cultural change and the fight starts with all of you." She gestures to the crowd, who file out, looking relieved.

The grassroots politicians of Green Campus don't care about your roller derbies or about throwing wild parties. Their numbers are few and their methods are incremental, but they soldier on. The keystone of the Green movement is militant mobilization and strict economic hygiene. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, or like the grain of sand that one day becomes a pearl, Green Campus hopes someday to do with a lot with a little. Lifestyles must change, standards must be upheld. They can offer little in the way of tangible, immediate results; but it would be a mistake to assume these club members are helpless. On the contrary, they are empowered more than any other students. Through persistence, hard work, and a serious, calculating mind shall the Green inherit the Earth.

Reporting Log:
2 hours, Lengthy Interviews with Cynthia Leung and Henna Pithia
15 minutes Shorter interview with Dawnie Kim
3 hours of observation at club meetings
30 minutes observation of a Dorm Education event
Green Campus website
Green Campus Newsletter
Princeton Review document "Green Colleges"
Google Video: The Phantom Hunters
Green Campus Interactive Dorm Room
USGBC Website

POW WOW: The American Indian Student Association: A small club at UCI, with a big community across the country.

It is 9:47 A.M. on a Saturday morning in late May. The Mesa parking lot is full of massive white trailers and trucks with a variety of license plates ranging from Arizona and New Mexico, to Washington State. The skies are partly cloudy with a humidity of 64% and the wind blowing southwest at 9 MPH at the Mesa field at the University of California Irvine. The POWWOW staff, vendors, drummers, and dancers are all done setting up their booths, hoping for the sun to chase the clouds away.

The UCI powwow is the largest in Orange County. People of all colors walked towards the sounds of heavily beaten drums. There was large dirt of hump that separated the Mesa Parking Lot from the Mesa Court Field, and ahead were red, white, and blue canopies on the crisply cut and freshly watered green grass that stretched 54,405.5 square feet. There was an outer and inner circle of canopies. The outer circle of 24 canopies was for the vendors, selling all types of traditional Indian items, such as, jewelry, clothing, dream catchers, music, books and food. The inner circle of 18 canopies consisted of the different groups and their stations, they were the drummers.

The term “powwow” is derived from the Narargansett word pauwau, which originally referred to curing ceremonies. The term soon passed into English as a word referring to any Indian gathering or as a verb meaning “to confer in council”. In Indian Country, it came to mean a “secular event featuring group singing and social dancing by men, women, and children.”

Powwows are not just inter-tribal social gatherings; powwows are a way of life that embraces diverse Native cultures and reaches across national borders, as well as political, social, cultural, spiritual, and ideological boundaries. At powwows, Native people pay homage to past, present, and future generations of Native Americans from all tribes through music, dance, giveaways, naming, and other ceremonies. In the past, powwows were hosted by a single community; now they create a physical and spiritual circle in which many tribes may share their traditions, languages, songs, dances, foods, jokes, and blessings. Perhaps most importantly, powwows represent cultural survival and the perseverance to celebrate and maintain Native identity into the 21st century.

The UCI American Indian Student Association is a cultural, social, community service, and political student organization. One of the original founding organizations of the UCI Cross-Cultural Center in 1974, AISA is still an active and outspoken student club on campus. Because Native students are a minority on the Irvine campus, it is AISA’s mission to give these students a voice and to educate UCI students about Native issues. There are 10 regular members, Phillip Yu is the treasurer of their organization. He says that AISA is “ a gathering place for Native Americans... for me I view it as a place for Native Americans to gather, a safe place so that they know that they have somewhere that they can go to if they want. We try to do outreach programs to make it aware to other Native American students who are not in college yet so that they know that if they go to college there are people to help take care of you and hang out with. Also to make other students on campus aware of Native American issues because a lot of that is hush hush and just to make the Native American presence bigger on campus. It says that there are 1% of Native Americans on campus, but there is really less and they just rounded up”.

Although Phillip is treasurer of AISA, he is not of Native American blood, along with 7 others. The President and Vice president are the only members who are Native American. The Non-Native Americans all joined the group for the same reason because as Phillip says, they “see a need for it, to get more Native Americans on campus to make it a more diverse campus. There tons of Asians, Caucasians, a few African Americans, and rarely do you see Native Americans because sometimes they look like Latinos and they usually associate themselves as Latinos. They’re more urbanized Native Americans because they view themselves more as Mexican, Hispanic, etc.”
Phillip is extremely enthusiastic about AISA, “we are like a big family, I’m so glad I joined this club, there is no drama everyone is amazing. Two of the members are dating, but that’s not even a problem, it was funny because we just had no idea about it until way after they were dating. We’re all really close, which is another good thing about the club because we want people to be part of our family! We’re so small compared to those clubs that are 200+, we would like to have more members so that it can keep going on”. He would love for more people to join, Native American or not. He comments on why the club would be interesting to someone who wasn’t Native American:

“I guess the interesting part is just to learn about these people that were here before anyone else came along and to find out about the situation they’re in and learn about their culture. Everyone, even me, think like ‘Oh they live in teepees, they smoke marijuana in the big pipes, they say hao and they have super red skin, and it turns out they don’t have red skin, and buffalo was just part of their daily diet like people eat beef. People should join the club to see the real Native Americans, there are way too many stereotypes. One thing I learned is that I thought that they were all rich from casinos, when in fact they actually aren’t because it’s really hard to prove that you have Native American blood, and 1/8th is the minimum. There’s a form you fill out, unless you were born into it, and it should show on your birth certificate to find out your ancestry. You have to be a part of that certain tribe. I found out that back in the day, the goal of the government was to kill off Native Americans. They had boarding schools specifically for native Americans, they took the kids away so that they couldn’t learn the language, hear the stories, so they were brought up to hate themselves for being native Americans. In California, they would pay people to bring in the scalp of Native Americans, it only stopped in the 1990s. This is only a little tiny bit of information that I learned from being in AISA, it’s not only for Native American blood to learn, but all other ethnicities to expand their learning”.

Even though AISA is a small group, they usually have about one event per quarter, but the powwow is by far the biggest event of the year. Phillip says that planning for the powwow is pretty much a 24/7 process. Throughout the year they have to stay in contact with performers, vendors, answering phone calls & e-mails, selecting out of a big pool of dancers to choose who the head staff is. They want people that help out in the community and are good examples of what a true Native American is, giving them a good image. During the year, AISA has to advertise to the community about the powwow through New U, OC weekly, and going around locally to hand out fliers. Gifts for the head staff (dancers, mc, drummers) are important to select. Raising money for the club is difficult since they are such a small club. “We try to sell cookies and do bake sales and we’re going to try to sell Boba too. We usually hit up places to get donated money; Albertsons donates food to us for our events. Last year we were all brand new at this, the Officers/Chair were first years, so we weren’t as organized for fundraising, but we still made money at the end just a little bit, so basically were going to make as much money as possible and to fund everything that were trying to do because we have to pay our performers and we have to pay the school for “renting the field” and not water the lawn”.

At every powwow, bird singing starts the day off. The phrase bird singing throws many people off. You would think that bird singing would just be a bunch of birds chirping away, it has more meaning than that. A line of semi-large dark skinned men began playing their small hand drums while singing to stylistically mimic bird singing, as well as singing about birds, while everyone gathered in front of them and danced.

After the bird singing, the endless drumming and dancing began.

The drum contest lasted both days of the powwow, it is one of the biggest events at every powwow, the winner of the contest would win $500. Before a performance by Sacred Wind, the drummers placed tobacco on top of their drums and closed their eyes.

“We must give an offering to our drum, tobacco is important to us and it is our sacrifice to her. We treat our drums like we would treat our ladies”, says Korey Curley, a Navajo from Arizona, cousin of a drummer on Sacred Wind.
“The drum is recognized as the ‘heartbeat of our people’, it is the central feature to the Pow Wow, or any other Native American Gathering. At Pow Wow, each drum comes prepared with a repertoire of as many as 200 songs. It is divided into Northern and Southern styles, the listener and judges will notice singing which differs in tempo, pitch, song, configuration, and style”.

There were over 20 vendors, one of most well-known, as well as oldest, is Juan Thornbush who sells silver and turquoise jewelry. When asked about how he started out doing business at powwows, he began his childhood story.

“I have been going to powwows since I was in the womb. My mother’s parents had been making jewelry since they were teenagers. As a toddler, I would travel all over the west coast with my family to powwows. I was constantly around them as they were making jewelry, when I was old enough, they allowed me to help them polish the jewelry before it was put out on display. I fell in love with the intricate designs my grandfather etched onto his silver jewelry and I asked if he could teach me. My grandfather complied and I started working as his apprentice, learning how to melt the silver at the ideal temperatures to mold and to etch, how to set the turquoise into the silver, how to cut the turquoise into flowers and other beautiful objects and designs”

As he grew older and older, he started doing more of the jewelry making and they switched roles as his grandfather started watching him, until it was completely 100% him making all of the jewelry.

Since he had been to over thousands of powwows, he explains how the powwow has changed throughout the decades.

“There are many slight differences, but the main change is the lack of respect for the regalia from the dancers who wear them. The regalia is a ceremonial clothing worn to honor the powwow. Nowadays, the people who wear them run around with them as if they were everyday clothing, which is not how they should be treated. They should wear them with honor.”

There were over 27 dancers, ages ranging from 2-72 years old, dressed in traditional Native American Regalia. Regalia is the traditional attire, it is not a costume because it has more meaning than a costume, it is a unique expression of spirit , often compromised of heirlooms and other articles handmade by family and friends, or even handed down generation to generation. The regalia consisted of breastplate chokers, war bonnets, dance bustles, ceremonial fans, and buckskin war shirts. These regalia are made out of leather, bone, horse hair, feathers, and other Native American natural materials, all genuine and home-made from scratch.

Seven-year-old Starr Begay, is a good example of what Juan said about respect. Starr is dancer, she was wearing a purple jingle dress with metal cones and a bright green and orange shall and a feather braided into her hair says “I love going to all the powwows with my mommy and grandma, they always tell me ‘stop running around in your regalia’”, she yells in her mimicking voice, “ I want to run around with the other little kids because while we don’t dance we want to do something.”

Along with traditional dancing, they had Azteca dancing, being the last performance of the powwow. Phillip says they “ bring out the cultural stuff, art jewelry and dance, this year we had azteca dance perfomers come. Aztecs are not exctinct! They are alive and living here. I was surprised, and theres still myans too! They dance with feathers”.

The Aztecs are native to mexico. Their dancing was different than the rest because they were very quick movements, fast drum beats, and the men they wore Lion cloths and very feathery headdresses. The women wear dresses along with even more spectacular headdresses.

There are powwows every weekend from November throughout May in the Southwest and all of Southern California. “You’ll see a lot of different cultural stuff there like bird singers to bless the field, drum competitions for northern and southern styles, the difference is that one is more high pitched than the others, vendors that sell native American handmade jewelry, clothes, beaded work”. Powwows are an “overall a great experience to have in your entire life, definitely put it on your bucket list to go to one”, suggests Phillip. “My favorite part of powwows are the basket weaving, it’s one of the arts and crafts that are available to children, but adults can do it too. American Indians make their baskets by hand and it’s fun learning how they do it.”

AISA is full of dedicated and hard working students. They put a lot of time and effort into everything they do. Although they only have ten members, they put in as much work as clubs that have hundreds of members. Being a small group could be an advantage, they all know each other so well and they are like a family. They love each other and are there for one another. All of their hard work and planning throughout the year was worth all of the hard work. Over 20 vendors, 80 drummers, 30 dancers, and about half a thousand people attended the powwow. A small group can do big things.

Reporting Log
Attended/Observed 3 Wednesday meetings at Cross Cultural Center
10 hour observation of Powwow
1.5 hour interview with Phillip Yu, AISA treasurer
30 minute interview with Juan Thornbush, attender/vendor at powwows
30 minute interview with Korey Curley, regular attender at powwows

UCI AISA website
UCI American Indian Resource Program
UCI AISA Facebook
UCI 7th Annual Powwow Youtube

Black Student Union -- Standing in Solidarity

by Justine Wang

It is May 19th, 12:00 pm—just a sunny Wednesday. It seems like another typical Wednesday—except it wasn’t. Gathered at the Student Terrace near the student center are fellow black students of UCI. Some of them come and go from 11-2 every Wednesday—Black Wednesdays—to represent the people of their ethnicity and show the rest of the school that there is a black presence on campus—just by sitting together in the student center. As I sit with four other black students at a table and watch one of the girls in a pink shirt hand out cupcakes to the other members, talking and laughing together, I am struck with admiration by the resolute way in which this group of people—the Black Student Union—has stuck together and stood strong in their identity to show the world who they are, the way they are. These students continue to still stand together as they face discrimination and injustice and they let those hurts fuel them rather than discourage them towards fighting for social justice.

The Black Student Union (made up of about 200 people with at least 50 active members) gather every Monday at 5:00 pm in the Cross-Cultural Center. The people come from different places—be it different homes, origins, or different emotional states—and they all have different personalities but they all have one thing in common to unite them all: their race. BSU has long been an uplifting support system for black students on campus and a place for them to discuss issues and events—past or present—that influence (or have influenced) the community. It officially started in 1971 due to the amount of racism experienced by black students, who ended up growing more passionate about getting their respect as they continued to face discrimination. BSU has brought awareness to black history and the hurts they have or are still going through and has also been a welcoming environment that some have come to call "home."

Throughout this school year, BSU has held many discussions about ongoing issues, such as what the prison industrial complex is or how changes to the Welfare Reform Act have affected the black community. The prison industrial complex involves the companies that donate to and fund UCI that are actually private companies that get contracts from the government to build more prisons—they are against the fact that some of our tuition fees goes towards supporting the prison industrial complex. The Welfare Reform Act had been modified in the 1990’s so that many welfare programs in the United States were cut down so that there were more requirements in order for people to be covered by welfare. Also, the black students on campus have been advocating a list of demands (http://democratizeeducation.wordpress.com/) for which they have been fighting for. The list entails the changes they believe are important to see on campus—all of them working towards bringing an end to racist, sexist, and other prejudiced practices.

Attending the meetings, I've found how different the environment is when I'm with these people. There are many deeper ways in which they have been hurt by people of different ethnicities and background—stereotypes and prejudging leaves a lasting impression and is difficult to forget. Being a black student on campus is “not really hostile...but there'll be instances where people will make a couple comments or remarks about something that they don't really think through” explains Charlene Kaloki, a freshman who currently lives in Mesa and was originally born in Kenya. “I've had someone in my hall ask me what a certain phrase meant and I said ‘I don’t know, why do you think I would know?’ and he said ‘Oh, because you're ghetto.’ And I was just like...you don't even know where I come from or know anything about me but you've already prejudged me and already put me in a certain category.”

As I walk into one of their Monday meetings on May 3, one of the members Jon Stephens, decked out in red basketball shorts, a white t-shirt, and a baseball cap worn backwards, sits down next to me and greets me, “Hey, it’s you again! The reporter girl.” I smile back at him and watch people trickle in.

There are six tables set up in a big rectangle and we all sat down, facing each other. Dr. James Cones from the UCI Counseling Center sat down, facing the rest of us. He conducts the “What’s Going On” for BSU, a space for the students to talk about what is going on in the community and to discuss any issues that may be around. These get-togethers happened twice a quarter this 2009-2010 school year. This time, they came to discuss racial issues regarding the conference of African Black Coalition that Yudof, president of the UCs, held in UC Riverside this year. The conference consisted of 600 students from all UCs, all with the goal of advocating success of black students on UC campuses, questioning Yudof about racial and diversity issues.

Once we all sat down, we got up again to recite “Standing in the River” – an African poem that focuses on the themes of community and wisdom. During the actual discussion, many students voiced their negative views on Yudof. “Moo” Malone feels that “he's running the UCs like a business, like, he's privatizing it – like it's not about being able to afford an education. Basically the master plan was to be able to have people be able to afford education and that's not the case anymore – it's just getting really expensive and I just don't feel like he cares about education. So...a lot of people just criticize him because he could probably be doing better and it doesn't seem like he really values the education of access for all.”

Also, it is remarkable the ways in which the black students who have a passion for the cause stand in solidarity with each other and continue to stand strong as they represent the black community to the rest of the population of UCI—especially seen on Black Wednesdays. Charlene also said that “being a black student here makes you wanna work even harder so you can increase the population of black students at UCI so people will be more exposed and more open to accepting people of a different race and not necessarily judge you by certain stereotypes.”

On February 17, during Black History Month, some fraternity students at UCSD threw a party off-campus to mock Black History Month. This event is known as the “Compton Cookout.” The students wore cheap clothes and chains and would “make up big words to say,” ‘Moo’ Malone explains. “They told the guys to make sure to sag their pants...It was super offensive.” They also mocked black women and wore gold on their teeth and some even donned a KKK mask. Many black students were aroused by this mocking and stood together resolutely.

Furthermore, the black students show their steadfast unity through all the protests and rallies during this 2009-2010 school year. ‘Moo’ Malone, a 3rd year black student (International Studies major) says the BSU played a huge role in gathering as many people to rally so that there could be a solid black presence. On Wednesday, February 24th, 17 students were arrested for gathering outside of the Chancellor’s office on the 5th floor of Aldrich Hall and chanting despite warnings from the police that they were engaging in an illegal activity. Their hearings are currently being held from May 26 - June 2 and to support one another, many students—black or not—gathered with the arrested in the waiting room of the 3rd floor Student of Dean’s office to show support and stand in solidarity with all of them. One of them thanked me as I sat down at 10 am for being there—“when we come out, it’d be nice to see a bunch of people who are supporting us and waiting for us outside here,” she said.

On top of the arrests and protests, the black students also set up a Town Hall meeting (March 1, at the HIB 100) to address the increasing racial tensions. They had Chancellor Drake and a few police there as well. Malone explains “We ended up talking just about how the police were treating the protestors at the UCLA rallies and how no one said anything about it, because I had friends who were getting tazed and beaten up just because they were on the front lines. We just wanted to ask what the administration is going to do for us because there's a lot of people who are hurting.” Two days after the meeting, about 50 students taped duct tape over their mouths with the words “Do UC U’s?” written on it and stood in front of the Student Center, linking arms, standing in a line and remained silent from 11:30 – 12:30 pm. The Compton Cookout was a huge reason for this protest and at 12:30 pm, they laid on the ground to play dead as an act of their protest, since it is symbolic of the sufferings they have gone through. BSU was present for the most part and spread awareness.

Going through and observing BSU meetings and events, the theme of standing in solidarity and showing the rest of the world that there is a black presence on campus was always present. What else can anyone do in the tough fight for social justice?

Reporting Log
- Attending all Monday meetings and observing
- Stopping by on Black Wednesday to hang out and chat with people
- Interview with Charlene Kaloki (freshmen) and Hiu-Ling (‘Moo’) Malone (3rd year)
- Attending hearings to show support and observing more of their standing in solidarity together
- Researching Compton Cookout, etc.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Korean Campus Crusade For Christ : The Light of Christ on UCI campus

By Michael Kim

It is a warm sunny day and UC Irvine’s campus is full of activity. There are bake sales and barbeque sales occupying all over campus hoping to raise some money for their organization that they are part of. One of the stands represents KCCC, which stands for Korean Campus Crusade for Christ, who are hoping to make some money through their Korean barbeque sale to support their Christian club on UCI campus. Unlike any other clubs on campus, KCCC members have a dedicated and even hardcore mindset that tells them that their main objective and goal as a Christian student is to spread the message of the gospel throughout UCI campus. Hoon sung, one of the club members says “We want the students to know that God is not a made up fantasy. We want to reveal the existence of God through the message of the gospels and our prayers. Our ultimate goal is to create Christian revival on campus.”

Unique History
Korean Campus Crusade for Christ is a campus Christian club/organization that functions very similar to a regular Christian church that people go to on Sundays. KCCC has come a long way since the program started in 1958 by Joon Gon Kim. According to the www.kccc.usa.com and the staff members of the UCI KCCC members, Christian Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) was originally founded by Bill and Vonett Bright at University of California Los Angeles. A young man named Joon Gon Kim who was a UCLA student at the time, met Bill Bright and Joon was inspired by Bill Bright vision of training and sending college students to share Jesus Christ when they graduate from college. Eventually Joon goes back to South Korea and starts the first oversea branch of CCC.

Birth of KCCC.
America had a lot of Campus Crusade for Christ clubs working on college campuses in the 70s but back then it didn’t do well on reaching out to international students on their campuses. Therefore, In the 70s, the members of the CCC in South Korea saw the need on US campuses to reach the cross cultural group of Korean Americans and international students. In 1982, Yong Won Kang, a CCC member, starts a non-profit organization called Korean CCC in America. They held conferences which were attended by thousands of college students. However, KCCC in America was mostly happening in the Northeast of the United States. So thousands of miles away in California, another CCC member named Don Whan kim, started campus movements targeting Korean American students in California Universities. One by one Korean Campus Crusade for Christ members began to form Christian Clubs on College Campuses in California. Today, there are 25 colleges with KCCC in California but these are the UC schools with KCCC: UCLA, University of California San Diego, University of California Santa Barbara, University of California Davis, University of California Riverside, University of California Berkeley, and UC Irvine. Their mission and goal stated on Bill Brights Campus Crusade for Christ: The renewal of Evangelicalism and postwar America, on Academic Search Complete and also on www.kcccla.com

To introduce Jesus Christ to every tribe in every nation
To help Christians to mature into Christ-like lifestyle of faith, fruitfulness, and abundance
To equip Christians to witness in the Spirit and become multiplying disciplesSo that we can actively..Help fulfill the Great Commission by turning lost students into Christ-centerred laborers

Present day, KCCC at UCI welcomes everyone regardless of race. Although they are not one of the popular clubs on campus, the members are still determined to continue on Bill Bright’s vision which is to convince people to live a Christ centered lives.

I wanted to reveal KCCC because KCCC is not only a place to worship God but it is a place to experience Korean culture because more than half of the members are Korean immigrants. The food they serve, the language they speak, their sense of humor, hobbies they love to do, were all very Korean. One of their favorite dish that they like to make is called grilled Kimchi and sam gup sal. Sam gyup sal is Korean Bacon used mostly for Korean BBQ but is not widely known in America. They also grill Kimchi(red spicy cabbage) and serve it with sam gyup sal. This is the most favorite dish among the Koreans more than Kal-Bi (Korean short ribs commonly known in the US). According to KCCC, they get about 50 visitors each year and only a few remain as a member. But student come mostly to experience Korean culture. So next time you receive Kalbi from a KCCC Korean BBQ stand, remember that the KCCC members never sell sam gyup sal on campus because they want it for themselves.

Busy Schedule
Their schedule consists of daily morning prayers by the flag pole, two prayer meetings every Monday and Tuesday, Thursday, Church service also known as Open chapel every Thursday, group prayer meeting every Wednesday. And finally there is a Church service at LA called Gethsemane at 9 P.M to 1 A.M every friday. The Gethsemane service got its name because it is suppose to represent that the service is for spiritual recovery. Just like Jesus Christ went up to Gethsemane(garden where Jesus went to prayed to God a day before his cruxifiction) and prayed to God who communicated as well as relaxed Christ’s spiritual fatigue, Gethsemane service is for the members to come and relax by praying after a hard week of worship and their life activities.

Top of all that, they need to fulfill their daily events or they call it “duties”. Their job is to go out every Tuesday through Friday around 11 am to walk around campus to preach the gospel to any unoccupied students. Amazed and stunned by their weekly schedule, I begin to get curious about the source that fires up these Christians to participate in this crazy schedule. What is inspiring these students to be so passionate about carrying out their duties? My search for answers began in their open chapel services.

Open chapel:
As I walked into the ES3 building located next to the science library, I heard nothing but loud guitars, drums, and electric piano echoing, vibrating, and shaking the walls of the building. The music was praise songs that sounded soothing but loud at the same time. Entering through the entrance, I was greeted by Jenny Choi, the leader of the welcoming newcomer party. She is in charge of welcoming the new comers to the open chapel. “Hi, my name is Jenny, how did you find out about KCCC?” Jenny greeted. Jenny, who is shorter than a typical Asian girl, had a lot of confidence in her facial expression as well as in her voice. She directed me to the seat where I waited about 20 minutes then Open Chapel officially started. Everyone stood up from their seat as the band in the front of the lecture hall began to play and vibrate the walls of the class with their loud church praise-songs. The clear white projection screen located in front of the lecture hall showed the lyrics to the songs so that everyone could sing along. As the song started, people began to stand up and praise. There were approximately 50 people in the lecture hall and all of them made a very unique look on their faces that people do not see everyday. The look was a mixture of gentle, angry, heart-warming, happy, dreadful, exciting, cheerful, and hopeful expressions. Jenny Choi explains, “I believe that these expressions represent a sense of security as well as relief.” Some had tears rolling down from their eyes while some others were violently jumping up and down in place as if they were jumping on a trampoline. Everyone had their eyes closed and did not seem to talk, chat, or cared about what other people were doing. One of the members, Joon Choi, started to pray so loudly that the people near him glimpsed at him. After the praising session came to an end, which lasted about 30 minutes, everyone in the room turned back to their normal selves. It was almost as if somebody turned off the HOLY MODE OFF button. They were laughing, talking, and enjoying each others company, just like typical college students that we see everyday.

The chatter amongst the members continued until a member named Jason Chu took up the microphone for his scheduled testimony speech. His voice was shaky but his face expression was tensed and confident. His eye brows were tensed up and his eyes were sharply focused to the audience while he spoke diligently, generously, confidently, with his soothing voice. “A couple of months ago, my friend, who is also a faithful and honest Christian, was diagnosed with tumor. The surgery for his tumor cost about the same as the US president’s yearly income. Not only that, even with surgery, he had a slim chance of survival..,” Said Jason. Then he paused for a second to observe the reaction of the audience. But it was obvious that he couldn’t continue on with his testimony because something was making him very emotional. After a few seconds of silence he continued on with his testimony. “…my friend had nowhere to go.. so he prayed and I prayed as well. Then something unthinkable happened. One day, his gums of his front two teeth became bumpy as if something was injected into his gums. In an effort to find out the identity of the bumpy spots of his gums, he began to scrape the surface of his gums from top to bottom with his finger nails. To his surprise, three black pellet-like objects came out from his gums. When doctor examined those pellets as well as his brain by x-ray, MRI and CAT scans, they concluded that those pellets that came out from his gums were the tumors that he had in his brain.” Right when Jason said these words, people looked not too amazed but just smiled at Jason ever so gently.

I talked to the nearby members and asked "why the reaction of the people was so mild?" Scott Chang, a sophomore majoring in public health, smiles and says “ We are more emotional rather than amazed when we hear these kind of stories. This is because we already know and believe God’s miracles, but the point is not on God’s miracle but its on the fact that God cares and thinks so highly of such insignificant beings like us.” After Jason’s testimony, everyone congratulated him on his articulate and inspiring speech that he presented to the members.

Luckily for me, I had a chance to ask Jason "why he had to pause in the middle of his testimony?" Jason looks off to the distance like one of those poets that sits on the beach mourning because they are never satisfied with their lives. Then Jason says, “the story was way too long to be told in front of people. I needed to cut it down short. But the story made me think about the pain and suffering, and that sense of despair and loneliness that my friend went through. With a slim chance of survival, he still grabbed onto his faith and prayed to God for help. God is looking for this kind of faith, faith that never dies or washes away even in a life threatening situation.” Jason’s story would be hard to believe for any non-Chrisitans. Believing the miracle of God in Jason's testimony is up to people's faith in Jason.

other than the Open Chapel there was another event that was catching my attention. “Let’s go Witnessing!” the members would often say. The members would walk around the campus and share the gospel with anyone that seems to be unoccupied. Jonathan Lee, one of the KCCC lecturers explains “We call this sharing of the gospel with total complete strangers, witnessing. It is difficult sometimes for us to reach out to strangers and talk about Jesus Christ but we still need to take the initiative to let people know about who Jesus Christ is.” At first, I didn’t get why the members had this desire to go and talk to complete strangers about religion. But I received the answers to that question when I joined Hoon sung and Andres Yu when they went out to witness. Clearly, this was my chance to get to know more about Hoon and Andres, but more importantly this was an opportunity where I can observe and ask questions about this activity. It wasn’t too long until Hoon and Andres reached their first stranger in Aldrich Park. To my surprise, the stranger named Tom was more than happy to talk about Jesus Christ. They were talking for a few minutes, but I realized something crucial about their conversations. Their conversation consisted of God’s plan for people’s lives, God’s salvation, and Jesus Christ but what was notably clear was that Hoon and Anders always talked about their little booklet called “Four Spiritual Laws” This tiny pamphlet explained 4 important laws that we need to know in order to accept Christ as our savior and become one of his children of God.

Law 1: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for you life.
Law 2: Men is sinful and separated from God. Therefore we cannot know and experience God’s love and his plan for your life.
Law 3: Jesus Christ is man’s only provision for man’s sin. Through him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for you life.
Fact 4: We must individually receive Jesus Christ as savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.

Tom seemed to admire the fact that Andres and Hoon were sharing this wonderful message to him. However, Tom just wanted to talk about religion and was not interested in accepting Christ. Sadly, Tom refused to accept Christ because he was Catholic. Hoon and Andres believe that every rejection is disappointing; however, they have no regrets because they tried their best on sharing the gospel. WHen asked about the disappointment Hoon replies, “The goal is to make people accept Christ and join our KCCC. However the point of Witnessing heavily relies upon taking the initiative and obeying to Jesus Christ who in the bible, told his tweleve disciples to share the word of God to the world.” That day, Hoon and Andres witnessed to eight people who all rejected Christ. Most people would usually refuse to talk and walk away or they would just rejected Hoon and Andres right off the back saying “No, I’m catholic” or “Sorry, I’m not interested..” or “I don’t feel like there is a need for me to believe in Christ” After this experience, I asked “What is giving you this burden to go out and witness to people who clearly do not care about God? Hoon replied “This is something that God wants, and personally, I want the campus know how wonderful God is.” After a good forty minutes of talking to stranger at Aldrich Park, this session of gospel sharing came to an end.

Perhaps this Witnessing activity can be a practice for many of the members of KCCC for their missionary trips. These trips called Missionary trip, “Missions” by short, is basically traveling to foreign countries to share the gospel. I like to think of it as witnessing to foreign countries to spread Christianity. This summer, about 25 people from KCCC are traveling to all parts of the world such as South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Mongolia, Argentina, Turkey, Philippines, China, Japan, and parts of Africa.

Life away from KCCC
The members seem like hard working people who only know how to worship God. However this is totally not true. They are the most athletic and outgoing people just like you and me. My point is, they do not worship Jesus Christ like Mayans worshiped their Gods by worshipping them in a temple day and night. KCCC guys would play soccer and basketball at least twice at the arc. After a couple of fun games of soccer and basketball, they would usually go to an all you can eat Korean BBQ restaurant. KCCC girls would go shopping or go to the beach, or bowling. The guys and the girls would often go out together to a Christian band concert where famous Christian bands like Mercy me or Casting Crowns come. Sometime the concert doesn’t have to be Christian related. They have been to a concert to go see Bi aka Rain perform.(The most widely known and perhaps the most popular Asian Pop Singer in Asia). Sometimes the guys and the girls would go to San Francisco or six flags for a road trip. So many times they are misunderstood as the 24 hours worshipping machine. From What I've seen their motto seems to be “When it is time to worship and work hard, we work hard. But when it is time to relax and have some fun, then play like regular people”

One of the fun events KCCC held was called Project Acts. These are the clips that some of the members of KCCC at Project Acts made. Project Acts was a fun KCCC event that divided the KCCC members into 6 different groups and required them to create a video clip that represented what kccc is about and what God's love is all about. The first video clip got first place decided by the judges.

According to KCCC, this clip best represents God's love for us.

Now..this clip didn't even get third place, but what they did was very creative, funny, and gave all the members a good laugh.

Opening The Door:
After living the life with the KCCC members, I wanted to touch upon the questions that I stated in the beginning paragraph of this article. How do students have a relationship with God when they cannot see him? And what is creating the desire to work for God’s world? From my experience and observation, I felt that the KCCC members gave a chance for God to show himself to them. “People never give a chance for God to reveal himself to them. That is why they cannot experience or create this relationship that Christians have. All they have to do is give God a chance.” Says Joon Choi a KCCC member and an International Studies major. Other than their work in their club, they are regular college students, trying to have fun like regular college students, but they are always keeping in mind that they need to live Christ centered lives.

Reporting Log:
- Observation of Tuesday Prayer meeting
- Observation of Open Chapel on Thursday
- Observation of Sophomore Prayer meeting on Wednesday
- Interview with Jonathan Lee about 5 minutes
- Interview with Jenny Choi about 5 minutes
- Interview with Hoon Sung and Andres about 10 minutes
- Interview with Jason about 5 minutes
- Interview with Scott Chang about 5 minutes
- Interview with Haejin Choi about 10 minutes
- Interview with Joon Choi about 5 minutes
- www.kcccla.com website
- www.kcccusa.com website
- Documents: Academic Search Complete: Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America