Paint It Pink

by Nel Tristan

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an international campaign seeking to uplift survivors and current patients and to raise funds for the study and treatment of the disease. It affects women and men, both young and old, though it is most frequently found in women over the age of 50. The campaign encourages the spread of information about the disease, such as its earliest symptoms and the importance of testing.

The UCI Student Center was lit pink at night, in a show of solidarity with individuals whose lives have been affected by the disease. The Student Center remained lit until the end of October.

A Farewell to Spreadsheets

by Nel Tristan

Students are expected to make the most of the tools they are given. In an age where technology can streamline quite a few workplace processes, the Student Center IT Developer team has developed a program allowing managers to easily monitor student development by modernizing a previously cluttered system.

The Level Up Professional Development Program is a student-made Web application whose accolades include the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s 2019 Circle of Excellence Silver Award, the National Association of College Auxiliary Services’ 2020 Innovative Achievement in Auxiliary Services award, and the 2020 Excellence in Student Training Award, as presented by the Association of College Unions International. Their recognition of the program’s potential opens many possibilities for further implementation of the application and draws more attention to the ingenuity at play in the Student Center. By allowing students to set concrete goals and providing accessible training programs that cover a broad range of subjects, Level Up helps redefine workplace learning. Students are able to pace themselves alongside the evolving demands of the current job market. After completing their assigned training, students receive the chance to “level up” and gain access to further training and even an increase in pay, encouraging constant professional growth.

From a managerial perspective, Level Up accumulates data which was previously only viewable through a bulky network of spreadsheets, allowing managers to better surmise the progress student employees have made in their training.

“The great thing about Level Up is that it puts things into perspective more than anything,” says HR Manager Erik Ramirez. “Excel, Word, and spreadsheets are all great but when you can actually use technology in your favor it really does help out quite significantly. And it’s helped me in my role where I can actually focus on more important things in regards to HR.”

Whether the task be onboarding or training, Level Up places all of the essentials for student employees in one convenient location for both managers and employees to track. Operations Manager Kendi Rosas Goss says, “The Level Up program has provided the Operations team a more standardized way of tracking our student staff’s training. It has allowed our student staff to visually see their training progress and know in advance all the necessary steps they need to complete in order to level up. This program has enabled us to track our students’ progress from their hire date and ensure that our training is consistent across the board.”

While certainly beneficial to managers, Level Up also provides resources to student employees working at the Student Center. Students learn to connect their current responsibilities with long-term goals. The application helps users visualize their progress and document the skills they obtain during their time at the Student Center by utilizing the résumé-building section provided. Students are encouraged to foster meaningful interactions with the full-time staff and fully integrate themselves into a professional work environment.

Level Up also assists managers in monitoring their retention rates. “It really kinda puts a good picture on why people are staying or leaving,” says Ramirez. “It’ll help me talk with the directors to let them know what the climate is with the department. I’m able to have a brief exit briefing to ask them some basic questions. Hopefully, with Level Up, if I can’t meet with them, I can send them a little survey that’s auto-generated.”

In the current economic climate, finding employment opportunities best suited to a student’s needs remains a crucial element of life. Level Up strives to redefine the learning curve and prepare student employees for future success.

Zoomin’ Through Spring Quarter

by Nel Tristan

On paper, not having to get out of bed or leave your room to go to class sounds amazing. Whether you’re tucked up in your blankets and pajamas for that 8 a.m. lecture or lounging on the couch for an afternoon discussion, all you have to do is place yourself in front of your webcam and make sure your family doesn’t walk in during class.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all classes to go online for the rest of the quarter, and necessitated some big changes in our lives. Starting with receiving a bombardment of Canvas notifications.

The shift to online learning has caused a lot of stress for some students. Some packed up and left right after the announcement was made, others struggled to get back to their home state—or home country—before it was too late. Now situated at home, or lingering behind on an almost-empty campus, students are left with plenty of online discussions and Zoom meetings to fill the void in-person classes left.

For seniors, what could be the last classes they ever take at UCI are now being conducted in their homes. No matter the major, students are disappointed at having their time on campus cut short, and at being unable to attend their commencement in person until winter at the earliest.

“Having to do my last quarter at UCI online is a little disappointing,” says senior Anthony Cano. Attending classes may not require much effort, but taking the extra time to understand all the material is proving to be a struggle. “The thing I miss the most about class is the clarity. If there was something I didn’t understand, then I was able to have an actual conversation with the professor, instead of having to communicate through email.”

Students have fewer opportunities to bond with their professors during office hours, or readily communicate with fellow classmates in discussion. They also find themselves with a lot more downtime on their hands between assignments, with nowhere to go. “I would destress at the gym,” says senior David Pham, “but I have switched over to cycling around the neighborhood. Overall, I miss being able to have a separate workspace for friends and school, but they’re all mashed up in a small, cramped bedroom.”

Classes which relied on in-person interaction have converted to online discussion boards, which can leave students feeling a little overwhelmed at having to keep track of them all. Sophomore Emely Oporto says, “I’m not a fan of online classes. I feel that online courses aren’t as engaging and it is very easy to get distracted. I miss discussion sections the most because I was able to ask clearer questions in person than I am online. In math and science- based courses, it can be much easier to understand problem explanations as they are being solved in front of you.”

There are, of course, a few silver linings to the online shift. “I miss having to cook my own meals the least,” Oporto says. “My mom is the superior cook, so meals have been easier.”

The shift to online classes has left some anxious, some bored, and most struggling to adjust to a completely new routine. So far, the student body has been trying to make the best out of their situations, which is all most of us can hope for.

Don’t Miss Out On Free Virtual Events

by Alexander Cardona

Through the transition to remote learning, UCI still intends to keep its Anteaters connected in their social, recreational, cultural, and educational pursuits. With its new feature, the UCI Now app allows anyone with a UCInetID to list and partake in a virtual meeting or event. By clicking “Virtual Events” you can see a calendar of events available to take part in during this time of distancing. To add your own event, all you have to do is download the UCI Now app and tap on “Virtual Events.” From there, press “Add” in the upper right-hand corner. Then submit your event details and your event will automatically appear in the app and on the Student Center website.

This feature is intended as a service to the UCI community and to keep us connected and together in the times of COVID-19. Being physically distant from one another does not have to also mean “disconnected.” Here at the Student Center, we will do our best to make sure our fellow Anteaters have ample opportunity for involvement and development opportunities, even as we continue to learn and work from home.

The Journey Toward Performance Excellence

by Alexander Cardona

CTEA Award

Brian Petyo displays CTEA Award with team members Chris Rodriguez, Sarah Li, Rebekah Li, and Thomas Patierno.
Photo credit: CTEA

On February 26, 2020, the Student Center IT Developer Team was awarded the California Team Excellence Award (CTEA), one of the state’s most prestigious awards for performance excellence.

The requirements consist of rigorous assessment in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, knowledge management, workforce engagement, and day-to-day operations. Under the leadership of Marketing and IT Developer Manager Brian Petyo, with the vigor and zeal of UCI’s Anteater student employees, the student IT developer team claimed their fourth award in the span of two years. But what is the driving force behind the student developer team? How do they push for performance excellence?

IACC Innovations Award

IT Developer Team proudly displays their IACC Innovations Award in their closet space in 2018.

Since 2018, Petyo has fostered the developer team from their humble beginnings to the world-class and award-winning team that they are today. “It all started in a closet,” Petyo says. From those days spent in a leaky closet, a single workbench, and a doorless office, Petyo and the team were continuously rewarded with award after award for their drive and efforts.

“I remember showing up for my first day of work and being introduced to our closet office,” says full-stack web developer, Thomas Patierno. “Generally, it was okay when two to four people were in the office, but if any more than that were there people would have no place to sit or would just have to stand—or leave.” Patierno was the first and, at the time, the only web developer. He was hired to work on the Level Up web application, which later won the developer team the CASE Circle of Excellence Silver Award, and has seen the team grow by leaps and bounds from the tiny office he was hired in. While Patierno recounts that the team’s closet office left much to be desired, he attests that it was Petyo’s perseverance and consistent leadership that eventually allowed them to secure an office space of their own and pushed them toward the path to new achievements.

“Our very first app was the Real-Time Ops app and it turned a lot of heads,” Petyo says, reminiscing. This app helped Student Center staff with data literacy and time efficiency by optimizing inventory controls, shift reports, and cost recovery. “I looked right at David, the designer, it was just me and him in that AV closet, and I said, ‘We’re going to win an award for this.’” And win an award they did. In April 2018, Petyo was in Philadelphia to receive the America’s Innovation Award for Real-Time Ops.

IT Developer Team

IT Developer Team in their new office space in 2019.

“What was fascinating about that app is that it was a direct result of me sitting down with the Baldrige framework and saying, ‘Okay, how do we listen to the voice of the customer?’ I think that’s the magic of responding to tough questions about your business, right? It’s that you will have those ‘aha’ moments. That was innovation. It’s in the name of the award that we won and it’s at the center of the Baldrige Framework and Performance Excellence Program. Innovation, innovation, innovation.”

But what is the Baldrige Framework, and what is performance excellence?

Malcolm Baldrige was a former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, serving from 1981 to 1987. Throughout his term, he improved the efficiency and effectiveness of many government policies. The guidelines and practices of the California Council for Excellence are Baldrige-based and stem from his legacy of best business practices.

Petyo sees the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework and the CTEA as a way to learn and embody the language of business. For him, this framework is the most comprehensive set of guidelines when it comes to teaching terminology, understanding improvement tools and devices, data literacy, and going beyond the science of management.

CASE Award

The IT Developer Team wins the CASE Circle of Excellence Silver Award

From that point on, Petyo pushed himself and the team to strive for performance excellence, the framework which guided their vision for success. “2019 became our benchmark year. That’s when our team really grew to capacity; space and budget and all that,” Petyo says. This was the year the team took the step toward something different and took their dedication to performance excellence to the highest level. The team won another award, the CASE Circle of Excellence Silver Award for their Level Up web application. The app was chosen among 2,800 submissions for its ability to help business managers measure workplace capacity, capabilities, opportunities for growth, and enabling of professional advancement. They committed to becoming a model of national excellence and went after the California Team Excellence Award.

“We want to be that shining light on a hill. That ray of light on a stormy night at sea,” Petyo continues. “We want U.S. organizations to look at us for best practices, and I believe that there is enough talent here at UCI to make that happen.”

The CTEA award ceremony was a chance for both Petyo and the student team to truly revel in their work and take pride in their achievements thus far. “It felt amazing to be awarded for our work,” says developer Sarah Li. “The whole CTEA process was a long journey. The ceremony was an experience that recognized us for our dedication to process refinement and team building. It was a day full of networking, recognition, and fun!”

Fellow developer Chris Rodriguez shares her sentiment. “It makes me feel like my work extends beyond the walls of the Student Center, and honestly I didn’t think I’d get to have that opportunity here,” he says. “I’d say the best part was seeing how happy and proud Brian was of the team,” Rodriguez says when asked about the ceremony. “Brian does a good job of giving the team a vision. He cares about our opinions and doesn’t override them, even if they aren’t what he wants to hear. He respects our knowledge as developers, and in turn, we try and do what we can to complete the objectives he creates.” Many members of the team also team testify that Petyo’s efforts were tantamount to their success.

“I see this more as an award for Brian’s hard work in investing into each and every one of us and growing the team to how it is today,” says developer Rebekah Li. The office has changed much in Li’s year working the position. She has seen the space grow and change in terms of structure and in the capabilities of the team, and throughout it all Petyo has been there as a constant driving force. “He is always a leader for us, always trying to get what’s best for us and looking into ways to grow and improve the office and team as a whole. He’s not afraid of trying something new and taking on new projects and exploring new directions.”

Current Team

The current (2020) Student Center Marketing and IT Developer team

The team has grown exponentially since its inception, due to both Petyo and the team’s own efforts. Patierno remarks that when he was hired his interview was bared-boned, spanning about fifteen minutes with no code assessment of any kind. Now, developer team interviews are nearly an hour, with a well-defined set of behavioral, programming, and coding assessment questions. “While I can hardly credit Brian for developing these technical questions,” Patierno says, “I can credit Brian with giving us—student employees—the opportunity to run the interviews and assess the candidates as we see fit for their job description.” Through the chances given to shine through their strengths and innovate, this group of UCI students has been able to push the boundary for success again and again.

“It’s always special to be recognized for having done an exceptional job on something, beyond just having satisfied employer or job requirements,” says Patierno. “Even though the whole team could not attend, it was really special to see the team as a whole being recognized for our work.” In the past, the awards the developer team had received had been for a specific project or a subteam, but winning the CTEA for performance excellence was something that all the developers could all take pride in together.

Petyo truly values the intelligence and potential of UCI’s Anteaters and is incredibly proud of the progress and members of the developer team. “I think sometimes people think leadership is common sense. It’s not common, and it’s not sense,” Petyo says. “There’s nothing common sense about being excellent or best in class. You can’t just say ‘I want to be best in class,’ you have to prove it.”

UCI Student Center Shines Light on Essential Workers’ Efforts

by Nel Tristan

The COVID-19 crisis is stressful enough for those staying indoors watching news reports to stay updated on the crisis. For those essential workers out in the frontlines, the risks are palpable each day they show up to work. From grocery store employees to health care workers, to the doctors and nurses providing care to patients amidst the crisis, there are so many people out there who are working hard for their communities. Because of them, we are still able to buy groceries, order take-out, seek treatment for ailments, and otherwise preserve our lifestyles as best as we can.

There is no gesture grand enough to thank essential employees for all the work they are doing, but UC campuses are trying to honor their sacrifice.

Every night, starting April 21, the UCI Student Center will wash its building in blue light to show support for those workers who are not offered reprieve during the pandemic. These essential workers ensure that the world keeps operating smoothly, and that the people who need assistance or treatment are given the help they need. We are grateful for all those risking their lives for their communities, and offer our appreciation through this gesture.

The buildings will remain lit until the campus resumes full operation, and the student body returns to classes.

Inspired Art on Display in Ballroom Lobby

Environmental Graphiti in the Pacific Ballroom

by Nel Tristan

The Student Center installed new thought-provoking canvas digital reproductions outside the Pacific Ballroom.

You may have noticed them, sitting on previously empty walls. Considering they stand 10 feet tall, towering over the space, they are hard to miss. You may have noticed they’re not the typical UCI brand, like the hallway lined with shots of our favorite anteater.

The paintings are abstract, and you’re not quite sure what you’re looking at.

Maybe it’s a whale gliding across its navy and gold canvas. Smokestacks rising over violet smog into the blazing sky. Space was a pretty common assumption. A few people saw oily rivers and spilled gasoline, which is a little closer to the mark.

Climate Refugees

“Climate Refugees”

Maybe you see it immediately. That’s a graph, and you are right. You are looking at a graph. You are looking at carbon emissions. You are looking at fossil fuels and climate refugees and influences on warming.

You are looking at climate change and the impact it has across the globe.

Any confusion you feel toward the image is entirely intentional. “Environmental Graphiti—The Art of Climate Change” was conceived in 2014 by artist Alisa Singer, with the intent of raising awareness about the threat climate change poses to the environment. Singer transforms infographics and statistics into vibrant works of digital art. The pieces are designed to make you look twice, so you begin to see the patterns in the flurry of colors and shapes.

“When you first see an exhibit of the paintings, they appear abstract,” Singer says. “But each piece is displayed with a wall plaque that shows the graphic data from which the piece was derived, together with a short summary of the key message. Once people realize the art comes from the graph, they begin a back-and-forth process of looking for the outlines of the graph in the art and figuring out what the graph means. By this process, the viewers find themselves engaged in the science, as well as the art.”

Singer’s intention is increase audience engagement with her artwork and raise awareness through its eye-catching visuals, so vibrant you have no choice but to stop and look. She brings issues regarding climate change to light, in a manner which is visually interesting and more easily accessible to the public. Looking translates directly to engaging, which is the first step to considering a more sustainable lifestyle.

Pathways for Reducing Emissions

“Pathways for Reducing Emissions”

“I found the general public’s lack of alarm about the compelling facts regarding climate changes somewhat bewildering. It seemed likely that many people were confused or intimidated by the charts and graphs depicting the science, and it occurred to me that art could become the vehicle for delivering the facts in a more user-friendly way,” Singer says. “Each piece in the collection of over 80 pieces uses as its blueprint—a chart, graph, map, word or number relating to a key fact about climate change.”

From changing temperatures, to the projected rising of sea levels, Singer’s art covers a broad range of relevant topics. The pieces are all constructed digitally, allowing Singer a wider distribution for her artwork, and to enable Singer more freedom to build off the graphs she chooses as a base. “Each piece must stand independently from an aesthetic perspective, but can be morphed back into the original graph to demonstrate that it was derived from the data. The choice of colors and textures is very serendipitous – happy accidents and all that.”

Though certain organizations on campus were already aware of her work, Singer did not become a main feature of the Student Center hallways until Marketing Manager Brian Petyo happened across her piece, “Current and Projected Arctic Ice Conditions” while passing through the Sustainability Resource Center. Petyo became enamored with her unique style and the message embedded in the colorful pixel strata. He quickly worked to get into contact with Singer. He knew that he wanted to put her artwork on the walls, and he wanted the pieces blown up to epic proportions. “We upsized this art,” says Petyo. “It’s in your face. It’s bold, it’s beautiful, and it’s an aesthetic for the science.”

Fossil Fuels Impact on Human Health

“Fossil Fuels Impact on Human Health”

The motives behind Singer’s collection aligns with the university’s goals for sustainability and environmental awareness. Hanging her artwork on the walls is yet another way of entering the conversation. Nothing says more than the 10 feet tall canvases, which the in-house maintenance team carried through the hallways.

“We’re shaping the space,” Petyo continues. “We’re shaping behaviors and we’re shaping the conversation around climate change. We have to put our values on the wall. Maybe you’re not researching sustainability, and maybe you don’t have a way to actually clean the oceans. But no matter what you’re doing, or who you are, or what your product is, you will find a way to be creative and help. Maybe, it’s just bringing awareness to a big problem. There is a way to join.”

Singer asks you to contemplate matters which may be at the forefront of your mind, or maybe the back. By breathing life into the statistics, offering art that is stunning and interesting, she encourages her audience to be more aware of the impacts of climate change. Whether you’re intimidated by the statistics or disinterested in the details, Singer ensures you have no choice but to stop and look at the numbers in the colors.

The Student Center’s Brilliant Future

by Alexander Cardona

Debuting at the end of 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign is the result of UCI’s latest ambition. Manifesting in what Chancellor Howard Gillman calls “the most ambitious fundraising engagement campaign in the history of UCI and Orange County,” the Student Center captures this brilliance in the places where students gather the most. Take a look around the Student Center and you’ll see various artistic decals that were launched to celebrate UCI’s Brilliant Future.

One decal appears at the entrance of the Student Center. Like fresh paint on a canvas, it reads “UCI Brilliant Future” surrounded in swirling brushstrokes of orange, blue, and gold.

Front Entry Decal

Just up the stairs is a massive Peter the Anteater that is 16 feet wide. It rests on the wall in the Crystal Cove Auditorium Lobby.

Peter the Anteater in Crystal Cove Auditorium

Between the Terrace Lounge and the West Food Court is another decal. It reads “The Future Is Bright. Stop at Nothing to Make It Brilliant,” with waves of blue, gold, and orange brushstrokes beneath it.

Brilliant Future Decal

In addition, above on the walls near the Terrace Lounge are decals that list accolades UCI has accumulated in its goal to pave the way toward a brighter future.

Accolades

For UCI, Brilliant Future is both a celebration of UCI’s accomplishments so far and a beacon of things yet to come. Setting the decals in the Student Center, creating a visual celebration of something that students could enjoy and see, was no easy task. But it was a very rewarding task for marketing manager Brian Petyo.

“We were thinking, hey we got this blank wall up there,” Brian says when asked about the decals. “We were originally just going to put up our tagline, but we decided to go a bit further, a bit bigger, a little bit bolder to create a wonderful umbrella experience. I’m glad we did it.”

Installing the artwork had its own set of hurdles. The decals came in multiple pieces, with some of them being over 20 by 20 feet. “Our first run, we actually got some of the letters, like the “U’s” the letter “U” in “Future”, were too small,” Brian continues. “We had to cut out each individual letter, each of those pieces were individually cut … and then we realized that some of the letters were in a different sized font.” Brian laughs. “How does that happen?”

Despite the roadblocks, above all else, Brian wants the decal artwork and Brilliant Future campaign to bring the campus together and to immerse students in the Anteater spirit. “I want the students to be a part of everything, even this fundraising initiative,” Brian smiles. “Make the Student Center a more fun place to be, right?”

As a final part of the Brilliant Future campaign, in an effort to further brighten the path for UCI students, at dusk the Student Center bell tower and main entrance glow the school colors of blue and gold.

Main Entrance
Bell Tower

For many of UCI’s Anteaters, the Student Center is a haven where they can study, rest, and relax throughout the day. With UCI’s Brilliant Future on the horizon, the Student Center will continue to make these days a little brighter.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Out of an abundance of caution to support the well-being of the UCI community, the Student Center Building is closed until further notice. Staff will continue to work remotely and will remain available for assistance. Check back for updates.

What is the Student Center doing?

As the circumstances surrounding coronavirus continue to evolve, our team will continue to plan and prepare. To aid in the efforts to proactively curb the spread of COVID-19, Student Center & Event Services (SCES) is canceling all meetings and events that are scheduled to occur between Thursday, March 19, 2020 through end of day Tuesday, June 30, 2020 regardless of size.

In response to the UCI Medical Students’ call for personal protective equipment, the Student Center has donated the following items:

What can guests do?

We understand that you may feel some uncertainties surrounding coronavirus and might be wondering how it will impact your event. The Student Center will update this page as new information becomes available. Guests are encouraged to contact their event host for the most up-to-date information on event modifications or possible cancellations.

The Student Center team wishes to express our concern and let you know that we understand the inconvenience surrounding the uncertainties of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Please be patient as we work together to take definitive measures that are socially responsible for everyone.

Please check back regularly as policies and procedures may change or be updated.

Hungry Hungry Anteaters

by Nel Tristan

The tables are set.

Piles of food wait in chilled lobbies, under the starlight canopy of Paul Merage business school, or perhaps behind the polished glass of Barclay Theatre. Inviting stacks of pastries or vats of catering, all waiting for the guests to arrive. It’s enough to make your mouth water as you pass by, certainly worth sparing a much longer glance than necessary, if only to wonder what all the food is for.

Wouldn’t it be nice to walk up and claim a meal whenever you want? Isn’t that the dream for most college students?

FRESH Basic Needs Hub has got your back.

Their text-based platform, Zot Bites, sends out text messages to students registered with their system, letting them know whenever there is some leftover grub from an on-campus event. So long as the caterer is partners with Zot Bites, all students need to do is show up on time to get their free meal after receiving the text.

Michael Millis, Ricardo Casillas, Mariel Hernandez

(From left) Michael Millis, Ricardo Casillas, and Mariel Hernandez

Guided by Andrea Gutierrez, director of UCI’s FRESH Hub, with Michael Millis handling the development of the platform and Ricardo Casillas aiding the project, free meals are made available to the patrons of FRESH Hub. “My hope is that as many students as possible find out about this application and sign up!” says Millis. “So much unused food goes to waste on campus and I would love to know that it goes to students instead of the trash.”

The system was first implemented successfully by UC San Francisco, and other campuses have been following their lead in their mission to provide basic needs to the student body. “The model existed,” says Gutierrez, “so basically from there on I just started looking into, ‘how do we replicate the program at UCI?’”

The day of the release, Millis was nervous about the success of his application. “I was an exhibitor at the Tech Expo, and at the end of the event we had a bunch of leftover food. Wayne Fields, my boss, coordinated with the event lead to ask if we could send the first text message to Zot Bites users, so I ran over to FRESH Hub and Ricardo and I sent out the first text! It was nerve-wracking, but overall, I had faith in my code,” says Millis.

The first recipient of a Zot Bites meal, Mariel Hernandez, was excited to play a part in the platform’s first official launch. As a FRESH Hub employee, Hernandez is familiar with the plight of students who lack ready access to meals. “I think it is one of the most resourceful ideas I have witnessed both as an employee and as a student who frequents the space for groceries. It is a symbolic process that I believe will definitely impact food waste on campus along with food insecurity among college students.” Now, students have another option for cheap eats around campus when the budget gets tight.

Zot Bites ties in with UCI’s sustainability initiative of zero waste, ensuring that no food goes to waste when it can be put in the hands (and mouths) of the Anteater community; however, the more pressing goal of the platform is to provide meals to students. “The part we are very interested in is making sure that more students have access to food,” Gutierrez says, “specifically, because these foods are good to eat still. It’s providing further access to food to students who might need it.”

Event directors account for any additional time set aside at the conclusion of an event, so that students have time to pick up any leftovers they have. Signing up for the application is as easy as visiting their site and hitting the “Register” link. “I got all my friends on it,” Hernandez says. “It gives me a warm feeling to walk around campus and see my peers react to a message from Zot Bites. It inspires me to continue advocating for food insecurity and find ways to make food more accessible.” So long as you’ve paid a visit to FRESH Hub within the last twelve months, you can opt into the program and start receiving notifications whenever there are meals available.

Spread the word and help support FRESH Hub’s efforts to secure basic needs for the community.

Clash of the Cans and Toy Drive in the Information Center

Donation bins for the food and toy drive

If you see a metal can around campus, please don’t put your trash in it.

Instead, may I make a few suggestions?

Are you stowing some soup that you bought on impulse after hearing someone cough behind you in lecture? Did you wake up with a sore throat and stock up cans in anticipation for a rough week, only to make a miraculous recovery two days later?

Look, we’ve all been there. We’ve all stocked up on food we planned to eat and then forgot as it gathered dust in the backs of our pantries. You have a bunch of food you don’t want, and we have some empty bins in need of donations. I would say that’s the perfect combination.

Consider donating them to UCI’s tenth annual “Clash of the Cans” food drive, open until December 20. The food you donate goes right back to your fellow students. FRESH Basic Needs Hub is always looking for more goods to stock their shelves, and your donation could help out your fellow Anteaters. Don’t be fooled by the name. We are looking for all sorts of goods, like bagged rice, boxed cereal and toiletries. Check out the page on UCI Transportation’s website for a list of items you can donate. Help us reach a goal of 100 pounds of food at the Student Center. If you’ve got plenty of items to give, you can also take a bag from the Information Center home and bring it back to the drop off location.

The Student Center is hosting two opportunities to give back this holiday season. UCIPD’s Annual Toy Drive is collecting new, unwrapped toys for patients ages 14 and younger at the UCI Health Center and other local organizations. Their donation bin can be found in the Student Center Information Center, right beside the “Clash of the Cans” bin. Donations run until December 18.

There’s no need to go out and buy a bunch of goods to donate (though, no one will stop you either). If you’ve got some stuff you’re not planning on using, or want to spread holiday cheer with a bear or two, consider giving back to the community.

There is also an added bonus for any “Clash of the Cans” participants. For every item you donate, you get a free button. There are several exclusive designs, all drawn by Rebekah Li, a UCI student UI/UX designer, featuring our mascot, Peter the Anteater. Go and collect them all.

Free Screening of It Chapter Two with valid UCI Student ID

Current UCI students can watch It Chapter Two for free in the Crystal Cove Auditorium this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Free popcorn, bottled water, and Halloween candy will be served along with chances to win an Anteater plush, a hydro flask, movie tickets, a UCI Tee or gift card. Visit studentcenter.uci.edu/uci-movie-nights to learn about ways to win and to read the Official Rules.

Students who upload a selfie taken at the event to their Instagram account with the hashtag #ASUCIMovieNightDrawing by midnight, October 31, 2019, will be automatically entered into an opportunity drawing. But if horror isn’t your genre of choice, add your name to the Movie Nights email list for information on upcoming screenings and be entered for a chance to win a gift card.

ASUCI and the Student Center are co-sponsoring this event as part of an ongoing series called Movie Nights. Events like these are a fun way to add value and enrichen campus life with advanced screenings of popular movies not yet released in theaters, summer blockbusters, classic films, and popular titles.

UCI Computer Science Major Is So Fast, He’s Ranked Fourth in the World

Tommy Patierno is a Celeste Champion

Part-time gamer and UCI computer science major Tommy Patierno (display name: Chaikitty), 21, faces the undisputed Celeste speedrunning champion TGH for charity at TwitchCon 2019 in San Diego.

The game is called Celeste, and UCI computer science major Tommy Patierno is one of the best. Patierno (display name: chaikitty), 21, will face the undisputed champion TGH in a speedrunning marathon for charity. It is all part of a sold-out three-day conference called TwitchCon 2019. Thousands of streamers, professional gamers, esports enthusiasts and cosplay fans will descend downtown at the San Diego Convention Center. It is a chance to meet celebrities, network with gamers, and watch top streamers compete.

Celeste is a fast-paced single-player adventure. The player races against the clock through over 600 screens of hardcore challenges and devious secrets. Unlike team-play esports like League of Legends and Fortnite, during a speedrunning marathon, the first person to reach the end wins. In the case of Celeste, the first person to reach the summit is the winner. Patierno’s best time is 27 minutes and 53 seconds. Twenty-two seconds behind TGH’s top spot, Patierno will pack his lucky keyboard and reach for a new personal best.

Games Done Quick organized this Friday’s Speedruning Marathon. Money raised supports The Able Gamers Charity, a non-profit helping people with disabilities get back into the game with custom setups. They provide modified controllers and assistive technology. The hope is rehabilitation through recreation. Games Done Quick has raised over $22.3 million working with different charities and The Able Gamers have raised over $112 thousand.

Patierno works as a web developer on the award-winning IT Dev team at the Student Center. Some of the more recognizable brands include the popular ZOTFinder app and the newer UCI Now app. His lead development on The Level Up Program won him a 2019 CASE Circle of Excellence Silver Award.

Patierno just laughs when asked about his display name chaikitty. “It’s been so long” he said and vaguely recalls it having something to do with his brother throwing a beanie baby at a nearby chai latte. To become a Chai Guy, that’s what he calls his subscribers, sub to chaikitty at twitch.tv/chaikitty. View over 170 videos and chat with him during a live stream.

You can play some of Patierno’s early iOS developments by visiting landofchaiapp.com. Among his prouder experiments is RetroCube for iOS only, Chai Sprint, and Land of Chai 2. These projects date back to high school as a way to learn to code.

UCI is known for competitive team-play esports and for its amazing gaming arena. But there are surprisingly no Celeste groups on campus and no speedrunning events. According to chaikitty, it is easy to get started. Just pick up Celeste, Super Mario Sunshine, HoPiKo (Patierno’s personal favorites) or similar game to get going. Video game speedrunning could be the next big headline at UCI.

Get More from UCI—Download the UCI Now App

UCI Now app is a free app intended as a service to help the UCI community navigate events in the Student Center with a new option for students to book Courtyard Study Rooms and a convenient way for campus organizations to promote their Ring Mall activities. The app was designed by students for students in cooperation with Student Center & Event Services and ASUCI Visions.

The “CSL” Feature

Provides any student with a UCInetID easy access to real-time availability for Student Center study space. Check availability, confirm, view, or cancel reservations on a first-come, first-served basis any time, anywhere you have an Internet connection. Students can book smart, plan ahead and reserve up to 40 hours each. Located on the first floor of the Student Center, The Courtyard Study Lounge rooms vary in size and include complimentary Wi-Fi, whiteboards, and power.

The “Wayfinder” Feature

Provides step-by-step directions and visual references to help users find their way around the Student Center and locate convenient services. This feature is a technological first on campus that uses 250 Bluetooth beacons located throughout the Student Center to help visitors navigate the unique challenges of the Student Center’s architecture. It is a source of pride for the student-led team of developers and technicians. You can read their Customer Success Story here.

The “Ring Mall” Feature

Is a real-time list of activities on Ring Mall with maps to help you locate an event. Search and sort activities by location, organization, time, and type of food sale. Sponsoring organizations can use the app to edit and promote their event by including a description of their organization, their activities, pricing, food items for sale, and payment options.

“The Student Center” Feature

Is a calendar of events in a convenient list view. Users can view and search two weeks of scheduled events booked through Student Center & Event Services. By selecting a date, the app searches all currently scheduled events and returns a list with the most current information available. The list of events includes an event title, room, start and end times along with a link to “Take me there!” for step-by-step directions to your venue location.

Download the Apps

UCI Now on Google Play UCI Now on the App Store

Accessibility at The Center

Message from the Interim Director

I am pleased to welcome you to the 2019 – 2020 school year. I invite you all to visit UCI’s world-class Student Center recognized internationally by the IACC as a conference center of excellence. I speak on behalf of the entire Student Center team as I invite you to explore the host of services and facilities designed to support our diverse Anteater community.

It is my pleasure to serve as interim director at an exciting time on campus as we welcome our new Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Banks. I share Dr. Banks’ passion for student success, and I echo his commitment to transformative experiences in and outside of the classroom. I myself am an alumna of UCI and a 29-year veteran of Student Affairs. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the year ahead and encourage you to stop by my office to share your insights and ideas for making UCI’s Student Center a welcome and inclusive gathering place for all.

Best Regards,
Amy D. Schulz
Interim Director Student Center & Event Services
University of California, Irvine
adschulz@uci.edu

Student Center & Event Services Wins Award in Innovation

Only one year after the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) recognizes Student Center & Event Services globally as a conference center of excellence, the Student Center wins the first-ever IACC Americas Innovation award.

The winner was announced at the IACC Americas Connect award ceremony in Philadelphia. Other finalists included Electro-Media Design, consultants in high-performance audiovisual and acoustics, and Sodexo, a leading provider of dining and facilities-management services. The Student Center was the sole recipient of this year’s award for its Real-Time Ops app designed to enhance staff communications and improve customer service.

“It is with great excitement and gratitude that Student Center & Event Services is recognized for innovation by IACC because the award represents the type of organization we want to be. For us, innovation is about making meaningful change for the campus community,” said Director Stacey L. Murren.

The Student Center is the first in Orange County and tenth statewide to achieve the honorable distinction of being counted among an elite group of 385 venues in 22 countries aspiring to international excellence.

IACC is the sole global professional organization that represents venues focused on meetings, training courses and conferences.

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The Right and Wrong Way to Book an Event

Must-see video introduces registered campus organizations and authorized signers to little known secrets behind Special Events. Learn why some organizations seem to always get what they want while others languish over the simplest detail. This fun and informative video will set you and your organization on the right path toward booking smart.

More information on booking Special Events: Registered Student Organizations

Students Can Now Reserve a Study Room Online 24/7

Book smart and book fast anytime, anywhere. Students can now book a study room in the Courtyard Study Lounge and the Anteater Community Resource Center online 24/7.

Book a Study Room Online

The Student Center Receives an Honorable Mention

The Courtyard Study Lounge Scheduling Automation program was selected for an honorable mention in the 2016 Larry L. Sautter Award Program.

2016 Award Winners