IASA: Cool Club on Campus!

IASA

This week I’d like to highlight one of the awesome clubs we have on campus here at UCLA. The club is called the International Affairs Student Association, run by students from diverse majors and backgrounds including Sociology, Political Science, Global Studies and many more. The clubs mission statement is as follows:

“We seek to grow and learn from each other by providing a space in which students can freely discuss international issues with their peers outside of the classroom. We cover various subjects every week in our current events section and presentation section that seek to provide our members with more information on topics that they may not be familiar with yet.”

Founded in Fall 2013, the club has put on many interesting and informative events on and off campus for students to attend! For example, most recently, IASA curated an event to discuss the current events taking place in Ayotzinapa, Mexico and Mexico’s political state in general. IASA invited UCLA History professor Maria Vazquez to come and speak to students about the missing students in Ayotzinapa and how Mexico’s political structure and apparent corruption is being influenced by the United States. She highlighted the negative influences of the drug cartels and how the US drug market has been affecting Mexico. The students were able to openly discuss this issue in a question and answer session after the event.

It’s great to recognize the intellect and political awareness of students at UCLA! We are a university that values open discussion and freedom of thought. Everyone has a voice at UCLA that is both appreciated and challenged in and outside of the classroom.

Fall means Retreat!

 

At UCLA, the best part of being in clubs is getting to know people and working together for a common cause.  Being in a club or two also means retreats! It’s only week 5 and I have already been on a retreat this quarter.  The first one was with the Academic Affairs Commission (part of USAC) which is a new club for me to be involved in.

The AAC retreat was at the beach with about 25 people. The retreat provided great bonding time, friendships, and coffee.

Going on retreats can be a big leap of faith. It can be intimidating to go to a retreat with people you don’t know and it can be difficult to take time away from studying. Regardless, retreats are always a good idea. Why?

  • They provide a chance to get out of the city and do some exploring!
  • You can make a ton of new friends
  • …or deepen friendships with old ones!
  • You can connect with people who have similar passions and interests
  • They help you feel more connected and invested in the organization as a whole
  • Ice breakers make everyone come out of their comfort zone
  • Road trips to retreats are where memories are made!
  • Who wouldn’t want to study for midterms at the beach or in the mountains?

What ever your club is and whatever your reservations are…retreats are a blast! Take a chance: find a club and go on a retreat!

Zero Week!

 

Balloons everywhere, flyers left, right, and sideways, herd of new students, Greek shirts…it must be ZERO WEEK.

I cannot believe the start of the school year is already here.  It seems like just yesterday campus cleared out for summer vacation.  I still vividly remember my first Zero Week as a Freshman at UCLA.

I am so excited to welcome new students (both Freshmen and Transfers).  I have already spent several hours of my week passing out flyers and bouncy balls  as well as sporting some USAC stickers.  However, I am just one of many.  UCLA has nearly 1,000 clubs and organizations and this is the week for them to start recruiting new members.

It is easy to feel lost in the midst of all the madness, but so long as you’ve got a friend or a roommate it can be a lot of fun!  One of the best parts of zero week is that (as a new student) you are not alone.  Every new student is looking for a community, while every club is looking for new students.  They give out free shirts, bags, frisbees, and food just to make you feel welcome!  I know I definitely snagged a new draw string backpack and a few pens today.  I’d count that as a success any day!

Zero week is definitely crazy, but it is a great way to jump into the school year! I cannot believe this is my last one!

A Whirlwind of a Quarter

 

This has been a busy couple of weeks!

The end of the quarter is finally in sight and I cannot wait for this marathon to be over!

All that said, it has been a spectacular quarter so far.  I have been taking 4 of the most interesting classes that I have ever taken at UCLA, met some amazing people, started planning for my summer, and have been getting things for Relay for Life in motion.

One of the most rewarding things about UCLA is how diverse and personal it is.  I know that those two things sound like contradictions, but even though my quarter has been busy, I have loved every minute of it.  My classes are specific to what I WANT to take , which is really nice.  Applying for summer shenanigans is always hectic, but really rewarding.  It looks like I will be spending quite a bit of time in the Eastern Hemisphere this summer!  Relay for Life (while so far) is getting closer and closer and it has been cool to see how students from all over campus can come together for a common cause.

Sometimes, however, it is nice to just take a break!  This weekend I got to go to Pacific Palisades.  It was a nice break from school and a time to just hang out with some awesome girls.  We were close enough to school that it didn’t feel too much like a vacation, but it was a different enough environment to not be distracted by school work.  It was a great weekend and a nice change of scenery.

A lot of semester school kids wonder how we do it all in 10 weeks.  It’s all about keeping a level head and keeping focused.  10 weeks can go by really quickly, so it’s important to keep calm and take time to smell the coffee roses.

Beginning of the Quarter Checklist

Contrary to popular belief, the beginning of the quarter isn’t exactly peaceful! For me, things tend to be hectic, but I know eventually it will all settle down and I will settle into my usual routine.

Things to do:

1) Finalize class schedule. Hopefully everything has worked out like I hoped, but sometimes once syllabi come out, plans need to change. Examples… conflicting midterms, more papers then expected etc.

2) Buy textbooks. At the beginning of my college career, I was always prepared and bought books for all my classes before the quarter began. Nowadays, I like to wait to see if I need them and of course, wait to make sure I am actually in the class. Tip: If you need the textbook to write one paper, chances are it’s available in library reserve. Then comes trying to find the best prices on books. Usually I look on Amazon, UCLA textbook store, and of course, buy from previous students.

3) Join new activities. Beginning of the quarter most clubs have recruitment meetings and application processes. If there is something that I want to start doing, chances are I will need to pay attention to dates and times now!

Of course, this is just a short list which doesn’t include catching up with friends you haven’t seen in over a month!

GO BRUINS!!

Back to the Beginning

 

Hello all! It’s the beginning of the quarter again and Week 1 is in full swing. I want to start by saying I hope everyone had a great break. It was much needed and greatly appreciated, but now its time to get back to work. Over the next week, I’ll be focusing on my studies first and foremost, but I am also looking forward to joining some student groups. Fall quarter was more of a transitional phase for me; I had to get used to my new schedule and being away from my family. Now that the homesickness has just about worn off, I’m ready to join some new clubs. There’s something for everyone and if you’re looking to attend UCLA, it doesn’t hurt to do your research before hand. So here is a list of clubs and organizations that I’m sure would love to have every one of you readers! (This is only a short list. For a complete list of UCLA student organizations, please visit www.studentgroups.ucla.edu)

If you’re interested in community service:

  • Bruin Initiative—aims to lesson educational disparities through tutoring and advising students from elementary to high school grade levels.
  • Project Literacy at UCLA—aims to improve literacy rates in the Los Angeles region through one-on-one tutoring
  • USAC Community Service Commission—aims to create social change, understanding needs of the Los Angeles area, and promote campus wide service programming

If you’re interested in Health & Wellness:

If you’re interested in Recreation:

Again these are just a few organizations that I found interesting. There’s a huge variety that includes hundreds of clubs ranging from culture to politics to religion. When people say there’s something for everyone at UCLA, they mean it!

Enormous Activities Fair 2011

Monday was the annual Enormous Activities Fair, where hundreds of student-run organizations take advantage of zero week to reach out and recruit interested students for their clubs.  The fair took place in Royce Quad and Wilson Plaza, in which thousands of students congregated to find out more about organizations they can get involved with.  It is safe to say that hundreds of clubs came out to represent, tended by even more students, intent on spreading the word about their organizations and recruiting others who are interested in the same cause.

I had a wonderful time at the YOUTHphonics A Cappella table, walking around browsing other clubs, and picking up flyers and freebies that were being handed out, anything from lanyards to bandaid dispensers.  It was great to see the expansive quad between Royce Hall, Powell Library, Haines Hall and Humanities Building, bustling with students wondering what to get involved in and keeping an open mind for everything that crossed their paths.  As far as the eye could see (from my tiny table), it seemed like a sea of people funneling through the narrow aisles, as club members filled up half the space to (playfully) battle one another for interested students, both freshmen and returning.

At any given moment, it is safe to say that involvement at UCLA is incredible and that students genuinely value their extracurricular activities.  The positive spirit that unified everyone was eminent; people were interested in everything they heard about and were open to new ideas, as well as stepping out of their comfort zones to find their new sphere of influence, in the next chapter of their life titled College.  This enormous activities fair alone showed hundreds (maybe thousands) of Bruins what it means to be an active part of the UCLA campus and a contributing body, that makes up the 955 registered clubs we have today.