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Tue, Mar 14, 2017 AT 9:11 am - Be Well
The Built Environment of Studying

By Miso Kwak

Photo via Google Images

As finals week approaches, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the academic demands. From exams to papers to group projects, there’s so much to keep track of! Read on for some tips on how you can optimize the built-environment of your studying so that you can be as productive as possible.

First, the lighting. Lighting may seem somewhat mundane but think about it… lighting plays an important role in setting our moods for different occasions. You may prefer a dim light when you are trying to relax, while you may prefer a brighter lighting when you want to feel energized.

Guess what? Lighting can influence our academic performance too. This study done by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology demonstrated that lights of varying correlated color temperatures (CCTs) measured in Kelvin can be optimized for different activities.

The study was conducted in a laboratory with adults as well as in a 4th grade classroom. In both contexts, the researchers found that light with 3500K, which emits warm, yellowish white light is optimal for encouraging recess activities while 6500K light, which emits cool, bluish light that is similar to natural light, is optimal for academic performance. The authors explained that this may be because higher CCTs cause higher levels of arousal, although “there might be a point of diminishing returns at which higher CCT no longer improves human performance.”

What about the color of the walls of the room in which you study? In this study, the color of private study spaces was one of the six variations, including vivid red, vivid yellow, vivid blue, pale red, pale yellow, and pale blue. Subjects in the study reported feeling more pleasant and relaxed in the pale colored conditions, but scored significantly higher on the reading comprehension test when they were in the vivid color condition.

In addition to the visual elements, auditory cues can also affect our studying. If you are like me, you may prefer to listen to the music while studying. But is it really effective?

Findings from research in this area have been mixed. This study, which was a comprehensive meta-analysis in this domain of research, showed that background music in general disrupts reading comprehension. However, another study which put subjects through slow and soft; slow and loud; fast and soft; and fast and loud background music found that only fast and loud music resulted in negative performance of reading comprehension. Given the complex results, it may be difficult to reach a firm conclusion. Nonetheless, we should be more mindful of what kind of music we choose to listen to when we are studying. It would be important to find songs that enhance our focus rather than distract our attention.

The concept of built-environment may feel distant at times, but lighting, color, and sound are factors that create our built-environment, and could have direct impact on our academic performance. Do you have favorite study space on campus that include these elements or favorite songs to listen to while studying? Comment below!

Miso Kwak is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Disability Studies and Education Studies. In addition to blogging for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, she plays the flute with the UCLA Woodwind Chamber Ensemble. Outside of school, she works as a mentor for high school students through Accessible Science, a nonprofit organization that facilitates science camp for blind youth.


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Mon, Mar 6, 2017 AT 11:44 am - Be Well
How tomorrow’s election could affect your built-environment

By Miso Kwak

Photo via Google Images

Bruins, are you aware that there is an election tomorrow?

It is a local election conducted by the County of Los Angeles. Los Angeles voters will be electing a new mayor, city council, and school board, along with a number of county-wide and city-wide measures. Read on to find out what role you could play in shaping the built-environment of Westwood and city of Los Angeles through your vote.

City Measure S — This is a measure that aims to increase regulation of general planning and development of housing in Los Angeles. Passing of Measure S would impose moratorium on constructions of many development projects and increase restrictions on getting new projects approved in the city of Los Angeles. Proponents argue that this will strengthen the integrity of the process in which development projects are approved. Opponents of Measure S, on the other hand, argue that moratorium and greater restrictions on development projects will result in housing shortages, exacerbating homelessness and decreasing tax revenues for public services.

While development projects – both for business and housing – may seem solely like a social issue, it is an important factor for the built-environment and consequently for the well-being of our city. For example, a study has shown that housing insecurity is associated with poor health, lower weight, and greater developmental risk for young children. The study further recommends that policymakers should prioritize policies that promote greater housing security.

In another study, researchers surveyed 68,111 adults in twelve different states, and found that housing insecurity significantly increases the risk of frequent insufficient sleep and frequent mental distress.

Thus, whether or not Measure S passes could have a long-term consequence for the well-being of Angelinos. Make sure to read more about this initiative and vote mindfully.

Another issue that is particularly relevant for Westwood residents is election of a council member for District 5, which includes Westwood. There are three candidates running for this position: Paul Koretz, Jesse Creed, and Mark Herd. While each candidate has a number of campaign agendas, this post focuses on each candidate’s position on bike lanes, public transit, and pedestrian safety.

Paul Koretz — Koretz has been a council member for District 5 since 2009. His response to the survey conducted by Bike the Vote indicates his efforts to promote biking for District 5 as well as his support for biking, more efficient transit, and pedestrian safety. However, it appears that his position on supporting Vision Zero seems inconsistent. Vision Zero aims to eliminate traffic-related death in Los Angeles in the next 20 years. Koretz states that he will continue to advocate for the safety of walkers and bikers. However, he is opposed to installing bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard, a project supported by UCLA and the Westwood Village Improvement Association.  Westwood Boulevard has been identified as one of most dangerous streets by the L.A. Department of Transportation’s High Injury Network. Coretz’s proposed alternative is to put a bike lane on Gayley Avenue instead.

Jesse Creed — Like Koretz, Creed is also in support of safety. However, his concrete plans are different. First, he has expressed his commitment to continuing the study for bike safety, which has been abandoned by Koretz. On the survey conducted by Bike The Vote, he stated, “The City’s job is to make it not dangerous” regarding the current status of Westwood Boulevard. In addition, Creed also highlights ensuring safety for all people regardless of their age, ability, and mode of transportation.

Mark Herd — Based on the Bike The Vote survey, Herd appears to support “the community’s needs.” However, compared to Koretz and Creed, his stance does not seem clear and knowledge on the issue limited.

While bike lane, public transit, and pedestrian safety reflect only partial vision of each candidates, these are issues that can influence our daily commute and long-term health and safety. Ensuring that we elect a council member who advocates for and prioritizes the mobility of their constituents is a vital step to making our community healthier. 

P.S. If you’re unsure of your polling place, you can find it here!

Miso Kwak is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Disability Studies and Education Studies. In addition to blogging for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, she plays the flute with the UCLA Woodwind Chamber Ensemble. Outside of school, she works as a mentor for high school students through Accessible Science, a nonprofit organization that facilitates science camp for blind youth.


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Mon, Feb 6, 2017 AT 11:33 am - Be Well
Celebrating the Healthy Campus Initiative: Looking back and looking forward

By Danielle de Bruin


UCLA is excitingly marking the fifth year of the presence of the Healthy Campus Initiative (HCI) on its campus. The initiative was officially launched by Chancellor Gene Block in January 2013, thanks to the vision, funding, support, and participation of philanthropists Jane and Terry Semel. In honor of this milestone, let’s take a look back at HCI’s beginnings and biggest accomplishments, as well as a look forward towards what’s on the horizon for HCI.

HCI began with the Semels’ vision to create a culture of living well on the UCLA campus — for students, staff, faculty, and the community. The goal was to cultivate a campus-wide wellness movement that would make UCLA the healthiest university campus in America, and to do it well in our own backyard such that others would be inspired to join the movement. To achieve this, the Semels worked with other key figures, including Chancellor Gene Block and Michael Goldstein, former assistant vice provost, to blend health promotion with the True Bruin values, creating a unique structure that has since served as the inspiration for other health movements, such as the UC Global Food Initiative and Michelle Obama’s Partnership for a Healthier America.

Dr. Wendy Slusser, assistant vice provost of HCI, emphasizes that HCI achieves a collective impact because it is a “coordinating structure emanating from the chancellor’s office that helps to catalyze and leverage the incredible wealth of resources and knowledge on [UCLA’s] campus.” HCI brings together stakeholders promoting physical, emotional, and social health and wellbeing, and connects them with academic departments researching and teaching related subjects such as environment, food, and life skills, as well as administrative units across campus including Dining Services, Transportation, and Recreation.

By bringing all these key players together, HCI helps to make the healthy choice the easiest choice for student, staff, and faculty. Furthermore, with its six distinct pods — MoveWell, MindWell, BEWell, EatWell, BreatheWell, and ResearchWell — HCI’s interdisciplinary approach to health and wellbeing allows it to continuously find new and innovative ways to promote health on campus.

Over the past four years, the initiative has seen many successes. From more bike lanes to an undergraduate food studies minor, a “Mindful Music” series to meditation drop-ins to a tobacco-free campus, HCI has improved UCLA’s campus in numerous ways. Dr. Slusser believes that part of HCI’s success comes from its location within the chancellor’s office. Because the chancellor oversees everyone at UCLA, even the health system, it is clear that HCI cares about everyone’s physical, emotional, and social health on campus. Furthermore, in acting as a coordinating structure, HCI embraces health initiatives already in the works on campus and connects them to the resources they need to succeed, all while giving credit where credit is due.

Another key component to making impactful change on campus was pairing faculty pod leaders with key members of UCLA staff. For example, the MoveWell pod is led by both Professor Angelia Leung and the head of UCLA Recreation Wendy Windsor, which enables the pod to take research and innovation from UCLA students, staff, and faculty and directly implement it on campus through UCLA Recreation. Similarly, the BEWell pod is led by both Professor Richard Jackson and Renee Fortier, executive director of UCLA Events and Transportation. The medicinal garden planted south of the Ronald Reagan Hospital as part of HCI is a visible example of an idea translated into reality through the interdisciplinary collaboration of the then CEO of the hospital David Feinberg, Professor Peter Whybrow, Jane Semel, and the volunteerism of the UCLA community.

When asked about what’s up next for the HCI, Jane Semel and Dr. Slusser remarked that it’s hard to predict future projects due to the collaborative and innovative nature of the Initiative. However, two big projects on the horizon include efforts to pull together all the mental health resources on campus, led by Dr. Bob Bilder, the faculty leader for the HCI BEWell pod and Professor in the Semel Institute, and the construction of a living amphitheater in the Sunset Recreation Center. Jane Semel conceived the idea of the amphitheater several years ago and brought in the support from the Chancellor, Alice Bamford and Anne Eysenring, of One Gun Ranch, Dean Teri Schwartz of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and Mick DeLuca, Assistant Vice Chancellor. Semel remarked that the upcoming living amphitheater is one of the projects she is the most proud of, as it will provide healthy food, exercise, stress-reduction, and the opportunity for community building to the UCLA community. The living amphitheater is expected to be finished in the spring and will be the location for the annual celebration of the Healthy Campus Initiative on May 4 called Dream Revolution where TFT students will perform a Midsummer’s Night Dream. As Jane Semel says: “It is a dream come true!”

What do you think have been some of the HCI’s biggest accomplishments or how has it allowed you to lead a healthier life on campus? Comment below or share your thoughts with us on Facebook!

Danielle de Bruin is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Sociology with a double minor in Italian and Global Health. She is the blog coordinator for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative and the director of UCLA’s Body Image Task Force, which is a committee within the Student Wellness Commission. With the Body Image Task Force, Danielle organizes events, workshops, and campaigns to promote healthy body image, self-confidence, and mental health on campus. She is also published in the journal PLOS Medicine and the Huffington Post.


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Thu, Jan 26, 2017 AT 11:01 am - Be Well
New Year, New Lifestyle: Ride Public Transit

By Miso Kwak

Photo via Google Images

It’s almost end of January. How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?

Exercising more, saving more, and enjoying life more are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Yet, you and I know these are not easy ones to keep.

However, there’s no need to worry, because there is a practical change you can make to fulfil all of the three resolutions at once! The solution is riding the public transit.

Exercise More

It is widely known that physical activity is positively associated with better overall health. Riding the bus or rails is an excellent way to increase your daily physical activity.

This study indicates that those who commute via bus and rail walked significantly more often than those who commuted by car. More specifically, another study showed that public transit users were more likely to walk 30 minutes or more per day than those who do not use public transit regularly.

If you are feeling frustrated that your busy schedule does not allow you to go to the gym on a regular basis, riding public transit to school, your job, or the grocery store instead of driving your car could be a great way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

Save More

As convenient as it may be to have access to a personal vehicle, there is a lot of financial cost involved, from gas to parking to car insurance to occasional repairs. With public transit, however, you need not worry about any of these expenses. You can save even more if you are a UCLA student or employee. UCLA Transportation Services offers discounts for accessing various public transportation options around UCLA such as the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, Metro buses and rails, and Culver City Bus. There is also the Bruin Bus service, which offers transportation between campus and its surrounding areas.

The amount of savings may seem small at first but with persistence, riding public transit will help you cut down costs associated with driving a personal vehicle.

Enjoy Life More

The way to define “enjoying life more” would be different from person to person. However, one common aspect could be appreciating our surroundings, from scenery to people to simply atmosphere.

Riding public transit may feel like slowing down the pace of your life, which could be frustrating at times. However, said slower pace allows us to observe and appreciate our surroundings like city streets and our neighbors. I am confident that you will find many beauties of the city like exchanging a friendly hello with passerbys or absorbing delicious smells from restaurants and street vendors on your way to school or work — things you would not notice if you were in your personal vehicle.

It is never too late to make choices that will lead to healthier and happier lifestyle. Start with riding public transit. It will positively influence your health, finance, and appreciation of the surroundings.

Miso Kwak is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Disability Studies and Education Studies. In addition to blogging for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, she plays the flute with the UCLA Woodwind Chamber Ensemble. Outside of school, she works as a mentor for high school students through Accessible Science, a nonprofit organization that facilitates science camp for blind youth.


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Tue, Jan 24, 2017 AT 11:00 am - Be Well
Community Mother and Graduate Student Led Project, Creating Space, Paves Way for Lactation Support and Women's Rights in University Setting


By Jasmine Uysal, BA, MPH Student; LeighAnna Hidalgo, PhD Candidate; Christine Vega, PhD Candidate; Nora Cisneros, PhD Candidate; and Ingrid E.Talavera-Gutierrez, BA Student

In September of 2014, new mom LeighAnna returned from summer break to her graduate studies at UCLA, only several weeks after giving birth, because of threats that her funding would lapse. Returning to campus, she was determined to breastfeed her child saying, “I wanted to show my daughter it was possible to be both a mother and professional. I wanted her to have the best start in life and, frankly, I couldn’t afford to feed her formula.”  

LeighAnna knew she had a right to pump breast milk on campus, as stated in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, 2015 California Education code 222, and 2002 Labor code 1030. These laws mandated that as a university and employer, UCLA must provide sufficient break time to pump, and appropriate, clean, and private lactation spaces. Under UC student insurance policy comprehensive women’s healthcare, LeighAnna should have lactation education resources.

While policy was designed to protect LeighAnna’s rights, the reality of her pumping experience was discriminatory. Recounting her first days back on campus LeighAnna said, “I was not aware of how the built environment on campus would make it nearly impossible for me to mother my child.” Lactation spaces are far and she did not have sufficient breaks to pump, so she went hours without pumping. LeighAnna was forced to use public bathrooms or basements that were unclean and demeaning. Soon she noticed painful swelling in her breasts but said, “there was no one to turn to for information about what was happening to my body.” From the stress of feeding her child, LeighAnna developed a painful abscess, which ultimately sent her to the emergency room.

LeighAnna’s experiences were not uncommon, as several PhD mothers have shared similar experiences. These courageous women organized together to change the narrative of mothers on campus forming the Mothers of Color in Academia de UCLA (MOCA) to mobilize for institutional change. As part of their advocacy efforts they meet weekly with university stakeholders representing parents' interests. MOCAs organize monthly and quarterly events and actions on campus to build community and raise visibility. They have put forth a petition highlighting childcare access, financial support for parenting students, and other resources to ensure UCLA supports diverse student populations, especially parenting students who are often unseen in academia. Lactation spaces and breastfeeding are at the forefront of their petition’s demands and their petition has over 700 supporters to date.

Experts agree that breastfeeding is the best nutritional practice, with numerous benefits both for the mother, child, and society. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends six months of exclusive breastfeeding. Dr. May Wang, Professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Maternal and Child Nutrition specialist, explains, “Babies that are exclusively breastfed for six months are less likely to get infections and develop allergies while the mother has decreased risk for cancer. Breastfeeding also promotes bonding and natural birth spacing.” The Surgeon General of the United States notes that exclusive breastfeeding could save between $1,200-$1,500 annually on formula costs. Breastfeeding also lowers healthcare costs and improves worker productivity.

Despite the benefits of breastfeeding, women still struggle with discriminatory burden in education settings. A 2016 press release from Breastfeed LA reported, 60% of working breastfeeding mothers do not have access to appropriate break time or spaces and most schools do not have lactation policy. This leads to a drop in breastfeeding rates once mothers re-enter the university. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report only 24% of mothers in California breastfeed exclusively for 6 months. Yet, few studies exist documenting the lactation needs on college campuses.

While UCLA policy states that UCLA will provide “private lactation space” and “lactation break periods” for employees, evidence shows a different reality. The official map of lactation spaces lists 10 lactation spaces spread over 419 acres of land and 163 buildings. MOCA mothers recounted that they usually walked for over 20 minutes to reach a designated lactation space, which was still often inaccessible or inappropriate. In comparison, UC Davis has over 35 lactation spaces spread out to ensure no distance is more than a 5 minute walk. There is no data at UCLA on the needs of lactating individuals. The Student Workers Union (UAW-285) summarizes the situation explaining, “the university campus is configured to be less accessible to women, particularly mothers.”

In response, a new graduate student led project, Creating Space, has emerged to improve the UCLA breastfeeding climate. The project is born out of MOCA’s  organizing efforts, founded by The Reproductive Health Interest Group (RHIG) and lead in dual partnership, bringing together a vast list of stakeholders including the following: the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, the Healthy Campus Initiative BE Well Pod, UCLA facilities, UCLA transportation, ASHE Student Health & Wellness Center, UCLA Student Health Education & Promotion, Bruin Resource Center Students with Dependents, Student Workers Union (UAW-2865), Staff Assembly, and the Fielding School of Public Health. Despite a long list of partners, Creating Space retains community ownership with the MOCA mothers.

The project involves four distinct phases implemented in 2016-2017 to improve the UCLA breastfeeding climate. The Creating Space stakeholder group, including MOCA, community stakeholders, student researchers from RHIG, will:

1. Conduct a needs assessment capturing the qualitative experiences of students.

2. Form a stakeholder group across campus to guide implementation of the project and strengthen the voice of parenting students.

3. Increase access to lactation education by training UCLA staff in lactation counseling in Spring 2017.

4. Map and assess existing UCLA lactation spaces and increase the number of lactation rooms on campus.

Through the continued grassroots efforts of MOCA and support through the stakeholder group and founding organization RHIG, Creating Space will create a positive breastfeeding climate on UCLA campus. If successful, the Creating Space project could become a new model to update existing universities breastfeeding climate and breastfeeding mother’s like LeighAnna will have the institutional and cultural support they are entitled to. This groundbreaking work will pave the way and incite future organizing efforts, led by parenting students like MOCA, to advocate and demand lactation services and attention to parenting needs as a reproductive right.

Creating Space is a lactation accommodation, support, and education program designed to improve the breastfeeding climate at UCLA. Creating Space was inspired from the courageous advocacy campaign centered around rights of parenting students started by the Mothers of Color in Academia (MOCA) and founded by The Reproductive Health Interest Group (RHIG) out of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Together the organizations have partnered their efforts going forward to maximize impacts and community empowerment with emphasis on community ownership. As community based participatory research, Creating Space seeks to meet the needs of lactating mothers on campus and while researching and documenting mother’s lactation experiences on UCLA campus. To connect with MOCA or RHIG please contact mothersofcolorinacademia@gmail.com and uclarhig@gmail.com.


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Thu, Jan 19, 2017 AT 2:39 pm - Be Well
Ways to conserve water in your apartment

By Danielle de Bruin

Photo via Flickr

As all California residents should know by now, the Golden state is experiencing a massive drought. We are now in our fifth year of drought and over 40% of the state is experiencing “extreme drought.” The severe lack of water has led to devastating forest fires and farmers have lost hundreds of millions of dollars; furthermore, produce prices have risen and the government has had to reallocate money from other budgets to provide drought relief. As the drought compromises the production of food, it impacts the health of everyone in California (as well as the rest of the country, since California is the largest producer of produce in the U.S.) through our nutrition.

While the California drought can seem like a far-away problem that is beyond the scope the individual, college students can make small changes to their daily lives to save water and keep the drought from worsening. Try out some of the tips below to save water in your apartment and do your part in conserving water.

1. Take shorter showers (or take fewer!) — The average shower uses 5 gallons of water per minute. If you shortened your showers or took one less shower a week, you could save hundreds to thousands of gallons of water per year! For example, if you take five showers a week and shortened them all by just one minute, you’d save 1,300 gallons of water in just one year!

2. Turn off the shower while shaving — Another way to save water while showering is to turn off the shower whenever you’re not using it, whether you’re shampooing, shaving, or exfoliating. If you don’t explicitly need the water, turn the shower off until you do!

3. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or washing your face or hands — Again, letting the tap run while you’re not using it in the moment is an easy way to save water.

4. Fix leaks in your apartment ASAP — Leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water loss per year. If you notice one in your apartment, contact your landlord immediately to have it fixed. In addition to conserving water, getting the leak fixed could save you a lot of money on your water bill!

5. Use your dishwasher and clothes washer only for full loads — Dishwasher use 10-15 gallons of water per load while older clothes washers can use as many as 45 gallons (!) of water per load. If you only use them for full loads, you’ll have to run each appliance fewer times, saving money in the long run.

6. Put a waterbottle in the fridge to cool down instead of running the tap until the water gets cold

7. Use your leftover pasta water to water your plants — Repurpose your water! Your plants can’t tell the difference between tap water and pasta water, so reuse it!

If we all slightly change our habits, together we could make a huge contribution to drought relief in California. So, as we enter a new calendar year and a new quarter at UCLA, please consider setting an intention to save more water in your apartment, dorm, or on campus — it could even be your New Year’s Resolution!

Danielle de Bruin is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Sociology with a double minor in Italian and Global Health. She is the blog coordinator for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative and the director of UCLA’s Body Image Task Force, which is a committee within the Student Wellness Commission. With the Body Image Task Force, Danielle organizes events, workshops, and campaigns to promote healthy body image, self-confidence, and mental health on campus. She is also published in the journal PLOS Medicine and the Huffington Post.


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Mon, Dec 19, 2016 AT 1:01 pm - Be Well
Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas

By Miso Kwak

Photo via Google Images

With the holidays fast approaching, many of us are busy brainstorming gift ideas for family members and friends. As college students, we often hunt for gifts that are affordable, chasing different sales and deals. But have you ever thought about giving gifts that are eco-friendly?

Here are a few gift ideas that can have long-term positive impact on the environment and well-being:

Reusable, portable utensils

When we eat at a restaurant, especially those that provide a quick service, it is not uncommon to find plastic utensils. They may enhance convenience, but they are detrimental to our environment.

According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 8 million tons of plastic trash leak into ocean annually, and that amount is continuously increasing.

As a consequence, an increasing number of fish are consuming microplastic particles. This recent study found that when larval perch have access to microplastic particles, they only eat plastic and ignored their natural food source of free-swimming zooplankton. As a result, larval perch display abnormal behavior and stunted growth.

The negative consequences of plastic waste do not stop in the marine ecosystem. Plastic waste also has the potential to negatively affect human health through consumption of seafood .

So consider giving reusable utensils to your family and friends. It may seem like an small gift or small step forward, but it will be a step to the right direction in fighting the battle with increasing plastic particles in our ocean today.

Reusable shopping bags

Another common source of plastic waste comes from plastic grocery bags. However, with the passage of Proposition 67, it is the perfect time to give a reusable shopping bag as a gift. As this LA Times article points out, the proposition will not be effective unless we take an action to be conscious about using a reusable shopping bag.

Plants

Finally, consider giving a gift that can grow whether it is a potted plant, tree planting kit, or seed paper. It could be an excellent gift for a wide range of people in your network, from your friend living on the Hill, to your parents working in the office, to grandparents who may simply enjoy gardening at home. Growing plants not only supports the ecosystem but also benefits human health, as a study found that the presence of plants in the office setting and workers’ tension were negatively associated. In other words, giving a growable gift will positively change the built-environment for our family and friends in such a way that promotes both a greener planet and better health.

So, this holiday season, express your love and gratitude while also doing good for the environment! If you have any other eco-friendly gift ideas, please let us know via comments and social media platforms.

Miso Kwak is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Disability Studies and Education Studies. In addition to blogging for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, she plays the flute with the UCLA Woodwind Chamber Ensemble. Outside of school, she works as a mentor for high school students through Accessible Science, a nonprofit organization that facilitates science camp for blind youth.

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Wed, Nov 9, 2016 AT 8:11 am - Be Well
How Sidewalks Can Dis/Able Us

By Miso Kwak

Whether you are walking to class, going to the gym, or getting groceries, the sidewalk may be something you take for granted. Many of the different parts that make up our daily built-environment go unnoticed. For some people, however, the built-environment can be a significantly limiting factor that literally “disables” them.

In the fall quarter of my sophomore year, I took Disability Studies 101: Perspectives on Disability Studies. It was an introductory course to Disability Studies exposing students to different perspectives that frame people’s understandings of disability. One of the angles the class used in discussing disability was social and policy perspectives, which covered a wide range of topics including aging with disability, chronic illness, and the built-environment. I still vividly remember one of articles I read for the class that discussed how the built-environment affects persons with a disability almost two years later. The author, Christopher Baswell, was a visiting professor from the University of York who uses a wheelchair. Baswell’s main point in the article was how certain buildings in his university make him “crippled” more than other buildings do. For example, in the British Library, he was “able-bodied” because he could “move about as easily as other library users.” In Bodleian Library of the Oxford University however, he was “crippled, reduced to begging for help on the pavement outside.” Although it is not explicitly mentioned in the article, we can infer that the British Library was build such that wheelchair users can navigate the library independently, whereas the Bodleian Library lacked facilities such as ramps and elevators that would enable wheelchair users to move around easily. In sum, the article was a clear example of how our environment constructs how we experience disability.

As a blind student, I could relate to Baswell on a personal level, and I could immediately think of a number of areas on UCLA campus that “disable” mobility for people with different physical challenges. One such area was a sidewalk in front of Schoenberg Music Building near the Inverted Fountain. As shown in the picture below, the sidewalk was narrow and bumpy because of tree roots that were sticking out of the ground.

Before construction; Photo via Sanna Alas

As I write this post, however, I am happy and grateful to say that this area is no longer “disabling.” A construction project took place at the end of the 2016 winter quarter, making this part of the sidewalk safe and accessible. Every time I walk by this place, I feel hopeful because it is a proof that UCLA is taking the right steps toward making the campus welcoming and accessible to everyone.

After construction; Photo via Ana Bonilla

One of projects in progress for the BE-Well pod this academic year is Sidewalk Campaign. Through this project, the BE-Well pod hopes to address the importance of having safe and accessible sidewalks on and around the campus. A study has shown that having a well-maintained walking surface was the main functional factor that is associated with people getting out and walking. Addressing the issue of accessibility and safety of sidewalks on and around the campus will not only make our built-environment “non-disabling,” but also encourage the UCLA community to engage in walking more, thereby living healthier.

Can you think of any areas on and around campus where the quality of sidewalk could be improved? Share on social media or comment below if there’s an area on UCLA’s campus you’d like to see improved by the Sidewalk Campaign!

Miso Kwak is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Disability Studies and Education Studies. In addition to blogging for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, she plays the flute with the UCLA Woodwind Chamber Ensemble. Outside of school, she works as a mentor for high school students through Accessible Science, a nonprofit organization that facilitates science camp for blind youth.

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Thu, Nov 3, 2016 AT 10:34 am - Be Well
The Era of Vaping

By Joyce Lan

The Transition from Smoking to Vaping

Imagine this, you are sitting outside on your balcony, enjoying the gentle night breeze, as you unwind from your long, stressful day at work. However, as you close your eyes to relax, your neighbor lights up a cigarette on his balcony. Immediately, the gentle breeze blows the smoke your way, surrounding you in a murky cloud of second-hand smoke. To avoid the fumes, you quickly leave the premises and head inside for a drink of water. What a fantastic way to end the day!

Studies show that the current public perception of smoking has come a long way, evolving due to people’s increased awareness of smoking hazards. Unfortunately, many still choose to put the cigarette between their lips again and again despite knowing the health risks involved with smoking, which include coronary heart disease and the development of lung cancer.

Although some may have initially developed the interest as a way to alleviate stress, or to socialize more with their co-workers, their inability to quit demonstrates the toxic chemical power packed into that small roll of paper.

So, what is the alternative to quitting cold turkey or using nicotine patches? The latest, most popular solution is e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes), also known as vaping.

Photo via Google Images

Vaping, in A Few Words

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines e-cigarettes as a product advertised by manufacturers as the safer alternative to smoking. It lacks tobacco, along with its toxic carcinogens, therefore making it ‘safer’. It is a device designed to help smokers gradually quit. But who is truly benefiting from the marketing of e-cigarettes?

The WHO report calculates that the global industry earns approximately 3 billion dollars from the marketing and distribution of the product. Also, there are about 466 brands selling the product and related versions alike. Furthermore, with the availability of approximately 8,000 unique flavours on the market, it’s no wonder more people are vaping instead of smoking!

Photo via Google Images

The Cause for Concern

E-cigarettes and vaping are often thought of as the safer form of smoking. You get the “coolness” of smoking without the dire health consequences… Right?

Contrary to popular opinion, current professionals’ findings suggest otherwise. Currently, Dr. Avrum Spira, a pulmonary care physician and professor of medicine and pathology at Boston University, urges people to be wary of what they are breathing into our bodies.

E-cigarettes vaporize liquid that contains nicotine and flavouring, but is that all? According to Spira, the conversion of liquid to vapor changes the chemical composition of the liquid, causing you to potentially breathe in other chemicals besides the vaporized nicotine.

Moreover, the results of Spira’s preliminary research is not positive. It demonstrated that when e-cigarette chemicals come into contact with the mutated human lung cells of smokers who are about to develop lung cancer (their cultured cells), the lung cells became “more cancer-like”.

The Other Side’s Argument

On the other hand, there are also others who believe that the vaping ‘issue’ is not really an issue at all. Boston University Public Health Professor Michael Siegel strongly believes that the use of e-cigarettes will aid cigarette addicts and continue to do so. In fact, he believes that research regarding vaping should be redirected towards a more positive note. It should not restrict the utilization of vaping and condemn users, but help current smokers gradually quit smoking. In other words, e-cigarettes should should fulfill its original purpose, and help the addicted eventually quit.

To Vape or Not Vape, That Is the Question.

At present, it appears that there are conflicting views within the medical community regarding the benefits and regulation of e-cigarettes. While the WHO, the FDA, and Pulmonologist Avrum Spira assert that there may be negative health consequences related to vaping, Public Health Professor Michael Siegel and his supporters advocate for the continued marketing and use of e-cigarettes, along with more (positive) research regarding the effects of vaping. And so, the debate, and the research, continues. Which side will you take?

Joyce Lan is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Linguistics & Asian Languages and Cultures. She is the Website & Media Chair of BreatheLA at UCLA, a club that seeks to raise awareness of UCLA’s tobacco and vape-free policy.




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Wed, Nov 2, 2016 AT 8:08 am - Be Well
UCLA to Experience a New Level of Bikability

By Jimmy Tran, UCLA Transportation Bike and Pedestrian Planner

Santa Monica’s Bike Share hub at City Hall; Photo via UCLA Transportation

Short term bike rentals, popularly known as bike share, are appearing across Los Angeles County. From the green Hulu bikes in Santa Monica to the blue bikes in Long Beach, bike share programs give residents and visitors alike a new way to experience a sustainable and healthy mode of transportation. UCLA is gearing up to join the ride with the launch of its bike share program this spring! Like many of the Westside cities, UCLA will work with the vendor CycleHop to bring a bike share program to campus. The bikes and hubs will be located on key parts of the campus and in Westwood Village where there is already a significant amount of foot traffic. There will be 16 hub locations, including Powell Library, Luskin Conference Center, UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, and Broxton Avenue in Westwood Village.

A major appeal of existing bike share programs are their user-friendliness. CycleHop utilizes ‘smart bikes’ where real-time information is available to report bike and hub availability, remaining rental time, and distance biked. UCLA students, staff, and visitors will be able to rent these bikes using smart phones, Metro TAP cards, or via the kiosks at larger bike hubs. Flexible memberships and pay-as-you-go options will accommodate the needs of riders. CycleHop summarizes the rental process in four steps: Reserve, Release, Ride and Return.

The process for renting out bikes from CycleHop Bike Share Programs; Photo via Santa Monica Breeze Bike Share

With this user-friendly bike share program, UCLA continues it’s efforts to improve and upgrade campus infrastructure. In 2015, UCLA attained Silver status in the League of American Bicyclists’ Bike Friendly University program by increasing the number and quality of bike lanes. This is important as UCLA aims to attract riders who are interested in biking, but concerned about the availability of protected bike lanes.  Additionally, UCLA provides numerous amenities and programs across campus including: the UCLA Bike Shop, numerous bike racks and repair stands, shower access for commuters, benefits for members of the Bruin Commuter Club, bicycle traffic safety classes, a new bicycle citation diversion process, and an Earn-A-Bike program. Implementing a bike share program will further strengthen the University’s role as a leader in promoting bike culture and safety.

Earlier this year, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) released a report that found bike share programs in seven different U.S. cities experienced increases in the amount of cycling and decreases in the risk of death or injury for each individual rider. The report highlighted how bike share programs improve the visibility of cyclists, which makes bike riding safer for everyone. NACTO emphasized that bike share programs fared better for safety outcomes when coupled with protected bike lanes.  

Good bike infrastructure already exists at UCLA with more to come in time for the launch of its bike share. UCLA will install several protected bike lanes on campus including westbound on Strathmore Place, on Westwood Plaza between the Gonda building and the Westwood/Strathmore intersection, and on Charles E. Young Dr. South near the Center for Health Sciences. In addition, supplementing ongoing Bike Friendly University efforts with bicycling awareness and education programs will be key to tackling safety issues and making bike share enjoyable to all Bruins.


National Public health Week participants begin the 2016 tour of UCLA’s bike Infrastructure led by Stantec Engineer Rock Miller (pictured far right). Photo via UCLA Fielding School of Public Health



Tue, Oct 18, 2016 AT 9:04 am - Be Well
Far From The Tree: A Book that Will Expand Your Understanding of Disability

By Miso Kwak

Photo via Google Images

As a person with disability and a student pursuing a Disability Studies minor, I have read a lot of literature on disability. While there are many great books on disability, my favorite is Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity.

A friend of mine recommended this book to me just before my sophomore year at UCLA began. At first, I was overwhelmed by the size of the book, as it is over 700 pages long. In fact, it took me most of my sophomore year to finish the book! Ever since finishing the book, however, I have been fervently recommending this book to many of my friends.

In this book, Andrew Solomon explores how horizontal identity affects the relationship between parents and children. By “horizontal identity,” Andrew Solomon means “an inherent or acquired trait that is foreign to his or her parents” due to a variety of reasons, which may include “recessive genes, random mutations, prenatal influences, or values and preferences that a child does not share with his progenitors” (p. 2). Examples may include sexual orientation, gender preference, and ability status. More specifically, Andrew Solomon focuses on deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, severe disability, musical prodigies, children conceived by rape, criminals, and transgender individuals in the book. Each of these topics represents horizontal identity; parents and children inevitably experience the world differently because of these physical and/or psychological differences.

The book is based on Andrew Solomon’s interviews with more than 300 families, but also includes Solomon’s own story of becoming a father. Each story featured in the book is genuine. Solomon did not shy away from including raw, challenging, and, at times, tragic reality of living with what the society considers abnormal conditions. Solomon was also careful to not exaggerate positive aspects, and he successfully avoided inspiration porn. Each story and commentary is insightful and unique in its own ways. However, all of the stories are also tied together by a common thread: a desire to embrace differences, express love, and exercise hope.

Overall, Andrew Solomon sends a message that what the society may see as deviant does not get in the way of living a fulfilling, meaningful life. He also contends that the concept of disability is fluid rather than fixed. Furthermore, it could embody strength. He eloquently writes, “We are all differently abled from one another, and context – which is socially constructed – often decides what will be protected and indulged” (p. 33).

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Despite the ongoing effort to raise awareness and bridge the gap between those who are viewed as disabled and non-disabled, people with disabilities are continually marginalized in many ways. Reading Far From the Tree (even just one of the chapters!) would be a great way to expand your understanding on disability and think about how physical and psychological differences can be valuable aspects of diversity in our society rather than deficits to be stigmatized.


Miso Kwak is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Disability Studies and Education Studies. In addition to blogging for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, she plays the flute with the UCLA Woodwind Chamber Ensemble. Outside of school, she works as a mentor for high school students through Accessible Science, a nonprofit organization that facilitates science camp for blind youth.


Wed, Oct 5, 2016 AT 7:58 am - Be Well
Loud Yet Easily Overlooked: Noise Pollution in Dorms and Apartments

By Miso Kwak

Photo via Google Images

It was about 11 PM, and, after a long day of moving in, I was more than ready to sleep. However, the street just outside my window was booming with loud music and sounds of people chatting, putting a good night’s sleep just out of reach. It was only the first night in my apartment and I could not help but worry that I might have to deal with sleep-disrupting loud noise throughout the school year.

Whether you are living on the Hill or in an off-campus housing arrangement, my experience may sound familiar to you. According to this study, one of the top five reasons why college students lack sleep was dorm noise. In addition to lack of sleep, living in a noisy environment can negatively affect our health in other ways as well. However, there are many strategies to combat noise pollution and prevent it from negatively affecting our health.

What is noise pollution?

Noise pollution is unwanted or disturbing sound. It can include anything from the loud music coming from your neighbor’s room to the sound of a lawn mower to audible conversations down the hallway. While it may not be something many people think about seriously, noise around us is a part of our daily built-environment that can threaten our health and disrupts our quality of life.

Noise pollution and physical health

Noise may be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This research found that exposure to noise pollution increases blood pressure, changes heart rate, and causes release of stress hormone. This may be because of the emotional stress reaction as body perceives discomfort from the noise and nonconscious physiological stress resulting from the interaction between the central auditory system and other regions of the central nervous system.

Noise pollution and mental health

Noise also may affect mental health. While there is no direct association between exposure to noise and mental health conditions, it may contribute to a wide range of symptoms such as anxiety, stress, nervousness, and emotional instability. Another study demonstrated an association between noise level and aggressive behavior.

Noise pollution and sleep

Lastly, yet perhaps most importantly, noise disturbs a good night of sleep. More specifically, noise may cause difficulty falling asleep and frequent awakening, which lead to sleep deprivation and number of other negative health consequences such as depressed mood, decreased cognitive performance, and fatigue.

What Can We Do?

One option is wearing ear plugs when you are sleeping. You can grab them for free from the Powell Reading Room behind the CLICC desk.

Another option is to communicate with your roommates and/or neighbors. Discuss with your roommate(s) about each other’s sleeping and studying habits and what each other’s comfort level is. Agree on what works for you and your roommate(s). If neighbors next door or upstairs are the source of loud noise, let them know as well. I personally had an instance in which I had to talk with neighbor upstairs about their noise level and was able to resolve the issue by opening up a discussion.

Noise pollution, especially in college living environment, is a loud problem, yet often overlooked. Being mindful and respectful of people around you could be a great first step. When we communicate with one another and are intentional about our behaviors, we could easily make our living space quieter and healthier.


Miso Kwak is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Disability Studies and Education Studies. In addition to blogging for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, she plays the flute with the UCLA Woodwind Chamber Ensemble. Outside of school, she works as a mentor for high school students through Accessible Science, a nonprofit organization that facilitates science camp for blind youth.


Tue, Sep 20, 2016 AT 11:49 am - Be Well
UCLA Health and Wellness Resources 101: A Guide for New Students

By Danielle de Bruin

Photo via Google Images

In addition to the Healthy Campus Initiative, there are many great health and wellness resources for students on UCLA’s campus. If you’re new to campus, use this list to familiarize yourself with the resources that can help you enjoy the best and healthiest college experience possible.

UCLA Recreation — UCLA offers numerous places to workout on campus, all free with your Bruin card: the John Wooden Center, the Bruin Fitness Center (BFit), Drake Stadium, Sunset Canyon Recreation (which boasts multiple pools), and the Los Angeles Tennis Center. UCLA Recreation also offers numerous fitness classes every quarter, from yoga to barbell to salsa dancing, so you can try something new every quarter if you desire! You can also rent bikes at the Bike Shop or camping equipment at the Equipmental Rental center.

UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) — UCLA’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) center describes itself as a multi-disciplinary mental health center. In addition to offered individual counseling session to students, it offers group therapy, wellness workshops, and much more. CAPS is located in John Wooden Center West and is available to all students (though the quantity of services or sessions available depends on whether or not you subscribe to UCLA’s health insurance, UCSHIP). More than one in four students utilize CAPS, so if there’s something bothering you or you need someone to talk to about your college transition, don’t be afraid to use it --make an appointment today simply by showing up at the front desk. Check out this CAPS brochure for a list of all their services.

LGBTQ Campus Resource Center — The LGBTQ Campus Resource Center offers a wide range of services to students, from academic mentors to career counseling to individual counseling. The center has fours CAPS counsellors in-residence that are available for drop-in counseling throughout the week and offers LGBTQ-specific therapy groups. The center also boasts a library, cyber center, and an ally training program, and hosts numerous events for students a quarter.

Student Wellness Commission (SWC) — The Student Wellness Commission is an office within the Undergraduate Student Association Counsel. The commission is made up of 12 student-run committees that address all aspects of student health and wellness on campus, from mental health to consent education to body image. SWC puts on dozens of health-related events for students each quarter and provides free condoms and feminine hygiene products outside its office (Kerckhoff 308). Keep up-to-date on their events by liking their facebook page.

Cafe 580 — Cafe 580, located at 580 Hilgard Avenue (inside St. Alban’s Episcopal Church), provides free meals to financially struggling students. The cafe offers free meals three times a day Monday through Friday and feeds everyone that knocks on its door, no questions asked.

Bruin Resource Center (BRC)  — The Bruin Resource Center, located in Bradley Hall on the hill, provides many resources for UCLA students, including transfers, veterans, active military, undocumented students, and students with dependents. The BRC also runs UCLA’s GRIT counseling program, which offers free peer-to-peer counseling. You can sign up for a GRIT coach here.

Student Activities Center (SAC) — The Student Activities Center, located in Dickson court, is home to numerous campus resources. The Community Programs Office (CPO) contains the Student Retention Center (SRC) which provides services to help retain students, especially those who have historically lacked support in higher education, until graduation. You can also the UCLA Test bank (where you can get a copy of the last final your professor gave by trading in one of your exams), the CPO Computer Lab (with free printing for all students), a nightly Study Hall, the Commuter Van Ride Service, and the Writing Success Program to support the academic and holistic development of students. The CPO food closet, where financially struggling students can find canned foods and fresh produce, is located in room 111 and open from 8am-6pm. SAC is also home to a pool and basketball courts.  

Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars — The Dashew center, located in Bradley Hall on the hill, aims to support UCLA’s 12,000 international students. The center has numerous programs throughout the year, most of which are open to all UCLA students. The center assists international students with visa applications and coordinates programs such as Thanksgiving dinner and language circles.

Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) — The Office for Students with Disabilities works to support and meet the educational needs of Bruins with disabilities. The office offers note-taking services, van rides around campus, support groups, individual counseling, test-taking accommodations, and more.

Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center — The Ashe center is UCLA’s student health center. Here you can make appointments for your annual check-up, get free flu vaccines, pick up a free toothbrush, and fill prescriptions at the pharmacy. Call (310) 825-4073 to make an appointment or learn more about the services Ashe offers.

Title IX Office — The Title IX education amendment prohibits any discrimination due to sex or gender on campus. The office on campus exists to ensure that UCLA’s community remains free of discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. If you ever wish to discuss your rights on campus or feel as if your rights have been violated, the Title IX office’s doors are open to you.



Danielle de Bruin is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Sociology with a double minor in Italian and Global Health. She is the blog coordinator for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative and the director of UCLA’s Body Image Task Force, which is a committee within the UCLA Student Wellness Commission. With the Body Image Task Force, Danielle organizes events, workshops, and campaigns to promote healthy body image, self-confidence, and mental health on campus. She is also a published co-author in the journal PLOS Medicine.


Fri, Aug 19, 2016 AT 10:10 am - Be Well
Humanitarian Spotlight: Gino Strada and EMERGENCY Healthcare

By Aubrey Freitas

Photo via Creative Commons

Everyone in this world makes sacrifices and has beliefs they fervently up hold, but humanitarian aid workers, many of whom serve at the front lines in impoverished areas, go above and beyond for those in need. For the past seven years these men and women have been honored on August 19th, World Humanitarian Day. This celebration was established by the United Nations to recognize and commend all aid workers for the bravery and dedication they have displayed, especially because many go unrecognized in day to day life. Over 130 million people require humanitarian assistance globally to survive, so it is incredibly important that we take the time to thank and celebrate humanitarians for the amazing impact they have on our global community.

  There is one man in particular that has made tremendous sacrifices and shown extraordinary bravery through his actions as a humanitarian: Gino Strada. Strada, born in Milan, Italy on April 21, 1948, has been achieving remarkable feats in the world of healthcare for over two decades. The 68-year-old is the co-founder of the UN-recognized organization, EMERGENCY, which is a highly specialized medical humanitarian organization that aims to provide quality healthcare to people of war-torn countries. Since it’s creation in 1994, EMERGENCY has provided care for over six million people in fifteen different countries, and the numbers are only rising, according to The Guardian.

Strada began his humanitarian efforts after graduating from the University of Milan in 1978 as an MD with a specialization in trauma surgery. After coming to the United States in the 1980s, he worked as a lung and heart transplant surgeon at Stanford University and the University of Pittsburgh until 1989 when he left his position to start working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), where he focused on trauma surgery and war victims. Strada’s work with the ICRC lead him to places like Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Somalia, and is what ultimately inspired him and his late wife, Teresa Strada, to start EMERGENCY. Working with the Red Cross was ultimately not enough for Strada; he wanted to make bigger contributions in the world of medicine by creating hospitals that provided a higher standard of care for citizens of war-torn areas. Strada was not the sole believer in this dream; after their time with the Red Cross came to a close, Strada and his wife were able to gather a group of their coworkers who shared the same mentality, forming the original sector of volunteer doctors that served the organization. Strada’s wife would later serve as president of EMERGENCY, and it is her charisma and dedication to which Strada credits both the amount of volunteers that aided them in later years and the success of the nonprofit in its entirety.

EMERGENCY works in collaboration with local governments. Trainers impart knowledge and skills to local healthcare professionals and leave once the site has proven to be stable. EMERGENCY has built much more than just hospitals; their additions also include specialized surgical, rehabilitation, pediatric, first aid, healthcare, and maternity centers, as well as mobile and outpatient clinics that offer help to migrants and unaccompanied minors. All services provided by EMERGENCY are free of charge, as the organization views healthcare as a basic and inalienable human right. Throughout the years, the organization has created hospitals in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and the Central African Republic. In 1996 they built the first hospital in Iraqi Kurdistan, in 2003 they opened the first cardiac center in Africa, and today they have eight hospitals in conflict areas, as well as 54 first-aid posts and healthcare centers in heavily mined areas, or otherwise close to the front lines.

Strada and EMERGENCY heavily campaign against the root cause of war and human suffering, and protested Italy’s military involvement in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In 1997, EMERGENCY’s protesting influenced the Italian government’s decision to ban the production and use of antipersonnel landmines. Strada revealed in an interview with Right Livelihood that he refused to accept financial support from the Italian Foreign Ministry in 2001 and 2003, because he believed it contradictory for an organization that is involved in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to express desire to help civilians that were harmed by the war.

EMERGENCY is an organization created to help people. It believes in the greater good of people, and all involved with the group campaign for a world without war. Gino Strada took his passion for peace and healing and created something amazing: a health organization that has been improving the lives of those who need it most, yet are often overlooked because of the financial and physical state of their country. EMERGENCY has impacted the world of healthcare by showing that the wellness of all persons is equally important, and that the establishment of healing centers on the front lines is possible with enough bravery and dedication. Gino Strada is a humanitarian who has gone above and beyond the duties of his job description by living his beliefs in his day-to-day life and being a forceful advocate for change. At 68 years old, Strada continues to practice medicine for EMERGENCY clinics and hospitals, along with his daughters who have joined to campaign, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

If you are interested in learning more about EMERGENCY, would like to donate to the cause, intern with the organization, or volunteer for them, you can visit the official website here for more information.


Aubrey Freitas is an undergraduate student at UCLA double majoring in English Literature and Psychology with a minor in Italian. She is a blogger for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative in the Mind Well section, which focuses on the importance of mindfulness and mental health. Aubrey is the founder of the organization Warm Hearts to Warm Hands, which teaches the skill of knitting to people of the community in return for their donation of an article of clothing they create with the skill, to be given to local homeless shelters.


Mon, May 2, 2016 AT 9:36 am - Be Well
Bruin Steps: Introducing UCLA HCI's Sidewalk Series

By Miso Kwak

Whether we may be aware of it or not, our daily surroundings have a big impact on our health and safety. An easy example may be how having trees on our streets improve the quality of air we breathe. Another is how the quality of water we use and drink could directly influence our health.

In this light, what seems to go unnoticed often around the UCLA’s campus are its sidewalks. Sidewalks may not seem as important, but they allow for safer walking. In turn, they encourage physical mobility and exercise.

While many of the sidewalks on campus are of fair quality, many of sidewalks surrounding areas of UCLA are poorly maintained. Can you think of a moment when you or your friend tripped over tree roots that are sticking out on cracked surfaces of the sidewalk? How about when a friend who uses mobility aids could not go through because the sidewalk surface was uneven or not wide enough?

Overgrown roots of trees, narrow width, unevenness of the ground, and arrangement of street furniture are some of factors that make sidewalks inaccessible and unsafe. The images included below are just a few examples of those concerns-- and may be familiar to the many of you who traverse the streets of Westwood. 

    

Such characteristics are obstacles especially for people who use mobility aids like wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. However, they are also factors that degrade usability and friendliness of sidewalk for those who do not use assistive mobility devices. Too narrow of sidewalks or sidewalks that have unstable surface lead pedestrians on to the road regardless of their means of travel, which leads to dangerous situations for both pedestrians and drivers.

What then, makes sidewalks accessible and friendly for every type of pedestrian?

First, as suggested by Heather McCain, the executive director of Citizens for Accessible Neighborhoods, and the United States Access Board's standards for floor and ground surfaces, the surface of sidewalks should be stable, solid, flat, and made of materials that can prevent slipping. Additionally, sidewalks should be wide enough for wheelchairs to pass through.

For visually impaired pedestrians, in addition to having a stable and solid surface, it is also important to have access to raised tactile surface, materials with contrasting auditory properties when tapped by cane, and contrasting color to obtain helpful information for wayfinding.

Lastly, street furniture (e.g., benches, trees, street lamps, and signs) should be arranged in a mindful way that considers pedestrians with mobility impairment and visual impairment prior to considering aesthetics. 

   





Fri, Oct 30, 2015 AT 4:38 pm - Be Well
Beyond the Disability Awareness Month

by Miso Kwak




Perhaps some of you already know that October is National Disability Awareness month. There are many days in October relating to a variety of disabilities such as World Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day on October 7th, World Mental Health Day on October 10th, and White Cane Safety Day and Blind Americans Equality Day on October 15th. In addition, there are events that aim to raise awareness of disability, such as resource fair for students with disabilities, presentation by a Paralympian, and American Sign Language (ASL) workshops. Such events indeed raise awareness of disability by facilitating interaction between  those who identify as having a disability and those who do not.

While such awareness days and events engage the public's attention to the idea of disability, celebrating merely a month to gain societal attention is insufficient to truly "raise awareness" of disability. As one of only a few blind students at UCLA, my daily interaction with those who do not identify with a disability on and off campus reflects the shortcoming in the public's understanding of being blind. For instance, it is not uncommon for me to meet people who do not know what the White cane is. Many of them just call it a "stick." Nor do people know what Braille or  a screen reader is. It is only when they ask me, "How do you read textbooks," or "How do you use a computer," we begin to talk about what it is like for me to be a blind student. It seems that many people are hesitant to ask such questions, perhaps out of fear they may seem ignorant or I might be offended. However, I believe that true awareness of disability begins only when we have such conversations.

Even I, who was born blind and grew up being around many others with disabilities, do not understand everything about different types of disabilities. For example, not until I took a course titled History of Deaf Community in America, I knew about the Deaf theater and the controversy of oralism versus manualism, a few of many aspects that make the Deaf culture unique. I am constantly learning too. This is why just a month of trying to engage the public in the discourse of disability is not enough. It is only a starting point. The dialogue that fosters learning about each and every person's different abilities needs to continue beyond the month of October. Only with the continued dialogue, we will be able to have greater awareness of what we now commonly call “disabilities.” My hope is that eventually we will recognize disabilities as different abilities.


Check out this awesome video portraying a regular day in Miso's life while she walks to class!


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Tue, Apr 7, 2015 AT 3:04 pm - Be Well
Westwood Boulevard bike lanes are back on the table

See this exciting new update on Westwood Boulevard bike lanes from Be a Green Commuter!










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Sun, Feb 1, 2015 AT 4:03 pm - Be Well
Westwood’s walkable street culture should be prioritized

Are you familiar with walkable street culture? Are you curious to know more about the potential that Westwood Village has in this regard? See this Daily Bruin opinion piece by Bruin Nate Holmes.


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Wed, Jan 14, 2015 AT 8:51 am - Be Well
One year later: UCLA’s bike counting system

Have you noticed the bike counting system on the southern side of Strathmore Place?  See this Be a Green Commuter article about what we have learned a year later.



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Mon, Nov 17, 2014 AT 8:38 pm - Be Well
UCLA Should Revive Green Spaces on Campus


See an opinion piece in the Daily Bruin about reviving green spaces on campus here.



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Wed, Mar 12, 2014 AT 12:18 pm - Be Well
UCLA State of the Commute 2013

By: UCLA Transportation

UCLA Transportation has released its annual “State of the Commute” report with the results indicating continued progress by the University toward meeting its Climate Action Plan goal of achieving a 50% alternative transportation commute rate through public transit, vanpool, carpool, bicycling and walking.

In 2013, UCLA’s drive-alone rate was 51.2% for employees, much lower than Los Angeles County as a whole, where approximately 73% of all commuters drive alone to work according to 2012 U.S. Census data. The drive-alone rate for UCLA’s commuting students is significantly lower at just over 25%.

“The number of UCLA commuters taking public transit has more than doubled since 2000 and the number cycling has tripled since 2005,” said Renée Fortier, Executive Director, UCLA Events & Transportation.

UCLA continues to reap benefits from its substantial investment in smarter commute programs, including such measures as providing 50% subsidized transit passes, vanpool subsidies, discounted carpool parking permits, bicycling infrastructure and other commuter support services. Staff, faculty andstudent incentives help employees and students reduce mobile source greenhouse gas emissions and make sustainable transportation choices for both their commutes and intra-campus trips. The report highlights the commuting characteristics of the nearly 42,000 students and more than 28,000 staff and faculty members, featuring graphs, charts and tables which list program participation levels, specific mode use and the commuter options and support programs available to UCLA employees, students and visitors.

The complete UCLA State of the Commute report is available here. In addition, an infographic based on the report is below.


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Sun, Jan 19, 2014 AT 5:12 pm - Be Well
Westwood Boulevard Bike Lanes
BY: Ryan Snyder

The City of Los Angeles has an opportunity to benefit UCLA cyclists by improving bike lanes on Westwood Boulevard and extending them.  While stretches south of Santa Monica Boulevard present challenges, both physical and political, north of Santa Monica Boulevard we could pick low hanging fruit.  The City has initiated a study of the impacts of various options between Pico Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard such as floating bike lanes and shared bus/bike lanes but they aren’t going over well with homeowner groups or City Councilmember Koretz.  Meanwhile, north of Santa Monica Boulevard sufficient space exists to paint wide colored bike lanes with a painted buffer between the bike lane and travel lane all the way to Le Conte. We wouldn’t have to remove travel lanes, turn lanes or parking to do it.  Just restripe and narrow existing travel lanes.  This could be done quickly, cheaply and without controversy.  With a new colored buffered bike lanes leading to and from UCLA more people would be attracted to ride, thereby growing the constituency for more difficult choices south of Santa Monica Boulevard. 

Ryan Snyder is the President of Ryan Snyder Associates, a transportation planning firm that prepares sustainable transportation plans.  He recently coordinated development of the Los Angeles County Model Design Street Manual for Living Streets that won a 2013 American Planning Association national award. Snyder has customized the street manual for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, the City of Baldwin Park, and others. He is a Federal Highways Administration Pedestrian Safety Design instructor. He is a Partner of the National Complete Streets Coalition. Snyder teaches a class on Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning/Street Design to graduate students in the UCLA Urban Planning Department.  He is former Vice President of the Los Angeles Board of Transportation Commissioners.  Snyder holds an M.A. in Urban Planning and a B.A. in Economics from UCLA.  

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Wed, Dec 11, 2013 AT 3:47 pm - Be Well
UCLA Is Now Home to LA’s First and Only Bike Counter

By Mike King, UCLA Transportation


UCLA student, staff and faculty bicyclists gathered around the new bike counter on Strathmore Place.


UCLA Transportation is proud to present the campus’ first automated bike counter.The bike counter is located on the southern side of Strathmore Place next to the green bike lane. The counter displays the number of daily bicyclists and annual bicyclists who pass it. Similar bike counters have been installed in bike-friendly cities such as Portland, Orgeon;Seattle, Washington; and Copenhagen, Denmark.


~(from the left) Dr. Michael S. Goldstein, Professor, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Associate Vice Provost, Healthy Campus Initiateve; Renée Fortier, Executive Director, UCLA Events & Transportation; Professor Donald Shoup, UCLA School of Public Affairs-Urban Planning

The counter is one of many bike infrastructure improvements that are intended to make UCLA a more bike-friendly campus. UCLA is proud to be the first in Los Angeles to install an automated bike counter. While the Counter provides real-time ridership information, it also serves as a welcoming gateway sign and bicyclists can see that they’re part of a larger community.

The Counter was manufactured by Eco Counter. Eco Counter is an international company that specializes in pedestrian and bike counting systems. The counter was funded by The Green Initiative Fund and UCLA Transportation. Beginning November 25, 2013, data from the Strathmore Bike Counter will be available to the public here: http://ucla-strathmore-bike-counter.visio-tools.com.

Ride down UCLA’s green bike lane on Strathmore and get counted!


~Re-posted from UCLA Transportation's Be a Green Commuter website

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Thu, Nov 14, 2013 AT 1:49 pm - Be Well
5 things you probably didn’t know about walking

1. Power walking burns more fat than slow jogging.Although you can burn more calories while jogging, you do not necessarily burn more fat when you walk for the same amount of time! Walking gives your body’s metabolism more time to make the switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fat.

2. Your body starts releasing endorphins after your first 20 minutes of walking.Endorphins are a natural “happy drug” released in your brain that help relieve pain and reduce stress. Taking power walks outside of the office or home can calm your mind, boost your self-esteem and improve your sleep. All you need is just 30 minutes out of your day, a pair of comfortable walking shoes and a good walking posture. It can’t get easier than that!

3. You can easily estimate your walking speed without a pedometer.The math is simple: Count the number of steps you take per minute and divide that number by 30. For example, if you take 120 steps per minute, your walking speed will be approximately 4 mph.

(Hint: For optimum calorie burning, aim for a power walking speed of 4.5 mph. At that rate,you can almost burn just as many calories as someone who is jogging at the same speed.)

4. We use approximately 200 muscles when we walk.Almost every single muscle from your neck to toe is involved in balancing and moving you forward when you walk.The most heavily-used muscles while you walk include the quadriceps, hamstrings, buttock muscles, stomach muscles and calf muscles. And flexing your cheek muscles will make your walk ten times more pleasurable (a.k.a. SMILING!).

5. Brisk walking reduces cravings.Studies have shown that our brains produce lower responses to images of food on days when we did brisk walking, which helps to control our appetite for greasy food and sweets. Instead, our body and brain tell us to choose nutritious food that is necessary to compensate for the energy loss from walking, such as carbohydrates and protein. Now you know how to deal with that leftover Halloween candy!

~ Brian
Digital Marketing Associate, UCLA Transportation. During his down time - when he is not on Facebook or his smartphone - Brian likes to read recipes on Food Network, sing shamelessly in public and exploring new places around LA.
View all posts by Brian →



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Thu, Oct 17, 2013 AT 2:42 pm - Be Well
Blue + Gold = Green... Why I am proud to be a Bruin!

Did you know that UCLA was just rated one of the top green campuses in the nation?

If you're looking for a way to make a difference on campus and in the world, there are a million ways to contribute here on campus. You're only limited by your imagination. 

How many college students can say that they can both enjoy the warm sunlight and use that sunlight to charge their computer at the same time? No, really! We have tables with solar panel umbrellas and outlets! Walk inside, and our student union even has solar panels on the roof!

We also have farmers markets right on campus three times a quarter! Fresh, local, organic food in the middle of your walk to class.

Furthermore, UCLA will be zero waste by 2020. This is impressive, especially because UCLA is the size of a medium sized city. Can you imagine if an entire city became zero waste?

All of these attributes are part of the reason that I am so glad to be a Bruin, a result of the power of undergraduate students to make a difference on campus.

Something that many people don’t know is that student fees include a small amount sectioned off for green initiatives (The Green Initiative Fund). Six bucks a quarter, but this really adds up! And all this money is just waiting for undergraduate students to apply and use for improving the sustainability on campus.

I have been lucky to be involved with E3: Ecology, Economy, Equity - the largest sustainability group on campus. Our work is rooted in the three E’s of sustainability:

1.  Ecology

2.  Economy

3.  Equity

We have a group of awesome student leaders who are willing to sacrifice their GPAs and sleep, spending all of their energy on making UCLA a leader in sustainability and exciting other students about being eco-friendly.

One of our biggest recent accomplishments was putting on the first ever bike-powered concert at UCLA last year, Ecochella, featuring student bands, bike powered ice cream, smoothies and light show! Physically engaging students in generating their own energy is a great way to educate people on alternative energy and awareness of energy consumption in general. Plus, you kill two birds with one stone: physical activity + alternative energy!

Over the years our Earth Day Fair has become such a big event that we had to turn it into “Earth Month”! We feature a green cooking competition, as well as a recycled art competition, and over seventy on- and off-campus groups with tabling and activism relating to sustainability. Throughout the month, we also have speaking panels, farmers markets and more!

We also have a student run organic garden on campus.

As much as we have accomplished, there is still a long ways to go. We are still working on projects related to Fair Trade, energy-free events, gardening on campus, and much more.

I think UCLA has done a great job of becoming a leader in sustainability, and I am very excited and proud to brag to people from other universities about how much we have accomplished. This is my last quarter at UCLA and I am sad to be graduating, but I will be proud to leave UCLA knowing I helped with much of our progress, that I was able to make my mark on UCLA. I am thrilled that freshman will come to UCLA and take for granted farmers markets and Ecochella. These things are staples of the UCLA community as a result of undergraduate initiative.

Meeting the freshman at E3 meetings this quarter has brought me unlimited optimism to see the campus 4 years from now because of the amazing ideas they have to make UCLA more sustainable!

What will you choose to do with your years at UCLA?

~Emily Anderson
Chair of the UCLA Undergraduate Group E3: Ecology, Economy, Equity


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Fri, Sep 13, 2013 AT 9:29 am - Be Well
10 things you probably didn’t know about bicycling at UCLA

1. There are seven miles of bike route on campus.

2. There’s over 3,000 spots to park your bike at UCLA. (Want even more? Send your ideas for bike rack locations to bike-info@ts.ucla.edu.)

3. The UCLA Bike Shop has over 80 bikes available for rent…

 4. …including electric bikes, too.

5. Humans aren’t the only ones that ride bikes to UCLA.

6. UCLA is home to Los Angeles’ one and only bike box.

7. UCLA will soon be home to the first automated bicycle counter in Los Angeles…

8. …and the first BikeLink electronic lockers in Los Angeles.

9. Anyone in the UCLA community can use the UCLA Bike Shop’s tools and work stands to fix your own bike for free.

10. More than 2,400 Bruins bike at UCLA…

…and you should, too!

Debra Yoo
Digital Marketing Analyst for UCLA Events & Transportation

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Thu, Jul 25, 2013 AT 3:24 pm - Be Well
A Golden Age for Bicycling

In many ways, we seem to be living in a golden age for bicycling in Los Angeles. Since the city's visionary 2010 Bicycle Plan was adopted, dozens of miles of streets have received new, bicycle-friendly treatments. Bicycling culture across the city has blossomed in a similar way. Huge increases in ridership at bicycling events have been accompanied by considerable growth in the number of people commuting by bicycle. Strong support from city officials and the LAPD have helped make these notable gains possible. Another factor contributing to bicycling’s substantial and growing momentum is the increasing awareness of its benefits to our health and the health of our communities. Recent studies suggest that regular exercise is not only good for our cardiovascular health, but that it can also relieve stress and help us be happier. Fortunately for all of us with busy schedules, riding a bike to and from work, and/or running errands by bike on and around campus, can build workouts seamlessly into our daily routines.

Even in a city as committed as Los Angeles is to encouraging bicycling, UCLA continues to lead the way with its ongoing dedication to becoming as bike friendly as it can be. One of many examples of these efforts is the UCLA Bike Shop – an on-campus resource for the UCLA Community (students, faculty, and staff) made possible by a partnership between UCLA Cultural and Recreational Affairs and UCLA Events and Transportation. Our mission at the UCLA Bike Shop is mainly to support and encourage bicycling for transportation to, from, and on campus. To help UCLA’s bicycle commuters understand how to ride safely and responsibly on city streets, we have started offering Traffic-Skills Classes free of charge. The focus of these classes is on teaching people how to ride their bikes as they would drive a car. This approach is based on the League of American Bicyclists' core ideal that bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. Last May, we offered an all-day version of this class that included on-the-bike drills aimed at helping riders become more confident on their bikes. We also incorporated a group ride into the class to enable participants to practice on the streets what they learned in the classroom.

Acquiring the skills to fix one's bike, and thereby reducing the likelihood of being stranded by mishaps like flat tires, is hugely empowering. Therefore, the UCLA Bike Shop has an extensive schedule of bike-repair classes offered free of charge to the UCLA Community. During most of each quarter, UCLA students, faculty, and staff are also welcome to use our workshop and tools to fix their own bikes free of charge. Upon request and as our work schedule permits, we gladly provide repair guidance ranging from the occasional tip to detailed instruction. Additionally, we perform fee-for-service repairs and offer parts, lights, locks, and helmets for sale to the UCLA Community. Thanks to generous funding from ASUCLA’s The Green Initiative Fund and the GSA’s Sustainable Resource Center, quarterly rentals from our Bruin-Bike Library are available to UCLA students. Also, members of the UCLA Community can rent bikes from us on a daily, weekend, or weekly basis. All of our bike rentals come with a helmet, front and rear lights, and a U-lock with a cable; as of recently, our daily, weekend, and weekly rentals even include optional panniers.

Liz Bernier
Bike Coordinator
UCLA Cultural and Recreational Affairs

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Tue, May 21, 2013 AT 8:46 pm - Be Well
Hopping on Board, Getting in Gear and Taking it in Stride for a Healthy Campus

UCLA Events & Transportation (E&T) has embraced the Healthy Campus Initiative and is continuing to promote its efforts to improve active transportation such as walking, biking and public transit use on and around UCLA through campus partnerships and participation in a number of activities.

In February 2013, Transportation  partnered with UCLA Recreation for "I ♥ Walking"  week. This series of walks through campus and Westwood Village encourages the campus community to burn calories, build stamina and spend time with their friends and colleagues. The success of this annual event has sparked plans for us to offer incentives to staff and faculty who regularly commute to campus on foot. Starting September 2013, eligible UCLA employees who walk to work as their primary commute mode will qualify for Bruin Commuter Club  (BCC) walker benefits. Remember to “Walk for UC”  next Wednesday, May 22.

E&T presented, participated in a panel discussion, responded to audience Q&A and staffed an info table at the 'Be Well' pod's Building Paths to a Healthy UCLA: Working to Make UCLA the Most Bike Friendly Campus, held March 5, 2013, in which over 150 students, staff, and faculty heard from UCLA and city leaders in health, bicycling, transportation, design and administration about the latest efforts on campus and in Los Angeles to improve health through bicycling.

We had the opportunity as part of the ‘Breathe Well’ promotion, to assist UCLA’s Tobacco-Free Steering Committee in implementing the new tobacco-free campus policy. For the rollout  last month on Earth Day, E&T designed and ordered marketing campaign materials and promotional items, including BruinBus internal ads, T-shirts and light pole banners, and placed eye-catching signage at all entrances to campus parking structures.

For the popular Bike to Campus Week activities , E&T partners with Recreation’s UCLA Bike Shop  each May on pit-stops across campus, where cyclists are provided with light refreshments, free giveaways and bicycle-related information--plus a light bike tune-up. Through this year’s Bike Week efforts and others we hope more campus commuters will try biking as a sustainable alternative to the automobile and a healthy way to get to classes or work. With all six public transit service providers coming to campus equipped with bike racks, Bruin commuters can even combine bicycling with public transportation to extend the range of their trips. 

To help move the UCLA’s Climate Action Plan forward to achieve the goal of reducing the number of employees who are solo drivers to 50% by the end of 2014 (currently at 53.4%), we developed a strategy to reach new employees and influence their decision-making process before their first day of work (and commuting habits become ingrained). “Be a Smarter Commuter”  video, featuring UCLA employees who have made the smart decision to get to campus by public transit, bicycling, carpooling, vanpooling and walking, was produced by E&T and is showing in a UCLA location near you. The video just garnered a 2013 Communicator Award of distinction from the International Academy of the Visual Arts.

Penny Menton

Senior Associate Director

UCLA Events & Transportation

Communications & Organizational Development, Commuter Services

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Tue, Apr 30, 2013 AT 3:06 pm - Be Well
Santa Monica to UCLA: Bruins and Bike Travel Between the Two

The UCLA Residents in Pediatrics are very hardworking young doctors.  By law they are limited to 80 hours per week of work in the hospitals.  Many have teaching time, clinic rotations, and their homes in places that cause them to travel frequently between Santa Monica and Ronald Reagan UCLA Hospitals.  One of the Residents who lived in Santa Monica told me how on days when she was scheduled to rest during the daytime, but needed to report for her shift on the UCLA campus at 6pm, she would often need to begin her 5 miles of car travel about 4:30 in the afternoon.  She explained that getting to UCLA from Santa Monica was very difficult, in part because the 405 freeway was always a bottleneck, especially with near standstill traffic on Wilshire Blvd.  Then the young doctor said to me, “You know, I would much prefer to bicycle the trip.  I could get it done in under 30 minutes, get energized for the overnight challenges, and would be able to get in my day’s workout on my bike.  Not only would I save time and money, and help the environment, it would mean one less car clogging the road.” 

Her plight caused me to research the bike routes from the West Side to the UCLA campus.  I learned that the marked bikeways are fragmented and cover less than 50% of the distance, and that connecting the fragments is not progressing.  As with any travel, the challenges are greatest where the road or bikeway disappears.  Especially difficult is the Wilshire stretch under the 405 freeway. She and the Residents also told me about aggressive and rude drivers, especially on the unmarked routes.  With further questioning I learned that many other hospital personnel, from support staff to the Medical System President, very much want a fully connected bicycle route.  I also learned that Los Angeles Measure R of 2008, which was intended to greatly improve transport and reduce congestion, has had miniscule amounts of dedicated funding directed to bicycle or pedestrian needs.

The BE Well portion (“BE” meaning Built Environment) of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative (HCI) is working with campus departments to make our community more bike friendly.  The leadership of UCLA has committed itself to bike-friendly goals, most publicly at the March 5, 2013 all-campus event: “Working to Make UCLA the Most Bike Friendly Campus.”  If you support this idea, including starting with a hospital-to-hospital campus bike route, as a way for UCLA to exert leadership and support for the city and regional bicycling efforts, please email us at be.well@ucla.edu . Please help us advocate for bike routes from all directions to campus, starting with the West Side.  The city with the finest bicycling weather in the world needs and deserves the finest bicycling infrastructure. UCLA is a leading research university; let’s be a leading health and sustainability university as well, and set the example for the rest of Los Angeles and the nation.

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