Happy New Year!
We have work to do in carrying the message of UCLA’s and the University of California’s (UC) importance and impact to the new administration in Washington and a continuing administration in Sacramento. Your voice as an advocate is even more important today than ever before.
Senator Ben Allen shows off a piece of his UCLA memorabilia at his district office. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)
For having never actually attended UCLA, California District 26 Senator Ben Allen sure has a lot of deep ties to the institution — something that goes a long way to explaining his desire to be a champion of the campus and higher education as a whole.
“The reason I am a Californian is UCLA,” he said with a chuckle.
His father accepted a job at UCLA sight unseen. He had met Allen’s mother during graduate school at the University of Michigan. Neither had ever been west of the Mississippi River, and they decided it was time for an adventure. A couple years later, the two were married and settled down in Santa Monica. Allen’s birth followed shortly thereafter.
UCLA student veteran Arturo Flores works with fellow Student Veterans of America volunteers during their veterans garden cleanup effort. (photos by Jonathan Van Dyke)
A little bit of rain wasn’t going to wash away an important day of service for student veterans working to rehab the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs garden area.
A steady downpour was no match for more than 50 volunteers at the special volunteer event, which took place from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday morning. And almost by coincidence, the weather began to clear up just as the area was being cleared itself of debris. Student Veterans of America (SVA), UCLA Recreation and the Home Depot Foundation partnered on the effort.
The gardens will be a significant piece of the new phase of partnership between UCLA and the West LA VA.
A UCLA delegation led by Chancellor Gene Block met with U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to discuss and observe ongoing revitalization efforts at the West L.A. VA campus. (photo by Reed Hutchinson)
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block today announced actions that are underway toward fulfilling UCLA’s 10-year, $16.5 million commitment to the Department of Veterans Affairs for new programs and supportive services to benefit our nation’s veterans. That commitment includes $300,000 annually in fair-market rent for the continued use of Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The announcement came as Block met with U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to tour the West L.A. VA campus, following the passage of the West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016. Block and McDonald observed the ongoing revitalization efforts consistent with the bipartisan federal legislation, and they received status reports from UCLA’s leaders who are spearheading the implementation.
Across the University of California, the strains of doing more with less are starting to be evident: Class sizes have crept up and student services like tutoring and academic advising are often stretched thin.
A six-year tuition freeze, coupled with rising California student enrollment and state funding that hasn’t fully recovered from recession-era cuts has resulted in a critical need to invest more in core student services and academic excellence, university leaders say.
Just outside of the 8th Council District office, 2015 UCLA alumnus Breana Weaver poses with two historical downtown lanterns, installed under the leadership of Mayor Meredith Snyder on Jan. 17, 1920.
Seven months into her professional career as a field deputy for 8th District Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Breana Weaver couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment as she, colleagues and the councilman strapped on gloves and passed out full Thanksgiving turkeys to 1,000 families in need.
The day was a culmination of hard work, and in the weeks before, Weaver had helped to identify those families through school districts, churches and nonprofit organizations.
“We wanted to purposely make sure they were families in need,” she said. “The logistics it takes to execute that — it was a lot of work and stress going into it. But once we got to the day, we had the council member and we were out there with gloves on, giving out the turkeys. Just the gratification you get when you know someone is genuinely appreciative of what you are doing, something as simple as a turkey goes a long way.”