Traditionally, Labor Day is seen as the starting for the final phase of the Presidential campaign. The first Presidential Debate is scheduled for September 26th. While a great deal of attention will be focused on 2016 Presidential race, I would ask you to not lose sight on the important congressional and legislative races as well as state and local initiatives that will also appear on the ballot. Government & Community Relations will be hosting several candidates forums in these races, so please check back with our calendar of events closer to the general election for further information.
Veterans and members of the Bruins baseball team meet at Jackie Robinson Stadium. (photo by Reed Hutchinson)
With strong bipartisan votes of support, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have approved an agreement between UCLA and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that creates a stronger academic affiliation between the university and the VA to benefit veterans.
UCLA applauded the passage of the West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016, which authorizes the VA to implement the Master Plan for the West L.A. VA campus. These votes recognize the agreement UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald announced in January.
Participating in Volunteer Day 2015 led UCLA student Monica Martinez to embrace community service and take on more volunteer work during her freshman year. Her next volunteer activity: She will be a project manager at Volunteer Day 2016 on Monday.
A year ago, Monica Martinez, a UCLA freshman from South Los Angeles, watched organized chaos unfold around her at Drake Stadium as she lined up with thousands of other new students and shuffled toward dozens of buses destined for Volunteer Day sites across the greater Los Angeles region.
Martinez felt the anticipation build as she started on this new adventure, moving as one body toward a single mission: to help others. “You feel like you are a part of this bigger community,” she reminisced. That was the first time she really felt like a Bruin, she recalled with a big smile.
Her destination back then was the Veterans Home of California — West Los Angeles, where she worked in the garden and played Bingo with a group of veterans. “Even though it wasn’t the most glamorous thing we could be doing, I knew that it would be something that would be lasting for them,” she said.
UCLA advocate and alumnus Xiutleth Santibanez finds refuge in his favorite place on campus: the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)
Tucked deep within the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, Xiutleth Santibanez is home, wrapped in his UCLA oasis, a place that made him comfortable to reach achievements he dreamed about for years, and instill a confidence in life he wishes to pass forward to the next generation.
“It hasn’t changed,” he said as he walked the winding pathways within the garden. “You can still see all the etchings on the trees students made. If anything describes me, it’s the chaos of this garden, but with so much beauty. People will say, ‘There’s just leaves and dead trees.’ But those trees are dormant, and there is something alive here.”
Santibanez always wanted to go to this university. And since graduating from UCLA, he has become an active voice for the university and higher education, traveling as far as Washington D.C. to have his voice heard.
Assemblymember Don Wagner (UCLA, ’83), R-Irvine, receives the Outstanding Advocacy award for his leadership on higher education issues from President Napolitano, center, and Board of Regents Chair Monica Lozano, right, at the UC Board of Regents meeting in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016.
UC President Napolitano announced the inaugural Outstanding Advocacy award recipients at the Sept. 14 UC Board of Regents meeting. The awards, granted jointly by the university president and Board of Regents chair, recognize the efforts of state legislators who champion public higher education and fight consistently to keep it accessible and affordable for California students.
Four California legislators were honored for their support of higher education and UC: Assemblymember Don Wagner (R-Irvine) and Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis), who are the two founding co-chairs of the UC Legislative Roundtable; Senator Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge), who is chair of the Senate Education Committee; and Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria), who is the former Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee. Additionally, community leader and UCLA alumnus Howard Welinsky was recognized as one of the university’s strongest allies.
With the support of locally elected officials, UCLA students were transported by bus to locations all across the city during Volunteer Day.
The proof was posted on an office door — a collection of more than 20 letters from elected dignitaries across the state. It was a culmination of an effort that resulted in more than $140 million in public-private investment to Southern California.
Earlier this summer, it was announced that the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute’s California regional hub would be headquartered in Los Angeles and spearheaded by UCLA, among other collegial partners. The hard work to win the project started in May 2013, and culminated in a $70 million matching grant that was only possible by the combined efforts of elected officials at local, state and federal levels, along with an eager community coalition.
U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez greets students during a special higher education luncheon event that also touched on her U.S. Senate candidacy. (photos by Jonathan Van Dyke)
When she was very young, U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange) found herself on the front cover of a newspaper as a member of the first class of Head Start.
She might not have known it as a preschooler, but Sanchez said she more than understands the transformative power of education, especially that of higher education.
“You’re looking at a public-private former student, someone who was invested in,” she said after telling her Head Start story and noting that she later received financial help from Rotary to attain her Masters Degree.