For Students, By Students: The Original Student Center

Located in Muir College between Mandeville Hall and Main Gym, Original Student Center is home to a variety of student organizations and unique places to hang out. Until Price Center was completed in 1989, Original Student Center served as the primary place for UCSD students to get together and form a community.  From the vegan meals at the Food Co-op to the vinyl records at the General Store, the center offers unique amenities that cannot be found anywhere else on campus. Though its popularity has been eclipsed by the Price Center in recent years, the Original Student Center is still a place worth visiting for a more authentic, student-run experience.

Veteran’s Resource Center

Oliver Kelton, Associate Features Editor

Located on the second floor of Original Student Center, right above the Food Co-op and the G- Store, is the Student Veterans’ Resource Center.  Founded in 2013, it is the university’s newest Resource Center.  Come inside and you’ll find more than just a facility: you’ll find a close knit family of former servicemen and women.

“I like to call this my second home, because that’s how I treat it,” Revelle Senior and Navy veteran Chris Go told the Guardian.  “You develop a community here. You start off slow, you come inside here, you introduce yourself and you kind of get milled into the group.  Eventually you just get immersed in the culture – that’s what it is, we’re a culture.”

College life is very different for veterans than it is for most undergraduates.  Having begun college later in life, many veterans already have families and homes of their own, not to mention a wealth of life experiences from their time in the military.  The Veteran’s Resource Center introduces them to people who they can relate to, as well as providing valuable services such as help with navigating financial aid and mental health treatment through CAPS.  Though it was created for veterans, the center and its members welcome other students to come in as well and learn about their community.

Groundwork Books Collective

Robin Deng, Contributing Writer

As the first student-run co-op opened in 1973 in UCSD’s Original Student Center, Groundwork Books Collective is not only a bookstore selling books about social theories, but also a center for students to promote their ideals and organize activities. Since its inception, Groundwork has been a non-profit, political bookstore and resource center providing intellectual and practical support for promoting social change.

On the other hand, Fabiola Orozco, a fourth-year Muir College student and a staff member in Groundwork, told the UCSD Guardian that  that the co-op “may now have a smaller market of selling our socialism books as a bookstore, but Groundwork has become more of a good place for students to study, hang out, watch movies together and in general, have real social interactions. And we are also an information resource center for students who are interested in organizing something themselves”.

Groundwork sells heavily-discounted books and regularly offers book-trading program. In terms of social events, Groundwork holds a movie screening every Friday night and plans to invite activist folk singers as guests to its meetings this quarter. As an organization rooted in activism, Groundwork is very involved in UCSD student activities and serves as an organizer for demonstrations. For its own campaign, Books for Prisoners, Groundwork receives financial and book donations and hosts a packaging party each quarter before sending out books to each prison.

KSDT

Dominic Spencer, Contributing Writer

KSDT, the UCSD radio station, has been around since 1967, with its current incarnation streaming over the internet. Priding itself on promoting “fiercely independent music,” the radio showcases up-and-coming San Diego bands and artists that one wouldn’t find in the mainstream music industry.

“KSDT allows me to stay connected to my cultural roots with my show that is rock-based Spanish language music,” Lucy Lopez, a Revelle College junior and DJ, told the UCSD Guardian.

KSDT doesn’t just produce radio shows it also contains in-house studio facilities providing valuable practice space for undiscovered area bands and UCSD students. Practice spaces can be reserved throughout the quarter for scheduled weekly sessions.

“There is so much creativity behind the scenes, with the no-strings-attached band times,” Lopez said, as a drummer practiced in the back room. Additionally, KSDT hosts approve acts for live studio sessions and boasts contacts within the music industry.

“It’s also a medium that I use to stay connected with my friends that live far away and make new friends that I invite to be on the show,” DJ and Revelle sophomore Rachel Smith said.

The UCSD radio station is a vestibule for music and culture, which can be just as important to a top-ranked research university as STEM. Student organizations like KSDT represent the balance of arts and education at this university.

“The station should be a space for all UCSD students … a resource or even just a bunch of cool people in a room with some records,” DJ coordinator and Thurgood Marshall College sophomore Stacey Grinberg said. The radio station fosters an appreciation for music in all students.

The UCSD radio station is located in Original Student Center, across from Groundwork Books Collective. Streaming is available at ksdt.ucsd.edu. Take a listen and get to know your student radio station. You’ll be glad you did.

The Food Co-op

Noam Leead, Contributing Writer

Hours: Monday to Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Food Co-op is a student-owned and student-run cooperative, established in 1978, that serves vegan food and vegetarian snacks. Committed to providing the student population with healthy, sustainable and humane food options, the co-op buys organic and locally sourced produce as often as possible. The place itself is relatively small but elaborately decorated, offering comfortable seating and playing calming alternative music. In addition to providing a holistic and soothing space, the Food Co-op welcomes volunteers and fosters a friendly working environment to employees.

“It’s a very open community, and nobody is telling you what to do,” Eleanor Roosevelt College junior and Food Co-op manager Kyle Park told the UCSD Guardian. “There’s not an inherent hierarchy, per se. We’re all students, so we cooperate hence the word ‘co-op,’ to run this business even though we’re full-time students and have busy schedules. It’s different than working for a dining hall. Even if you’re preparing food there, the mission and the culture around [it] is a lot different than over here.”

The General Store Co-op

Noam Leead, Contributing Writer

Hours: Monday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to its website, the General Store Co-op, also known as the G-Store, was established in 1980 in order to assist UCSD students find and purchase items at reasonable prices. Like the Food Co-op, the G-Store is run by students for students, functioning as a non-profit business. Besides generic market items like snacks and soda, the G-Store sells school supplies and enables students to buy and sell their textbooks. The store also has a very laid-back vibe, with lounging couches, video games, vinyls and a piano that students can play. Offering occasional Nintendo tournaments and open mic nights, the G-Store provides a unique place for customers and employees to enjoy and get their creative juices flowing.

“Working in a co-op, there are so many different points of views and perspectives that you get,” second-year Thurgood Marshall College student and employee Jordan Packer told the UCSD Guardian. “Because we collaborate and come together once a week to talk about any issue we have, we are regularly hearing each other’s opinions on things. ”

Both the Food Co-op and the General Store Co-op continuously work to provide alternative options and enjoyable spaces to students on campus. Interestingly, both co-ops voiced to the Guardian that not many people know about them or what they have to offer, but they hope to change this with time.

Black Resource Center

Matthew Zamudio, Staff Writer

Like many establishments throughout American history that addressed the needs of the Black community, the Black Resource Center was born out of relentless advocacy and demands from student activists. While students had voiced demands for a space like BRC since the university’s inception, it wasn’t until the Black student population was directly attacked by racially motivated events during the 2010 Winter Quarter that the administration felt it necessary to erect the space. Opened in 2013, BRC is a community center which serves the entire population at UCSD while emphasizing the Black experience through a variety of workshops and informative programs..

“It’s a place where you feel a sense of family and acceptance,” Sarah*, a regular at BRC, told the Guardian. “If you feel you can’t go anywhere else on campus, you can definitely come here.”

According to its website, the fundamental goal of BRC is to celebrate cultural diversity and “the development of the whole person.” Staff and affiliates of BRC not only meet this tall order, but exceed it by welcoming every UCSD student with open arms. They offer several programs including The Black Men’s Collective, an informal bi-weekly discussion night, the Student Success Institute where incoming students can learn about campus resources, and the Black Graduation Ceremony, a pre-commencement celebration to honor African and African-American students. Aside from BRC being a much needed safe space on campus, Sarah explains that by coming to BRC, you’ll be sure to gain knowledge and understanding about Black culture, among other things.

“A lot of people are ignorant to what Blackness is about,” Sarah said. “You would learn a lot about where we come from and the different intersectionalities.”

Offering study rooms, computers, comfortable couches and much more, BRC is a place free from judgment and an inclusive area where the underrepresented students find their collective voice.

“It is imperative to have [BRC] here because a lot of times we don’t feel accepted,” Sarah said. “We want the university to know that we are here.”

* name changed to protect privacy

A.S. Lecture Notes and Soft Reserves

James Lommer, Staff Writer

As the name implies, A.S. Lecture Notes is a service that provides UCSD students with comprehensive lecture notes from current classes they may be taking. These notes provide a breakdown of the content covered in class and let students turn their attention to other components of the lecture.

As its website states, “Lecture Notes provide another dimension to the learning process by allowing students to focus on the audio and visual parts of the lecture rather than preparing endless transcripts.”

A.S. Lecture Notes can be a valuable resource in successfully studying for classes. While the notes are often thorough and concise, however, it is important to understand how to best use them. The difficulty of a particular class and the importance of the class relative to others are among many factors to consider. Subscription costs for the service vary by week. Notes from Weeks 2 to 4 are $29 and from Weeks 5 to 9 cost $34. During Week 10, individual sets are sold for $4 each. These pricing plans can be beneficial in instances in which you’re unable to make it to a certain lecture, there are gaps in your own notes that you’d like to make whole or you want more information to reference while studying for finals.

Located next to A.S. Lecture Notes is A.S. Soft Reserves. Unlike Lecture Notes, Soft Reserves sells supplementary material provided by the professors themselves, including course readers, practice exams and homework.  Soft Reserves is open Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  On finals week, it is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

LGBT Resource Center

Alvin Chan, Staff Writer

According to its website, the LGBT Resource Center is, “a diverse, open and public space for all students of the university community to explore issues relating to sexual and gender identities, practices and policies.” In addition to serving the LGBT community and promoting intersectionality, the Center is also a space for students to study, hang out and eat.

Last week, the Center hosted Out and Proud Week, a week-long celebration of community visibility for LGBT students. One of the Center’s events was a community vigil held last Wednesday, a time for students to reflect on issues that affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community, as well as for all students to express feelings and speak current events.

As inclusive as UCSD may be with these events, the Center chooses to be even more forward-thinking in its embrace of inclusivity.

“The first time I went in, I was asked for my pronouns. I’ve always felt comfortable relaxing in the Center between classes, and their library has books on a lot of different queer topics that are interesting to go through. Overall, it’s a very welcoming environment,” said frequent visitor Laura*, an Earl Warren College sophomore.

The center also offers volunteer and intern positions to contribute to the LGBTQIA+ movement as well as represent the Center on campus.

*name changed to protect privacy

Women’s Center

Allison Kubo, Features Editor

Situated above Hi Thai, the Women’s Center provides a variety of resources for students, such as a library of feminist texts and books focusing on gender, a study space, meeting room, and a shower and bathroom. In addition to the facilities, the center also hosts events, including the weekly Gender Buffet, which tackles different topics through the lens of gender, movie screenings, such as the film “F-Word’, and a Life Skills Series. Their meeting rooms are also available for student organizations to reserve through their website which is fittingly dubbed www.women.ucsd.edu.

However, according to Thurgood Marshall College sophomore and current Social Justice Peer Educator Tara Vahdani, the Center furnishes a crucial space to discuss, and perhaps escape, the gendered nature of academia.

“Because of [the gendered nature of academia], I think it is challenging for many women to develop a sense of belonging if few of their classmates and teachers are women-identified,” Vahdani told the Guardian. “With microaggressions prevalent, and even instances of overt sexism, this Center helps students as they navigate their day-to-day lives. I love being a Peer Educator because it has allowed me to facilitate conversations that help others think critically in this way, and thus more consciously navigate their lives.”

Darkstar Library (contribution by Stephen Potts)

Tia Ikemoto, Contributing Writer

The Darkstar Science Fiction, Fantasy and Gaming Club has been an integral part of UCSD’s history since the late ‘70s. With over 5,000 genre fiction books available to borrow for free, perusing the shelves can be a bit intimidating. Fortunately, the Guardian asked resident sci-fi expert Professor Stephen Potts to narrow down the genre and recommend noteworthy books written by past UCSD students. Check out Darkstar, located next to KSDT’s office to get your hands on these authors’ works!

Potts’ Recommendations:

  • Timescape (1980) by Gregory Benford

This time travel book was written by one of the first students to receive a Physics Ph.D. from UCSD. It features scenes set in UCSD in the early ‘60s back when Revelle was the only college.

  • Earth (1990) by David Brin

Although this author has written several famous works, Earth gets a special mention because it is one of the books pictured in Geisel’s entrance window art (look for it in the bottom left corner).

  • Rainbows End (2006) by Vernor Vinge

Set in the near future, a central storyline in this novel is the fight to prevent Geisel from becoming entirely digitized.

  • “The Mars Trilogy” (1993-96) by Kim Stanley Robinson

Although the award-winning trilogy does not take place in San Diego, Robinson deserves to be credited as one of the most current UCSD sci-fi writers having published his most recent novel just last year.