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Long-form investigative articles covering people, events and issues that affect the student body. If you have an idea for us to cover, contact us at [email protected]

Students' study habits represent varied approaches

It is once again that time of the quarter when stress runs high and sleep is at a minimum. It is finals time and it is approaching at full speed. Sara Stauch Guardian Many students rely on their finals as a means of digging their grades out of the gutter. The 10 weeks prior to finals are spent slacking off, partying, sleeping or finding any other form of procrastination that would prevent studying. And now the activities of the past have caught up. The only solution left is to actually crack open the books and study hard, study long and study productively. There are a wide variety of techniques used in studying to successfully get an A. First and foremost, the environment where a person chooses to work should be one that is suited to his individual needs. If the student cannot concentrate in complete silence, then studying on the eighth floor of Geisel Library is probably not the place for such a person, just as studying in a noisy coffee shop would not be the place of choice for someone who needs complete silence. Sara Stauch Guardian Said Marshall senior Tien Dang, “”I like to go to CLICS because they have good lighting and the computers work really well there. It is not too quiet; neither is it too noisy.”” Second, it is not recommended to wait until the last possible moment to learn a quarter’s worth of work. Ronald T.C. Boyd wrote in his article, “”Improving Your Test-Taking Skills,”” that it is best to study from the beginning of the course. “”It is smart to prepare a little bit each day,”” Boyd’s article reads. “”Preparing for a test gradually lets you absorb the material, make connections between concepts and draw conclusions. Studying each subject every night will save you the agony of having to cram on the night before a test.”” Such preparation can help eliminate the stress resulting from the feeling of being unprepared. Ben Mlynash, a Muir junior, can attest to the aftereffects of waiting until the last minute to study. “”Procrastination is an addiction,”” he says. “”Once you start, you do not go back, and when you realize it, you are screwed.”” Third, study groups can be useful when used as more than a means to socialize and procrastinate. Diane Loulou’s article, “”Making the A: How To Study for Tests,”” states that “”study groups allow students to combine resources; members share an academic goal and provide support and encouragement.”” Loulou also suggests “”an agenda for each meeting to avoid wasting time.”” Revelle junior Eric Gorinstein has a similar belief toward study groups. “”They’re great as long as you’ve studied before getting there,”” Gorinstein says. “”I feel that they are better for review or just approaching the material from a new perspective but not for learning.”” Fourth, it is crucial to be organized. Having legible and detailed notes can provide an added source of material to learn from. Books sometimes assume the reader knows some previous information. Often in lecture, teachers go over the material in the reading, but in more detail and with better explanations. Said Marshall senior Elana Segal, “”I outline lecture notes and compare them with the texts in order to understand a professor’s teaching style.”” Fifth, it is pertinent to understand what type of test the final is going to be. There are many types of tests. Each type of test requires different tactics for test preparation and performance. Loulou’s article suggests the following tips to effectively master the different types of tests professors throw at students. Multiple choice: When faced with a multiple choice test and two answers seem alike, choose one of the two similar answers. True/false: If a question has the word “”never,”” “”rarely”” or “”always”” in it, usually the question is false. Open-book: Bookmark important pages and write down formulas that are necessary on a separate sheet of paper to save time. Short answer: Use flashcards to study. This will help the student identify key words that might need to be defined on a test. Essay: Make an outline before writing the actual paper. When forming the paper, it is important to get to the point and restate the question at the beginning. When asked what her favorite type of test is, Muir junior Korin Lee responded, “”I think multiple-choice questions have their benefits because you have a 25 percent chance of guessing the correct answer. However, short answer questions allow much room for bluffing, so both have their benefits.”” Many UCSD students find that different testing situations suggest different studying approaches. As for which strategy will prove most useful — only time will tell. ...

food co-op: collaboration and cooperation

It is 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon at the Food Co-op. Five employees move from the back room where they hang out into the store to dance spastically. Two of them break dance, one hops on a pogo stick and another freaks like he is in a gangster rap video. Leo der Stephanians Guardian These students are some of the 14 core members who consistently work at the Food Co-op. They get $8 an hour to amuse themselves — and customers — as described above. Oh yeah, they also work. Employees and volunteers run the register, price the products, clean, deal with food vendors and make changes to their store. They are also responsible for the financial well-being of the co-op. Since there is equal status among the employees, decisions are made collectively. Sandwiches, soups, egg rolls and baked goods are prepared and made in the small kitchen in the back of the store. In the office, binders keep the co-op’s records in order. They have a computer to play the MP3s that are the source of their in-store music. Upon request, you might be able to get them to play Michael Jackson’s entire Thriller album. Kenrick Leung Guardian Monica Bennett, one of the employees, said that this informal atmosphere and cooperative working environment make the job enjoyable. “”It is an alternative to systemic jobs,”” Bennett said. “”Everyone knows how everything works here and there is a great sense of camaraderie. Because I know everyone here so well and I feel so much a part of the community, I want to look out for everyone and be busy helping.”” Shaun Fuller has worked at the co-op for the past nine months. “”The Food Co-op creates a nexus, a little community for like-minded people,”” Fuller said. The co-op, established in 1978, is a completely student-run organization. In addition to the paid employees, the co-op uses volunteers who can offer their help for as many hours a week as they like. Volunteers who work more than two hours a week get a 25 percent discount on food. Because no one is in charge at the co-op, decisions are made democratically. The cooperative has a general framework that it uses to govern what foods to sell. It also selects as a group what products to promote. Several criteria are used to determine what products will be sold, and which ones will not make the cut. Employees scrutinize the vendors from which they buy, hoping to avoid, as Fuller said, “”companies of ill repute.”” They investigate company procedures that are alegedly unjust to workers or unfriendly to the environment. The co-op also tries to stay away from products that are produced as a result of death or maltreatment of animals, with the exception of dairy products. The co-op does not sell food that has chemical additives such as artificial preservatives or sugar sweeteners, and works hard to minimize the use of saturated fats. “”Most importantly,”” Fuller said, “”we want to serve food that’s good, healthy and not too pricey.”” Bennet explained other reasons for the co-op’s business practices: “”We hope to create a general consciousness about what tou are putting in your body, knowing what you put into your body, being autonomous.”” Each item needs 100 percent approval from the members, so any member can block a product from being sold at the co-op. On Sunday evenings, meetings take place to discuss changes that will be made to the store, including which products to stock. The co-op welcomes anyone who is interested to attend and voice his opinion. Besides offering healthy food from “”friendly”” companies, another function of the Food Co-op is to be a source of information. Flyers are posted around the store to inform customers about the war in Afghanistan or make them aware of organizations that address certain issues — generally liberal ones. “”I like their flyers about activist groups and how to get involved with different groups,”” Muir senior Christina said. “”You don’t get too much of that point of view anywhere else on campus.”” A point of pride at the Food Co-op is that despite its commitment to low prices, it is financially self-sufficient. It can prove difficult to sell health food at a low cost. The Food Co-op’s assets are modest: As of June 30, they totalled $15,000 in furniture, refrigerators, office equipment, products and cash in the bank. The profit it generates is enough to cover its almost $250,000 in annual expenses. However, emergencies do happen. The University Centers Advisory Board paid for the co-op’s tile floor and the oversight committee paid for its installation. The head of the student centers who also pitches in every once in a while to help maintain the facilities. Despite this, the Food Co-op tries to maintain autonomy from university-affiliated bodies. In fact, over the 20 years of the co-op’s existence at UCSD, it has had several clashes with school administrators over the use of student fees and the administrative control of student facilities. The Student Cooperative Union is an advocacy group for students’ interests. They have historically argued that student fees are increased to support projects initiated by the administration, which students have been convinced are important and necessary. The projects are supported by student referendums. The union argues the referendums are unfairly promoted because of the use of administrative clout and propaganda to generate student support for certain issues. The building of RIMAC Arena and the use of the Price Center by commercial businesses were two such contested items. The union has also had an ongoing conflict with the university over the autonomy of the student centers. The University Centers Board was originally independent of the university administration and made decisions regarding the student centers, including the co-ops. This board was changed to the current University Centers Advisory Board, which plays a slightly less direct role in the running of the centers. The board makes recommendations, which the administration can either heed or discard. The co-op may be unorthodox in its organization and subject to conflict with the administration, but students enjoy it nonetheless. “”I come here more often than other places on campus because it’s cheaper, healthier and I am not supporting big business, but a co-op — and 50-cent bagels are good too,”” one student commented. And it seems like the employees have fun. ...

The Editor's Soapbox

I love journalism. It is more than a job: It is a passion. Some people have said that it goes back to my love of writing. I think it goes far beyond that. There is something about the entire process of finding the perfect story and watching it materialize that puts a smile on my face. This is why I slave at the Guardian for minimal pay. For me, the compensation is in the result. I can think of nothing more satisfying (save for woman-related activities) than walking through the halls of campus on a Monday or Thursday morning and seeing students reading an article that I wrote or gazing at a page that I laid out. I have known little of the ways of work other than journalism. My mother told me to get a job when I was 16. After dragging my feet for a few months, I stumbled across an ad in the local paper that announced the opening of a sports reporter position. The ad said that the position was open to students and that no experience was necessary. It seemed like the least amount of work that I could possibly do while still getting paid, so I decided to apply. The interview was short and general. The writing test was elementary. The sports editor called me back a week later and offered me the job, which I happily accepted. Not only did I now have a cake job, but I was also getting paid to watch sports. It was a dream come true. It was a small-town paper with a readership of only around 30,000 people. My first assignment was to cover a Little League game. I watched the game, timidly conducted only two interviews and proceded to write a piece-of-shit article. When I opened the paper the next day, I was ecstatic to see my name in the byline. My level of excitement soon dropped when I saw that I was looking at a different article than the one I had turned in; most of it had been rewritten. While most young writers would have been discouraged by this, I was still hooked. I raced to the sports department of the paper (which consisted of only two people) and begged for them to teach me. I was like a sponge, ready to soak up any bit of knowledge that they had to offer. After I wrote my next article, I stayed later and watched them hack my article to shreds, learning what I had done wrong and filing the information away for future use. Soon my articles needed no hacking, just small touches. I worked at that paper until I came to college. I spent many nights covering high school sports, a few college games and even a pro game or two. I worked my way up to a regular news reporter, covering my own beat. When I left, the managing editor told me that there would always be a job open for me. That is something I took great pride in. Whenever I told people that I worked for the local paper, they would always ask me if that was something that I wanted to do for a career. I usually smiled and told them that a journalist’s life wasn’t for me. The idea of becoming a professional journalist was something that I had only briefly flirted with. After seeing the long, hard hours that the editors at the paper had to put in for the peanuts that they made in salary, I decided that undergraduate study in political science followed by law school would be the better choice. I came to the Guardian with an extremely cocky attitude. I had worked in the professional ranks of journalism for over two years when I joined this paper. I knew how to lay out a section, how to write and edit articles and what I thought to be a lot of Associated Press style (which I later learned was next to nothing). As I spent countless hours at this paper, pouring my heart and soul into a publication that most people glance over once before depositing in the trash, I built a strong bond with the other students on staff. There we were, a group of students who, for the most part, do not aspire to become professional journalists, putting out a quality paper twice a week. I came to call these coworkers friends. We shared a common bond of striving for excellence. I was faced with a rough decision last year. After not getting a position that I had worked very hard for, I began to question my desire to return to the paper. I wanted to become the paper’s managing editor, which is one step below the editor in chief. I wanted the responsiblility and the pride that came with that position. I felt that I was ready for it, but the staff found a better candidate. The loss forced me to think about why I came to the paper in the first place. None of us are paid very well in relation to the time and energy that we invest on a daily basis into this paper. We certainly don’t receive any positive recognition from the campus. It is a truly thankless job. But then I thought back to the days when I first began to work in journalism. I remembered the pride that I felt when someone read my articles. I remembered how satisfied I felt after producing a quality section. I also remembered how much I loved the paper. It was more than that, though; I loved the people. We had been friends. That much I never questioned. What I hadn’t realized was that we had become a family. We shared in each other’s triumphs as well as mourned with each other’s sorrows. That was why I came back this year. My family needed me. Now, I have conceded that ours is a thankless job. I don’t expect people to come up to us on Library Walk and tell us that we wrote good articles or put out a quality issue. In fact, I expect criticism. I welcome it. It is the only way that we can improve and better serve the campus. This is why I was so in favor of the Guardian message board on the paper’s Web site. I was eager to see what feedback people had for us. Imagine my surprise when I looked on the message board and found some of the lamest comments I could possibly think of. I’m not up here saying that some of my articles are not worthy of criticism. I’ll be the first to admit that they are. All that I am asking for are intelligent criticisms — original ones, at least. The first one that I take issue with is a comment about my column about Barry Bonds. In the article, I call Barry Bonds an egotistical jerk who isn’t the premiere power hitter in the game. I said that he had a good lineup around him and a ballpark that was built specifically for him to hit homeruns in. The comments stemming from this article were disappointing at best. One of the ones that irks me the most is one that states I am a horrible sports writer who has never met Bonds personally so I shouldn’t judge his personality and make assumptions. The comment went on to say that PacBell Park is not a hitter’s park and is, in fact, a pitcher’s park. Allow me to retort. While this person thought that I shouldn’t make assumptions, they in fact made a few fatal ones of their own. Namely, I have been a professional sports writer. I have covered a Giants game in person and have met Bonds. There is a reason that he is known throughout the sports community as an egotistical jerk: He is one. Even if I hadn’t met him, all I need to point out to prove my point are the numerous occasions in which he has called himself the best baseball player to ever play the game, or the time that he actually thought about wearing No. 24 for the Giants — a number retired for the great Willie Mays. As for thinking that PacBell Park was not built for Bonds to hit homers in: why, then, does it have one of the shortest porches in right coupled with a breeze that always blows out that way? The other comment that got to me was some moron who responded to a couple of my articles by using the words of Triumph the Insult Dog, popularized by Conan O’Brien, and saying that my articles were something “”for [him] to poop on.”” Come on, can’t you even think of your own insults? That’s pretty lame. There was also a comment that said that the person didn’t want to see my opinion in the sports column and that I was paid to write about sports. If you’re not supposed to put your opinion into a column, then what are you supposed to put into it? I bring up these instances not to sound like a third-grader getting in a name-calling contest (although I invite those two half-wits to come out of their cave-like dorms of Internet porn and soap operas and stumble up to the Guardian office for one anytime), but rather to illustrate a point. We, the staff of this fine paper, put this rag out for you, the students. We do so for little pay and even littler respect from the masses. I’m not saying that you have to love everything we publish and praise us for it, but don’t resort to unsubstantiated name-calling. I’m not here to be crying about it like a child, but am here more as a big brother looking out for my younger siblings and elderly grandparents, whom I feel obligated to protect. I welcome your criticisms. Like I said before: I want to know what you think so that I can improve. But really people, would it kill you to dish out a compliment every now and then? Think about it. ...

Women's Center gets and gives

“”My entire car was filled to take over to the Women’s Resource Center in Oceanside,”” said Emelyn A. Dela Pena, program director at the Women’s Center. She spoke of last year’s Thanksgiving Food Drive, an effort that was repeated this year with considerable success. Continuing, she described the reaction of those at the Center who received what she carted over. “”The look on their faces when I arrived was amazing,”” Dela Pena said. “”All they could say was that we were going to fill their pantries for a while.”” Though the deadline for the Thanksgiving food drive has passed, the mission to provide for those in need continues as the Women’s Center holds its Holiday Food Drive, which will run until Dec. 10. Preferred items, which can be donated to the Women’s Center, are any nonperishable food items or traditional holiday foods such as stuffing mix and gift certificates for turkey or ham. “”Last year was our first time doing a food drive, and the response was overwhelming,”” said Dela Pena. “”People from the community and from UCSD gave us a tremendous response.”” Accompanying the Holiday Food Drive is a Dress for Success Drive, in which the Women’s Center is collecting interview-appropriate attire for low-income women. The nonprofit organization collects suits and professional wear and then distributes them to women as they move into the workforce. “”People have been mailing in suits all the way from San Francisco,”” Dela Pena said. The coats, jackets and suits are draped and stacked in boxes around the back offices of the Women’s Center, revealing the generosity of the San Diego community. Any outside contributions — especially blouses and unopened makeup — are greatly appreciated, according to Dela Pena. In April, the Center held a cell phone donation drive and received over 120 donations. “”The cell phones all went to a ‘Call to Protect’ program, which activates them for service workers or victims of domestic violence,”” Dela Pena said. ...

Adopt-a-Family supplies food

In two days, most of us will be on our way back to our families for the upcoming holiday weekend. It’s safe to say that we are more excited to get away from campus for a last breather before (gulp) finals than we are for that turkey Thursday night. Kenrick Leung Guardian Honestly now, how many of us actually think about how lucky we are to sit down to an array of mouth-watering, warm dishes, while there are many others around the world who are not as fortunate? Forget the big picture and just peer into San Diego’s community. There are many families that cannot even afford to have a little Thanksgiving dinner. UCSD students can extend their hands this holiday season by signing up with the Adopt-a-Family project on campus through the Volunteer Connection Office located on the second floor of the Price Center. According to Special Projects Director Kimmy Chela, a junior at Eleanor Roosevelt College, the project is targeted at many needy families that don’t have the means to celebrate this holiday. Adopt-a-Family’s objective is to provide them with a Thanksgiving dinner and an unforgettable season. Chela said that this project has been an annual event at UCSD and attracts all organizations. “”Basically,”” she explained, “”we deliver a flier describing the project to every on-campus organization mailbox, and so far, more than 40 applications have been turned in. Our goal is to reach 75 families.”” This year, there has been an influx of people participating in this event, and other facilities have been used to find needy families, such as the Welfare Office, which in turn results in more families having a Thanksgiving dinner. Thurgood Marshall College senior Megan Williams, who also works at the Volunteer Connection Office, explained that each group that fills out an application to adopt a family is then matched to a family. “”All we do is match them to the family,”” Williams noted. “”They contact the family and figure out how to bring them their Thanksgiving dinner.”” The group or individual usually caters to what the family wants, whether that is raw ingredients, a hot and ready meal or even just money. According to Williams, a variety of UCSD organizations have come forward. She listed residence halls, all the five colleges, the A.S. Council, different fraternities and sororities, the Triton Water Polo team, and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Roosevelt junior Shannon Patal, the co-chair of ERC’s Community Outreach Effort, is joining in the Adopt-A-Family project this year for the first time. “”We got a lot of positive feedback from students,”” she said, “”and we are excited to work together to help others.”” There are people who rely on such help to provide their families with dinner on Thanksgiving night. San Diego resident Evelyn Cautivar is just one of the many people benefitting from this program. She is a single mother of four boys who took part in Adopt-A-Family last year and will again this year. Cautivas feels that the project aids many needy families here in San Diego. “”It is a hardship — a struggle — to buy food,”” she said, “”and this helps.”” She added, “”A lot.”” She described how her sons “”were really happy”” when they heard they were going to have a real Thanksgiving dinner last year, and were “”beyond excited”” when the meal actually arrived. A.S. President Jeff Dodge, who has delivered food three times through Adopt-a-Family, feels that seeing the excitement on the children’s faces is the best part. “”The parents keep trying to say thank you,”” he recalled, “”but the excitement of the kids just said it all — that was all we needed to really understand just how much this dinner meant to them.”” On last year’s delivery, Dodge explained that the A.S. Council went out the night before and bought the food, along with a few kitchen supplies, and the next morning met the family. “”We actually stayed and talked with the family for a little bit,”” he said. “”It was a very good experience. We all left feeling warm-hearted, especially because of the kids’ excitement.”” Williams summed it up by saying that delivering the dinner and seeing the joy they bring makes participants feel like they are giving back. “”That is what Thanksgiving is about, right?”” she asked. ...

Students asked to go for a 'drive'

Sometimes even the jolly, bearded one needs some assistance. This holiday season, Volunteer Connection and the UCSD Staff Association will help bring Christmas to the sick and hungry of San Diego. Starting Nov. 19, the UCSD community can make donations to this year’s Toy and Food Drive. The drive calls for nonperishable food items and new, unwrapped toys and gifts — anything from rattles to makeup to video games. Kaiser Permenente’s Pediatrics Unit will distribute the toys this year to hospitalized children. Nonperishable food items from the drive will benefit less fortunate San Diegans via the San Diego Food Bank. Mirium Khwaja, Warren senior and assistant director of Volunteer Connection, coordinated last year’s Toy and Food Drive. In total, the drive collected 1,290 pounds of food and 800 toys last year, she said. The drive received the San Diego Food Bank’s Bronze Fork Award for its contribution of food. Volunteers spent the majority of their time wrapping boxes for the toys, which were then distributed at over 20 toy-deposit locations on campus. In the end, the students from VC — and Santa — were able to deliver the toys to sick children at Hillcrest Medical Center. “”It was such a rewarding experience,”” Khwarja said. The UCSD Staff Association initiated and managed the toy drive until three years ago, when Meredyth Potter White, head of the Staff Association’s toy drive, saw the potential for working with a student organization to expand the existing drive. Echoing Khwarja, White said of the effort, “”It’s lots of work, but it’s rewarding.”” Without the cooperation of VC it couldn’t have been so successful, according to White. Cooperation among students, faculty and staff has always been a goal for White. She has worked for over seven years with various campus organizations. In her experience, this has been the best coalition of two different groups. “”Who knows what else may come of this great collaboration?”” she said. The Toy and Food Drive will operate at 29 locations around campus and runs from Nov. 19 to Dec. 6. Toys can also be donated at the 27th Annual Holiday Pancake Breakfast on Dec. 11. Tickets for the breakfast will be on sale at the Price Center courtyard Nov. 28 though Nov. 30. For more information on the Toy and Food Drive check out the UCSD Staff Association Web site at http://morpheus.ucsd.edu/sa or call Volunteer Connection at (858) 534-1414. ...

— 'why do we have to be here?' —

Robert James Stevenson loves Harry Potter books, ice cream sundaes and pizza. Like nearly all 5-year-old children, he loves to play games with his friends, go the beach and spend time with his family. He has a doting mother and two older sisters, and at first glance, he seems just like any ordinary young child. Lyon Liew Guardian But one year ago, Robert became a national statistic that would horrify the average American. Last year, like more than 750,000 other people in the United States, Robert and his mother, Pat, were homeless. In October 2000, Robert’s father, a British citizen who was residing illegally in the United States, was picked up by local immigration authorities and deported back to his homeland. Pat, a 43-year-old who was trying to care for Robert and two daughters from a previous marriage, knew that her family needed help. It was then that a social worker directed Pat toward the St. Vincent de Paul’s shelter. Lyon Liew Guardian St. Vincent de Paul Village is one of seven facilities, each known as one of Father Joe’s Villages. Led by Catholic priest Joe Carroll, it is a large, transitional facility in downtown San Diego and is currently home to more than 865 residents, 163 of whom are children. What began as a small operation in 1950, consisting of volunteers who handed out peanut butter sandwiches to the homeless, has become an extensive facility that houses not only hundreds of residents, but several programs and services, all of which are dedicated to providing the homeless with resources that they would not otherwise have access to. While the facility prides itself on the structure and stability that it provides to its inhabitants, those who reside at St. Vincent’s benefit from the numerous services that the organization offers. These services include an assessment center, where clients receive individual case plans for educational competency and vocational testing. St. Vincent’s also provides case management programs where long-term residents are paired up with a case manager who helps them with setting goals, monitoring finances, achieving tasks, vocational adult education programs, English as a Second Language, dyslexia, budgeting, computer, writing, career counseling, employment programs, psychological counseling services and chemical dependency programs There are several other programs designed to assist homeless individuals and families in the quest to regain stability. In addition to these resources, St. Vincent’s provides nearly 4,000 meals to both residents and nonresidents each day. The intermediary facility has two options available to those in need. As participants of the short-term program, individuals can stay at St. Vincent’s for up to 90 days free of charge. In the long-term program, residents can stay at the shelter for up to two years, and are required to commit themselves to a structured lifestyle and participate in certain courses like the case management program. St. Vincent’s also assists residents of the long-term program in obtaining employment and helps them to pursue higher education. All residents who are on the long-term track must use one-third of their income to pay rent and must place another one-third in a savings account. The remaining portion of their income may be used toward personal expenses and serves as spending money. Mark Tsuchiya, a spokesperson for St. Vincent de Paul Village, is confident that the individuals being provided for by this organization benefit from the strict rules governing their stay at the facility. “”We try and instill a sense of responsibility in our residents,”” Tsuchiya said. “”Everyone has to pay rent, and our long-term residents are no exception. The result of this is that when they get back on their feet and go back into the real world, they are better prepared.”” Trina Poore, who is in the short-term program, came to St. Vincent’s because she had nowhere else to go. One year ago she was living in her Imperial Beach apartment with her three children, ages nine to 11, when her landlord raised the rent. She was in the process of taking the rent increase to court when her apartment was robbed: She lost her entire savings. With no way to pay the rent, Poore was not only bankrupt, she had no place to go; she was not in direct contact with her husband and had no one to depend on. She called Infoline, an informational number that helps connect the homeless with emergency food and shelter services. The operator at Infoline directed her toward St. Vincent’s, where she and her children enrolled in the Overflow Program. Through this program, Poore and her children were able to sleep at the shelter — usually on mats in the dining room — but during the daytime, they had to leave the property. From there, the family was chosen to go to the seasonal shelter until being transferred to St. Vincent’s. While Poore, who has epilepsy and Ortho-Arthritis, had a number of jobs prior to arriving at the shelter, she told of her difficulties in obtaining employment because of her disability and financial state. Although she has tried numerous times to maintain a steady job, she has had little success and has no choice but to depend on acquiring Social Security Income in order to provide for herself and her three young children. “”My biggest challenge is finding a job,”” Poore said. “”Unfortunately, no one seems to want to hire a disabled person, and no amount of qualifications is going to change that.”” Poore, who enjoys baking and dreams of pursuing a career in culinary arts, feels that her experience at St. Vincent’s has made her more independent and has helped her to pursue her goals. “”After coming to St. Vincent’s, I have much more confidence in myself,”” Poore claimed. “”I know that I can now make it by myself with my children and that I don’t have to depend on my husband. I have learned that I can be successful without him if I need to.”” Through St. Vincent’s, Poore has been able to attain legal assistance in order to pursue SSI. In addition, she has been able to enroll her children in reputable schools in the San Diego area and is currently saving money for renting a new apartment. According to Poore, the support of her children has contributed to the strengthening of her relationship with them. “”When we initially arrived here, they used to say to me, ‘Mom, why do we have to be here?’ and I had to explain our situation to them, even though they were not happy to be here,”” Poore said. “”Now they seem more understanding of our situation, and they have learned to accept it as reality.”” Bernie Mills, the residential services manager at St. Vincent de Paul’s Village, promotes the several services offered by the organization. “”When clients come in, they are directed to go into programs and services right away,”” Mills said. “”One of these programs is the ‘Challenge to Change’: a three-week, five-days-a-week course that gives our clients thoughts and ideas in terms of what they need to do to make the changes available in their life. It is a motivational seminar, and it gives them direction in terms of what exactly it is they might want to do while they are here.”” In addition to these programs, St. Vincent’s also provides a children’s services program. Through this program, residents who work during the day are provided with free on-site child care. Mills stresses St. Vincent’s commitment to bettering the lives of its residents. “”One of the most rewarding things about working here is the client contact,”” Mills stated. “”Nothing beats the feeling of knowing that you can make a decision that affects someone’s life in a positive way.”” Perhaps the most sobering of stories is that of Laura Rubio, who came to St. Vincent’s in June 2001 and entered the long-term program in October. Rubio, who has seven children, ages three to 16, was left homeless in 1999. With no money, no place to call home and a severe drug and alcohol addiction, Rubio’s children were taken by Child Protective Services and placed into foster care. She claims that she was in denial about her situation and was not ready for her situation to change. “”Thank God there is St. Vincent’s,”” Rubio said. “”It is through their programs that I, as a recovering addict, have been able to understand my addiction, and I have learned how to prevent myself from venturing down the same destructive path.”” Rubio, who hopes to one day reunite with the children she left behind, credits her accomplishments to the shelter. “”This place has given me stability and a formal way to get started again in my life,”” she said. “”When a person is homeless, it is very hard for them to even think about staying sober, especially if you are an addict or an alcoholic. The shelter has helped me to have a warm bed, three meals a day and to get my mind straight so that I am able to focus on things that I need to be aware of to go forward in my life.”” While there are several families that reside at St. Vincent’s, the majority of residents are single men and women who come to the facility to seek help for their financial and drug-related problems. Mary Stephans, 32, first came to the shelter in May 2000 to get help for her drug addiction. After hearing about the program through her parents, Stephans decided to come to St. Vincent’s because she wanted to get her life back on track. “”I really wanted to change and I wanted to grow up,”” Stephans said. “”I wanted to quit blaming other people for why I became homeless, for losing jobs and for my immature behavior.”” Stephans, whose husband currently has custody of their young child, attributed many of her successes at St. Vincent’s to the structure with which the organization has provided her. “”I think the Challenge to Change program was very important to me, because prior to coming here, I did not see that my behavior was an impeding factor in my life,”” Stephans said. “”I’d just yell at people because that was my way of dealing with the problems I was having. They have rules here, and abiding by them has taught me the discipline that I will be able to use in the real world.”” For residents at St. Vincent de Paul’s, the fact that the facility is home to an on-site medical and dental clinic, a career and educational center and counseling services, among others, is a motivating factor for those who utilize these resources. “”It’s important to recognize that a homeless person has no resources,”” said St. Vincent spokesperson Mark Tsuchiya. “”Father Joe set out to provide all of the necessary resources for these people, on-site, because this would be the only way for them to seek and receive the help that they are in need of.”” With the holidays coming up, St. Vincent’s has many festivities planned for its residents, including a traditional Thanksgiving meal and several Christmas-related activities. For children like Robert Stevenson, these activities have helped to sustain a sense of normalcy in the life of a young child who has experienced struggle first-hand. While Robert has grown accustomed to his living situation, he still occasionally questions how long it will be before he and his mother will be able to claim a home of their own. With a gleam in his eye and a bright smile on his face, Robert told his mother, “”Mommy, I want to move out. Can we leave this place? I want to live in a big house by the beach.”” His mother reassured him that his dreams of owning a home of their own will one day come true. Stevenson recently found out that her soon-to-be-ex-husband had somehow snuck back into the country. Although it has been difficult for her to do, Stevenson has not let him interact with Robert. “”He’s hurt his son enough and I really don’t need my son to get hurt anymore,”” Stevenson claimed. “”I’m not sorry at all that he’s not a part of our lives anymore because I have got a better life now, and I’m better off without him. I have a great relationship with my kids and that’s why I know that I am able to be independent and take care of my children rather than be dependent on him.”” Stevenson continued, “”While Robert doesn’t understand the situation completely, he is angry with his father because he knows that he let our family down.”” St. Vincent de Paul’s has aided thousands of people just like the Stevensons, and continues to provide a stable living environment for hundreds of men, women and children who are trying to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. And so now, more than 50 years later, this shelter, which began with the small mission of feeding the hungry, has become a full-fledged transitional facility that caters to thousands of needy people each year. The shelter, which is funded primarily by donations, has helped many San Diego citizens to gain employment, support their families and gain the financial and emotional independence that they so desperately needed. For Pat, there is at least some comfort to be gained in the fact that one of her two teenage daughters, who is currently living with Pat’s parents, received a four-year scholarship to whichever college she chooses to attend. As a mother, Pat dreams of a bright future for her children, especially Robert. “”I hope that my son learns from this, and I hope that he keeps his self-esteem up,”” Stevenson said. “”My son has known the hard part of life and he’s known a better part of life, and he seems to thrive more on the hard part. As he grows older, I hope that he does not look down on people who are in our situation. Children like him are the face of our country’s future, and I am confident that he will not judge people, but rather accept them for who they are.”” ...

10 Questions

Why are you in college? Because I didn’t want to get a job yet. What are the best and worst things about what you’re studying? The best things are probably that you get to study really important things that might have an effect on human life, like carrying diseases. The worst things are that sometimes it can be really archaic and useless. What is your favorite place on campus? The Pub. The grad students go there a lot to relax after being here for 12 hours a day. What do you worry about? Eventually getting a job after grad school. Are men and women basically different? Not in any major kind of way. I think a lot of the differences are social. It’s a reflection of the environment you were brought up in and what your perceptions of men and women are. How much attention do you pay to politics? It’s not the most important thing in my life, but I pay attention to it. What political issue interests you most? Right now, I guess, foreign affairs. I just moved here from 5 miles outside Manhattan, so it’s pretty close to home. Has America changed in the past two months? I think people are showing a different side than they used to. They’re a lot more comfortable with expressing patriotism. I’m not surprised by the way things have turned out — maybe a little. Are you interested in the lives of celebrities? Not really. No more than I would be in the lives of other people I don’t know. What is the last dream you remember having? I was on a boat, sailing. ...

The Editor's Soapbox

It starts with a trickle in the back of the huge lecture hall. Someone is talking to their friend, perhaps trying to get a grasp on the material at hand, or, if it’s Monday morning, recounting the events of the weekend. It really isn’t that bad right now — at the volume level of a quiet whisper, perhaps only the people a row or two away are slightly distracted. Then, however, another group sees that others have taken free license in disturbing the peace, and begin to chatter among themselves, leaning across the person in the seat next to them to relate something of the utmost importance to the person on the other side. Maybe it stops there — annoying and disturbing the concentration of a good number of people in a radius of a couple rows of seats. But maybe it gets worse. Soon enough, the whole friggin’ lecture hall is filled with the sounds of 5 percent of the people chatting to each other, making it nearly impossible to hear the instructor, who, out of respect — respect! — for the maturity and age of his students, refuses to shush them like the kindergartners their behavior is apt for. The habit of a number of students holding conversations during lecture is deplorable. I realize that my stance may seem rather extreme; I find nothing short of absolute silence as acceptable behavior during instruction, but I am going to justify why. The first and most important reason is respect for the professor. Unfortunately, it seems that a great many students at UCSD find this motive marginally significant in any decision not to talk because they nullify this reason with, “”Well, he’s getting paid/It’s his job/He’s supposed to teach us, therefore, we have free license to act in what way we choose. It’s not volunteer work, after all.”” I see no logical connection between the fact that the instructor is paid and the respect students should have for him. These people — these human beings — have taken the time to prepare lesson plans and to study elementary material from years back just so they can impart the knowledge to their students. By showing up to class, the students have given their unspoken agreement to be taught. Regardless of how much the professor is paid to perform his duty, the least students could do is have the respect to allow the professor to finish the job he started for their sake. Perhaps it is readily apparent when an instructor has not fulfilled his end of the bargain and not prepared adequate instruction. But in my four quarters here at UCSD, I have not attended one lecture where this has been the case. Second, the students around you who are not talking and are actually paying attention did not come to class to hear the students around them converse about the material at hand or their plans for the weekend. They came to hear the professor. It takes a fundamental lack of respect for other students to carry on a conversation in the middle of lecture — an act of utter selfishness and arrogance that cannot be justified in any way. Many people use the excuse that everyone does it. This is where they are wrong. The proper functioning of a society can break down quickly if even 2 percent or 3 percent of the populace decides to flout the law. Likewise, talkers in a lecture hall cause a disproportionate amount of disturbance because the acoustics of the room allow the slightest whisper to carry from one end of the lecture hall to the other. The mentality of group culpability, however, brings me to my third point. The final reason people should keep quiet during lecture is because the willingness of one party to talk lends a sense of safety to others in the lecture hall who wish to start their own conversations. When students start talking, they inspire any like-minded individuals around them to do so as well. So not only do chatters’ voices multiply acoustically, they multiply in sheer numbers as well. I do not know what it is about my electrical engineering classes that make the students much more apt to chat there than in any other class. I guess it’s the perception that the material the professor is covering is already in the textbook, unlike a political science class where lectures are the primary source for material. The view that yapping is justified because the material is available elsewhere is absurd and selfish. While some people learn just fine from studying a textbook or glancing up every few seconds at the professor to recap material they already know, many of those attend lecture because they not only want but also need to hear the professor speak in order to get any grasp of the material. This little article probably will not change the mindset of the people who have no compunctions about talking in class already. However, the other 90 percent of the people in the lecture hall, along with the professor, who can sympathize with my position who are usually too timid to shush talkers can stand up against those who believe it is their right to converse through lecture. Ironically enough, the biggest fear I have impeding me from grabbing the attention of those talking and shushing them is a fear of offending the guilty parties. I imagine it is the same for other students in the classroom. I would like nothing better than for any professor who reads this to understand the plight of the students who do not converse, and summarily point to and kick out offenders to silence in the lecture hall. But that would be trespassing on the freedom of students to speak about their weekend in lecture, wouldn’t it? ...

Finding a personal path

San Diego is a suburban jungle — a maze of freeways that snake among tract-home ghettos and vibrant community centers. But punctuating the cityscape of new construction and older urban areas are patches of green. Lyon Liew Guardian The land in San Diego County buckles and folds, and canyons are tucked away between suburbanized mesas. Mountains rise from the east. Many of these areas are parks: designated outposts of wilderness within the dense development. The trails that wind through the parks of San Diego can provide tranquillity and a sense of solitude in the midst of the crowded city; others are overrun with hikers and bikers and traffic that rivals La Jolla Village Drive’s at rush hour. Some are paved and easy to navigate; others send their visitors crashing through underbrush or straining uphill. The county’s outdoor hot spots vary, and many are within easy reach of UCSD. Lyon Liew Guardian Torrey Pines State Reserve Just a few miles north of RIMAC on North Torrey Pines Road, where the gated communities and wooded bluffs give way to the windy coastline, the entrance to the Torrey Pines State Reserve sits unassumingly at sea level. Once past the fee station and the first parking lot, the park road winds upward. About 8 miles of trails branch from this road. A handy map guides the always-numerous hikers, who range from youthful parents with toddlers in tow — some of the trails are that low-impact — to Spandexed, Walkman-toting power-walkers, to students out for fresh air and dramatic views. Torrey Pines’ trails feature a surprising variety of terrain. The trees that give the reserve its name frame sandstone formations and all is underscored by the beach below. The park’s phone number is (858) 755-2063. There is a $2 parking fee, and the park is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until sunset. Marian Bear Memorial Park (San Clemente Canyon) A dramatic contrast of man-made urbanization with the beauty of rare riparian landscape is visible in San Clemente Canyon, where the 52 freeway links Interstates 5 and 805. It shares the canyon with Marian Bear Memorial Park. A stream rushes parallel to the freeway. Paths cross and re-cross the stream, and forks slide under hangings of poison oak and low-slung branches of oaks and sycamores. The bulk of the trail — especially the section between Genesee Avenue and I-805 — is flat and relaxing. However, the densest shade and greatest sense of isolation can be found west of Regents Road because the trail winds through a light-dappled grove of trees. Of course, the trickling of the stream is nearly always eclipsed by the roar of cars on the 52. You can park off Regents Road or Genesee Avenue, just below the 52. Also, a particularly pretty path from behind Standley Park in University City will lead you into the park. Information is available through the Tri-Canyon Open Space Park Ranger at (858) 581-9961. Tecolote Canyon Natural Park Nearly 7 miles of trails spread through Tecolote Canyon, which is one of the largest canyons in the county. The park within this canyon stretches its many fingers from Mission Bay to Clairemont. Along the rims of the canyon are houses the values of which are largely due to their peering view of the park below, and the nearby Tecolote Canyon Golf Course, which is within park limits. The best place to enter the park’s system of trails is at the Visitors and Nature Center at the east end of Tecolote Road. From there, the trail is easygoing, and the vegetation is calming. In the last mile of the trail, it climbs steeper and runs along a creek. Like Marian Bear Park, Tecolote Canyon Natural Park is also administered by the Tri-Canyon Open Space Park Ranger, whose phone number is (858) 581-9961. Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Mira Mesa may seem like the last place in San Diego where one would expect to find a bit of woodland preservation. The development that has occurred there in the last decade has turned most of the area into a monotonous landscape of planned communities. But off Black Mountain Road and Mercy Road is an oasis of trees and coolly shaded hiking. Los Penasquitos Canyon’s 3 miles of trails wind through 3,000 acres of lush preserve. The hikers there are those in search of a hidden spot in suburbia and the rush of the Los Penasquitos Creek “”falls”” — really little more than a charming area of constriction in the creek’s flat route. The preserve lies between Interstates 5 and 15. Information is available from the park ranger at (858) 538-8066. Bayside Trail, Cabrillo National Monument At the tip of Point Loma, one can look west to the Pacific, south toward Mexico or east to the San Diego Bay, Coronado and downtown beyond. Bayside Trail hugs the southeastern coast of the point, and offers dramatic views of the boats slipping in and out of the bay. Along the gravel-covered trail, wildlife struggles for a niche among the rocky coastline terrain. The trail is educational, as well, as sporadic plaques have much to say about the character of the vegetation. The walk is gently graded and steep in places, but the gravel makes it far from challenging. From the lighthouse, the mile-long trail descends 300 feet in elevation, and ends 90 feet above the water. Trail-end views of the ships, birds and city are dramatic. The phone number for visitor information about the Cabrillo National Monument is (619) 557-5450. ...