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Green Ways to Get Around Campus in Style

For SoCal college students meandering through campus, walking is typically the most common mode of transportation. But arriving at point B from point A at UCLA on two feet can become cumbersome. The trip to campus from dorms or apartments day after day can feel more like a trek than a walk. And if you ever want to venture beyond campus for an internship or Santa Monica beach day, driving in L.A. traffic can appear especially grim.

Here's how you can minimize travel time throughout campus and even the city while looking good and reducing your carbon footprint (since going green is a trend that's always in style).

Bike

Biking is the fastest way to maneuver around Westwood Village and the UCLA campus. If biking is your thing, then you have two options. Your first option is to invest in your own bike to fit your lifestyle. Do you want a durable mountain bike to take offroading or a fun fixie to ride while dodging traffic? Buy one at the UCLA Bike Shop or at Helen's Cycles in Westwood.

You second, more convenient and affordable option is to rent a Bruin Bike from the UCLA Bike Library. Students only pay $60 per quarter. Employees get free two-week rentals through our Commuter Bike Loaner Program. You'll ride a deluxe hybrid city-style 8-speed cruiser, even equipped with a cup holder for your coffee. Don't forget a Herschel messenger bag to store all your books and belongings as you ride around campus.

Longboard

"Longboarding is a quick and cool way to get around in the SoCal sunshine," says the Daily Bruin. On a longboard, you can cruise around campus with better balance because of its larger size. Traveling to and from class is just another way to enjoy the California breeze while gliding along the streets. Think of longboarding as surfing on wheels and riding the waves of concrete hills, so make each ride an enjoyable — and stylish — one.

To look the part, longboarders need a solid pair of Nike sneakers for maintaining that comfortable stance. The right hat and sunglasses are also required (for safety reasons, of course) to keep the sun out of your eyes and to prevent hitting pedestrians. You'll have to carry the board to take the stairs and head into buildings; just consider the extra exercise as a bonus.

Razor Scooter

If locking up a bike or carrying around a longboard is too much of a hassle, resort to the razor scooter. It's lightweight transportation, and it transfers you faster than walking. Scootering also has charming appeal as you zigzag through campus. Reminiscent of childhood, the scooter is a fun and amusing way to travel. It even offers enhanced safety with its adjustable handlebars and rear wheel brake. You maintain greater control, especially during lunch rush hour when foot traffic throughout campus is heavy.

Public Transit

For those times when a longboard or scooter won't get you to downtown or over to West L.A., various types of transportation are available without using your car and gas. These can take you to your destination on campus or to city hotspots. Plus, we've made it even easier to get around the city with this guide.

For more information on green transportation at UCLA, check out the UCLA Transportation website.

Study Shows Vanpools Drastically Lower Stress

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Vanpool_poolparty001For stressed-out commuters, joining a vanpool might be one step toward a more relaxed 2016. A UCLA study shows that vanpooling drastically lowers the stress of commuting.

“Riders indicated that participating in a vanpool was a source of dramatic reduction in stress and some even said that it was therapeutic,” said Wendie Robbins, the study’s lead researcher and a professor in the UCLA School of Nursing and in the Fielding School of Public Health. “Riders said that their time on the van was restful and provided a chance to meditate, relax, listen to music or just be at peace.”

Vanpooling has long been touted as a way for riders to reduce pollution and traffic while saving money. While there have been studies on the health benefits of active commuting — walking or bicycling — as well as those of taking a bus or train, the health impact of vanpooling hasn’t previously been studied.

“Health Effects of Vanpooling to Work,” published in the journal Workplace Health and Safety, looked at passengers’ and drivers’ perceptions of how vanpooling affected their health and well-being.

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UCLA carpool and vanpool participants commute from far and wide

Participants were recruited through the UCLA Vanpool Program, which has nearly 1500 participants and is one of the largest employer-based vanpool programs in California. Researchers conducted focus groups with 40 vanpool riders and two drivers.

“We know that driving alone is very isolating and creates stress,” said Penny Menton, director of communications and commuter services for UCLA Transportation. “When you ride with others, you become connected and create an environment of relaxation and interaction.”

UCLA carpool and vanpool participants commute from far and wide.

The researchers were surprised by riders’ fierce commitment to vanpooling, Robbins said. “You have to give up independent choices – when you leave, the temperature in the van, who you ride with. Riders are willing to compromise for the reduced stress of not having to drive.”

Menton, one of the original creators of the UCLA Vanpool Program, agreed. “We started this program almost 32 years ago to help reduce traffic during the 1984 Summer Olympics. We have riders who have been with the program since the beginning, including two drivers, and the only way they leave is when they retire. The vanpool becomes like family.”

UCLA vanpool

UCLA Vanpool

One of these longtime fans is Stan Paul, who works at the UCLA Lu
skin School of Public Affairs and commutes more than 160 miles round-trip each day from the Inland Empire. Paul has been a volunteer driver for most of that time. His vanpool gets 10 other UCLA employees to work and back, and takes that many cars off the road.

“For me, there really hasn’t been any other viable alternative since I started,” Paul said. “I would give up the commute in a second, but not the vanpool as long as I do have to commute.”

Riders did mention a few downsides, including disturbed sleep patterns and the risk of illness, but they saw these as relatively minor issues.

“For many of the vans, napping has become a norm, something that many riders actually look forward to,” Robbins said.

The next steps in the research are to quantify the health impacts of vanpooling, both positive and negative, and potentially to develop strategies to address them. For example, if some vanpoolers experience resultant sleep issues, employers could develop programs for employees to improve sleep habits.

The study’s other authors were Barbara Berman, professor emerita in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and Dawn Stone, a Ph.D. candidate in the UCLA School of Nursing.

The study was funded by the UCLA Foundation/Mary Ann Lewis Enhancement, the UCLA Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Southern California Education and Research Center.

Announcing Our #UCLARideshare15 Winners!

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#2_jmv121 - 52_COVERWe combed through dozens of submissions for our Rideshare Month social media contest and determined which photos had the most number of likes.

Congratulations to our three winners!

Please contact us on our Facebook page or by email to pick up your prize!

 

1st place - Emmanuel Ramos Barajas

 

2nd place - Jonathan MV

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3rd place - Kathy Quispe

#3_kathy

UCLA Food Drive 2015

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BlogArt-date-extendedWhat better way to start the holiday season than by doing something good? Join us in the fight to TACKLE HUNGER as we prepare to kick off the annual UCLA Food Drive!

From now until December 11, donate funds or food to help those in need. There will be a range of events and fundraisers leading up to the big game against rival USC on November 28.

Hosted by UCLA Events & Transportation, the UCLA Food Drive will be collecting goods and funds to support the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the UCLA Food Closet, a UCLA Community Programs Office initiative that provides struggling students with a helping hand. Bins will be provided by UCLA Events & Transportation and can be collected from Bruin Commuter Services (BSC) in the Transportation lobby (555 Westwood Plaza Suite 100). UCLA Events & Transportation will also be partnering with UCLA Athletics, the UCLA Volunteer Center and UCLA Alumni Relations in an effort to spread hunger awareness through community outreach.

Over the years, with assistance from the entire UCLA community, the UCLA Food Drive has collected over 45,000 pounds of food donations, which were given directly to underprivileged individuals and families. With an even higher goal set for this year, we encourage everyone to contribute what they can, as needs in and around the UCLA community have increased.

We need your help!

Let’s unite for a great cause and show everyone that UCLA cares about our community. Please donate funds or food to help our less fortunate community members and neighbors this Holiday Season! Click here to make an online donation or text “GoUCLA” to 41444. To donate canned goods or nonperishable items, please visit one of the following locations:

  • Bruin Commuter Services (555 Westwood Plaza, Suite 100)
  • Volunteer Center (10920 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1500)
  • Community Service Commission (405 Kerckhoff Hall)
  • Events Office (168 Kerckhoff Hall)
  • University Apartments South Resident Services Office (3200 Sawtelle Blvd.)
  • University Apartments South Facilities Building (3327 Sepulveda Blvd.)
  • University Apartments North Resident Services Office (11020 Weyburn Dr.)
  • University Apartments North Facilities Building (925 Weyburn Place)

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To request a donation bin for your department or building, please contact Eddie Munguia at emunguia@ts.ucla.edu.

Why Working for Parking May Be the Best Job for You

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StudendRecruitments_700x240_BlogIf you’re like most college students, then you’re probably holed up in your dorm room or off-campus apartment eating ramen regularly and watching Netflix on your cable-less TV. What we mean to say is, you’re cash-strapped.

But college life doesn’t have to consist of sodium, noodles and nonstop buffering. There’s a solution. And we’re here to help.

Working for UCLA Transportation isn’t just your typical job. You’re not going to be pushing papers and brewing coffee. You’ll learn some real-life stuff that you can actually apply to, well, your real life.

But don’t take it from us. We talked to one of our student workers, Jeanette Ochoa Sanchez, a lead attendant for Parking Services. Here’s what she had to say.

How long have you worked for Parking Services?

Two and a half years.

What do you like about it?

I like the work environment. The supervisors are always giving us a helping hand. Every time they brief us, their closing statement is always, “Make sure you know when your midterms are, your schedule. Please let us know because school is first.” They’re so lenient, and they can accommodate your schedule. I really like that. You build relationships with them and actually enjoy working.

I also like the fact that you’re always doing something. You’re always on your feet. It’s unpredictable, which is good because it’s preparing you for new things. It helps me deal with different people, different situations better, and I’ve noticed this from the first time I started working there. I feel like I can speak and interact and deal with crazy situations much more efficiently than I would have before.  It sounds cliché, but you literally learn every day as you go. It makes you a better person, and it makes you deal with people, and it gives you more patience because you’re just more understanding of others.

It sounds like this job has really benefitted your personal life.

Before, I was in a certain mindset: “People have to respect me. I’m only going to respect people who respect me.” But working and having a job, no matter what you do, no matter how nice you are, someone is always going to be mean, and at the end of the day, you need to be patient. And you don’t take it to heart. You just learn to brush it off. Before, I would feel really hurt when someone would be rude to me. But now I realize that it’s okay, and you just need to do your job, and you’re fine. You grow. You learn. You literally deal with every type of person you can imagine, and you just learn to accommodate.

Now I can definitely deal with people and my roommates—when it comes to dilemmas at my apartment or whatever the case is, I’m way better at dealing with everything. I feel like I am more patient and I’m more reasonable. I’m not as stubborn anymore.

What does your job entail?

I’m in charge of setting up the forms for the attendants, making sure they show up to their shift on time. From there, I deploy them to their stations, and then I’m standing by the phone and radio just in case they have questions. We kind of do the supervisor’s job. We help keep a balance between the office and the field at the same time.

Describe a typical day.

Sign in, check out my van, my radio, grab the shift list, see who’s supposed to come to work, what time, make sure they’re there. When we pick up the attendants, we collect their money, process them, file their forms, and at the same time the phones are going crazy. We get a lot of messages on the radio. We’re kind of multitasking. The phone’s always ringing. An attendant always needs change. You’re always talking to a customer. You’re always picking up someone and moving them to certain locations.

Time must go by very quickly.

Yeah. The only time it’s not busy is when we have no events; we’ll have the typical kiosk hours. But then, there’s no such thing as the perfect day. There’s always a customer that’s angry. There’s always a customer asking for directions. There’s always an attendant who doesn’t know exactly what to do.

How do you deal with an unhappy customer?

I realize that you have to let them know that you actually care. Your intonation, your voice has to change. You have to look at the customer and tell them, “You know, I’m so sorry. I understand what you’re going through. Let me try to make some calls or talk to my supervisors to help you with what you need.” I’ve noticed that even if you don’t resolve what they need, the fact that you actually tried, they’ll tell me, “Thank you for at least trying,” or “Thank you for putting up with me,” or “Thank you for giving me your time.” Even while they’re being really rude, you just have to be a bigger person and try to help.

So you were originally an attendant and then got promoted. What do you think made you stand out?

I’ve always had really good cash handling skills, and for the most part, I was always very social, very friendly. I was always that girl that would walk into the office and say, “Hey! What’s up?” and they’ve seen me interact with customers. There’s a difference between reading the script and being genuine. I’ve noticed it too because every time I would greet customers, I would always be like, “Hi! Welcome to UCLA,” and they’d be like “Oh, whoa there. Hello to you too!” It was different.

Seeing them react like that really brought my self-esteem up, and it flattered me, in a way. It kept me going for the whole shift. Sometimes I would be really tired, but I’d still be like, “Hi! Welcome to UCLA. How may I help you?”

In addition to being personable and having good customer service skills, what other qualities do you recommend to be successful here?

I wouldn’t recommend people to have certain qualities for this job. I want to say that if you’re shy, if you’re not very social—I’ve never been involved in groups or clubs—if you’re lacking something or you need that extra push, Parking [Services] can really help bring that out. It really can. Just being part of Parking and every day interactions will legitimately help you feel better—at least for me.

Why else would you recommend this job?

The hours are very flexible. The supervisors are disciplined in a good way. They make you responsible. They’re literally preparing you for life outside of college, for a real job. I’m not saying this isn’t a real job, but it’s actually useful training for what to expect. You need to take what they teach you and progress with it.

Also, you actually have some downtime where you can get a lot of homework stuff done. I’m not saying laptops and iPads out, but I’m saying you can get a lot of reading done, and at the same time you’re getting paid for it. So who doesn’t like that, honestly?

Another thing is if you work for Parking, you’re guaranteed a parking pass. Not to a specific lot, but you’re always guaranteed a pass, which is also a plus. They help you out, even if you missed the deadline or suddenly, last minute, you need a pass. Last summer I was commuting to work, and I purchased a parking pass.

How do you commute to work now?

I walk. I live on Veteran. It’s a 15-minute walk. The fact that I’m able to walk to campus and walk to work is very efficient for me.

Which do you prefer? Walking or driving?

The drive’s horrible, and I feel bad for other people. I live in the San Fernando Valley. That’s a 15-20 minute drive, without traffic. I mean, it’s beautiful, but then in the mornings it would take me two hours to get here.

I would leave hours before just so I could find parking on Veteran, or park and then sleep in my car and then come to work and class and then leave. The fact that you have to revolve your time, not even around work, but around traffic, is horrible.

UCLA traffic is horrible. I always see minor crashes, parking, dealing with things like that, having to worry that your car is safe, that you’re not going to hit someone—it’s an extra load on you that you don’t have to deal with.

So walking: good. Driving: bad. And working for Parking: absolutely. Does that about sum it up?

Working for Parking can be a really good starting point because you get to meet a lot of new people. You get connections. I’ve seen people help each other with classes or let each other borrow books and then leave them in the office. I feel like the skills I have now as a lead attendant have really helped me. I can put a lot of new skills under my belt, on my resume. Parking really did that for me.

Michelle King contributed to this article.