Chancellor-elect Block Sets Goals
UCLA Daily Bruin: Jan. 8, 2006 – The UC Board of Regents named Gene Block the ninth chancellor of UCLA on Dec. 21.

Block is the former provost at the University of Virginia, and he will formally begin his tenure as chancellor in August 2007. The current interim chancellor is Norman Abrams, replacing Albert Canesale. He recently spoke to the Daily Bruin about his goals as chancellor of UCLA.

Block, who said a hopeful message in a fortune cookie reassured him that his decision to come to UCLA was a leap in the right direction, said he sees diversity within the student body and faculty as a priority.

“The student body doesn’t look like what the population looks like. It’s out of touch with what the population looks like, so I can’t overemphasize that we have to work on diversity within the student body,” Block said.

The two areas in which Block envisions improvement are the enrollment of already accepted students from minority backgrounds and the advancement of the K-12 school systems.

“One piece you have to make certain is that every student from underrepresented groups that gets accepted into UCLA will want to enroll” to improve the yield of those from underrepresented groups that get accepted to actually choose to come to UCLA, Block said.

Such interest is not foreign to UCLA, as Abrams helped integrate the admissions process into a holistic approach.

In addition to working to diversify the student population, training faculty to recruit a more diverse applicant pool is also a task on Block’s to-do list.

Block’s annual salary is set at $416,000, which is almost $100,000 more than his predecessor, Carnesale, and current Interim Chancellor Abrams. Block’s salary makes him one of the two highest-paid campus leaders within the University of California system, making as much as UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and more than UC President Robert Dynes.

Senior Seminar Determines Styrofoam Cups More Ecologically Safe Than Paper
UC San Diego Guardian: Jan. 8, 2007 – Styrofoam, along with diapers and batteries, has long been on the list of maligned household objects that a socially conscious person does not throw away.

Last quarter, eight students took action to make UCSD more environmentally friendly during a Fall Quarter senior seminar, and ultimately defied convention with their discovery that Styrofoam cups had less of a negative impact on the environment than their paper or plastic counterparts.

The seminar, taught by Lisa Shaffer, executive director of UCSD’s Environment and Sustainability Initiative, and Charles Kennel, director of ESI, had students work on two group projects focused on campus recycling facilities and dining hall disposables like cups. The seminar was one of many new actions UCSD students, faculty and staff are taking to pursue higher levels of sustainability on campus.

Five of the eight students in the seminar formed a group that found foam cups, like the ones currently used by Housing and Dining Services, to be more environmentally friendly than other alternatives. While to many, this may seem counterintuitive – as foam takes 20,000 years to degrade – but after considering factors such as waste during production, life cycle costs and reusability, foam cups emerged as the most eco-friendly alternative.

According to the findings, foam may take a substantial amount of time to decompose, but the material does not release toxic substances into the air like paper and plastic do. In addition, the waste associated with producing paper cups is much higher than that of foam cups, and foam cups are also less expensive to produce than paper, the study found.

Shaffer said the results of the study reflect UCSD’s already eco-friendly ways.

“We do a pretty good job already,” Shaffer said. “We’re really proud of what we’ve already done.”

Two ASUCD Senators Work to Install Condom Machines in Residence Halls
UC Davis California Aggie, Jan. 8 – In an effort to increase first-year students’ access to contraception, ASUCD Senators Andrew Peake and Molly Fluet are in the early planning stages of installing condom machines in each of the residence hall restrooms.

In a phone interview Sunday, Peake said constant access to condoms is necessary to ensure that sexually active students always have the option of using a condom.

“We feel that students need to have immediate access to protection, especially in an ’emergency’ situation,” he said.

Peake said while Health Education and Promotion, a subunit of the Cowell Student Health Center, already gives away two free condoms to any student who requests them, this is not enough to keep students protected from sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies.

Peake said he and Fluet are in the process of selecting a specific model of dispensing machine, which he estimates will cost $200 each. With about 106 restrooms in the residence halls, the cost of purchasing the machines could be as much as $21,200.

Peake said the condoms themselves will likely be the Lifestyles brand and will be lubricated. They will cost about $57 for 1,000 and students will probably purchase them from the machines for 25 cents each, he said.

Peake said he and Fluet hope to have the machines installed in the residence halls over the summer before the entering freshman class of 2011 moves in.