CSUB Gamer Education Day a 1UP for Gamers and Charity

Story and Photos by Adrienne Villanueva, CSUB Public Affairs Intern05The third annual CSUB Gamer Education Day was held on Friday, April 4th. Open to CSUB students and the community, the event serves as a way for Campus Gamers to share insight into the world of video games by having industry insiders as guest speakers. This year they welcomed actor Charles Martinet, voice of some of the most beloved video game characters of all time, including Super Mario, Luigi, and Wario. Also speaking at the event was award-winning composer Jason Hayes, who has contributed to such titles as World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo for video game developing giant Blizzard Entertainment.

03With a filmography that includes films starring Michael Douglas and Hugh Grant, television shows, and video game voice-overs, finally getting to host Martinet as one of this year’s guest speakers was huge accomplishment for Campus Gamers and CSUB. Club founder Ed Webb met him at a convention some years ago, and was someone he’d been eager to have as a guest speaker since the first CSUB Gamer Education Day. Super Mario has millions of fans, and Martinet, who’s been the voice of the character since 1991, is one of them. In fact, when asked which of the many characters he’s voiced is his favorite, he immediately responded, “Of course, it’s Mario.” Like many of Super Mario’s fans, Martinet sees the character as someone one should aspire to be. “I want to be that person who’s optimistic and loyal and fun-loving and faces challenges like, ‘Here we go!’ as opposed to, ‘Oh no. Ah!’”

02 When he took the Doré Theatre stage, Martinet was just as animated as the famous characters he lends his voice to. Having achieved such notoriety as an actor, it’s hard to believe that he didn’t always aspire to be one. Martinet told the audience, “I was going to be a lawyer and a diplomat.” After following a fellow UC Berkley student’s advice that he should take an acting class, he was hooked. In 1990, Martinet received a call from a friend urging him to crash an audition for the role of an Italian plumber from Brooklyn. Drawing inspiration from a role he previously played, Gremio in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Martinet improvised the now famous voice of Super Mario. He was given the part, and twenty-three years later is still playing that Italian plumber from Brooklyn. Martinet hoped his audience would take away from the evening what he considered to be his greatest piece of his advice: “Find out what you love to do in life, and pursue it.”

04 Hayes’ original experience with composing was way outside the video game industry. He got involved writing jingles for radio ads for local companies. But as an avid fan of action video games himself, he aimed to get a job creating music in the industry. Addressing the audience, Hayes shared a story of true inspiration to any aspiring composer about how he came to work with Blizzard Entertainment. In the 90’s, he attended a Computer Game Developers Conference equipped with a Walkman, a CD of his music, and headphones. He went up to the Blizzard booth, met producer Matt Householder, and played him his music. Not long after, Hayes was hired on as a composer in the Blizzard sound department. He described scoring the gig as “the Super Lotto.” A highlight of his presentation was when Hayes played a video of his cover band, Critical Hit, performing the theme song from game Angry Birds. The video can be seen here: http://youtu.be/NIqYigedtfc In addition to Hayes’ musical presentation, the audience was treated to the Bakersfield Video Game Choir and Orchestra’s performance of the Halo and Tetris themes.06 Attendees were invited to dress up as their favorite video game characters and compete in the event’s “Cosplay” (costume playing) contest. A whole cast of film and video game characters showed up to compete, including a little Captain America and an Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. Student AJ Medina dressed up as Dead Bill, a character from the Xbox video game Left 4 Dead. When asked why he chose Dead Bill, Medina said, “He’s a cool character who ends up sacrificing himself for his friends, despite being an old man.” Also in attendance, teens Bobby Guyton, fourteen, and Benjamin Rodgers, thirteen, dressed as Link from the Nintendo video game The Legend of Zelda. Both were asked why they chose to dress as Link. Guyton said, “Link is my favorite Nintendo character and I have nostalgic memories of him.” Rodgers said, “Link was like a brother to me. He’s my all-time favorite.”01 Founded in 2011, CSUB’s Campus Gamers organization is one that brings gamers together for community service and charitable efforts. Those charitable efforts include their annual Extra Life Marathon. The event consists of gamers being sponsored by monetary donations to play everything from board games to video games for twelve hours straight. Last November, marathon gamers were able to raise over $10,000 dollars. At this year’s CSUB Gamer Education Day, they presented the Extra Life Marathon money and more the Children’s Miracle Network.

The event was a true success. For more information about future Gamer Education Days, Campus Gamer’s Extra Life Marathon, and other functions hosted by the organization, visit Campus Gamers’ Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/qev66gp  

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Preparing today’s youth for tomorrow’s future at CSUB

Story and Pictures by Irma Cervantes, CSUB Public Affairs Coordinator

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Many middle and high school students spend that time of their life living day by day, with no worries about what tomorrow will bring. But for almost 3,000 Kern County youth, the future was all that was on their mind during the annual “College: Making it Happen” event held in March at CSUB.

“I’m already thinking about my career and what I want to do with my life, and this is a great event so I can get informed and prepared,” said Vicente Reyes, who is an 8th grader at Washington Middle School.

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 “College: Making It Happen Educational Forum!” is a program designed to communicate to families, community leaders, and school educators the importance of early academic and financial planning.  The program aspires to educate middle/high school students and their parents about the choices available after high school graduation. The 2014 kicked off with an inspirational speaker who encouraged the students to “take.”

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“Take time to invest in yourself, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, and take charge of your future,” said keynote speaker, Alana Dionne Mathews from the California Energy Commission. “I didn’t come here today to inspire you to have a good life; I want you to have a great life.”

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Throughout the day, students and their parents attended educational workshops with information on high school graduation requirements, financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and college preparation. Many classes were available in both English and Spanish, in an effort to reach the increasing Hispanic population, which was at 50% in Fall 2013 at CSUB.

“I want my daughter to go to a university. I want her to know there’s more than just high school,” said Graciela Cortez, who attended the event with her 7th grade daughter. “I want to learn what I can do as a parent so help open more doors for her so she be one of our future’s successful Latinos.”

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The event also offered a resource fair, which included information on political representatives, CSUB organizations, and careers.

“Univision thinks it’s so important for students to prepare for college, and their future,” said Faith Flores, Administrative Manager for Univision Bakersfield, the event media sponsor. “We have specific platforms we focus on, and one of them is education. Through this event, we are able to share with the public that we’re a partner for them to help them advance in their education.”

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“College: Making it Happen” was sponsored by the following organizations: Southern San Joaquin Valley Cal-SOAP Consortium, California Student Aid Commission, CSU Chancellor’s Office, and CSUB.

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The Consent Project Kicks Off Sexual Assault Awareness Month at CSUB

Story and Photos by Adrienne Villanueva, CSUB Public Affairs Intern

02On April 2, 2014, The Consent Project, an organization dedicated to raising sexual assault and violence awareness, held an event kicking off Sexual Assault Awareness Month at CSUB. One of the event’s activities included decorating different colored construction paper t-shirts on which attendees were asked to write words of encouragement for victims or share their own experience related to sexual assault or violence. “R.I.P. Steven ‘Eriq’ Escalon: You are missed,” CSUB student and Psychology Club President Oscar Sandoval wrote on a small, white construction paper t-shirt. The white colored shirts symbolized the loss of a life as a result of violence. When asked whom the shirt was for, Sandoval said, “A friend of mine who used to cut my hair. We became close.” He revealed that what was supposed to be a fun night out for Escalon ended in tragedy when a person he’d taken home from a club violently murdered him. Sandoval added, “Through my life experiences, I feel really passionate about issues like this.”

05At the event, President of CSUB Dr. Horace Mitchell read a proclamation declaring April to be Sexual Assault Awareness Month at CSUB. When asked why the cause was important to him, President Mitchell said, “Sexual assault and family violence are issues throughout our society and I think it’s important that we have Sexual Assault Awareness Month and we want to extend that to have a focus on the campus.” His proclamation echoed that sentiment, which included a statement urging everyone to work together on the prevention of sexual assault and supporting of victims. With this proclamation, Dr. Mitchell joins a budding national initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses. Just last week, ten U.S. senators, including Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), began seeking federal funding to combat campus sexual assaults. In comments regarding these efforts, Gillibrand sited a survey that revealed there were 5,000 forcible sex offenses on college campuses in 2012.

01Savannah Andrews, A.S.I. Vice President of Programming, a survivor of sexual abuse herself, heard about The Consent Project at Humboldt State University from a former CSUB professor who told her she should get one started at CSUB. Andrews then took the idea to President Mitchell. He gave his support, and April 2013 became The Consent Project’s first Sexual Assault Awareness Month at CSUB. Andrews’ dedication to the organization stems from the desire to end the silence of sexual assault victims. She hopes to branch out the organizations cause to commemorating Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is observed in October.

04The Consent Project’s kick off event was the first in a long line of events the organization will host to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month at CSUB. There are five other events slated for April, including a showing of the documentary Trade of Innocents and a “From Victim to Survivor” Brown Bag event. For more information, including dates and locations, visit http://www.csub.edu/calendar/.

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CSUB Housing Director shares how she chose Holistic Medicine to fight ovarian cancer

Story by Ilse Reyes, CSUB Public Affairs Intern

Photos by Brian Willhite, CSUB Public Affairs Intern

In 2001, she was given a death sentence. Twelve years later, Crystal Becks is sharing her story on how she has successfully battled her stage three ovarian cancer.

“I felt like I was in a bubble, like I was the one going through this. I felt hopeless,” said Crystal Becks, CSUB Housing Director, educator, and currently a cancer survivor.

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Becks shared her story during this quarter’s Brown Bag Discussion, where she not only talked about her fight against the disease, but her choice to use holistic medicine to do it. After two years of chemotherapy proved unsuccessful Becks traveled to the Middle East where she learned about this type of natural healing. Holistic Medicine is a natural way of healing the body. This medicine is about finding balance spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Holistic practitioners believe that having one of the three out of balance can create discomfort in someone’s life.

When she returned home, Becks decided that Holistic Medicine was the path she would take to fight her illness. “I invited a healer to my home. She entered with no shoes, didn’t wear deodorant, and sat on the floor. I thought, ‘what did I get myself into?’ She gave me tips about natural healing and left my house.” Becks, not knowing what to expect, followed her orders. Soon she became healthier, and sometime after, she went into remission.

The Brown Bag’s guest speaker found her peace at last. Turning to Holistic Medicine gave her the strength and motivation to fight for her life. Becks went from dealing withbeing given a couple months to live to living life to it’s fullest. “I feel like cancer was a gift in my life because it helped me put more thought about what I put into my body,” said Becks. “People say it’s too expensive to eat clean, but being sick is more expensive. My cancer medical bills are a lot more expensive than the money I spend on eating healthy.”

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Becks gave the audience the following keys to good health:

  1. Mental and Emotional Health- We believe what we tell ourselves
  2. Nutrition- Clean eating- eat as purely possible
  3. Hydration- body weight divided by 2 = daily intake necessary to repair and replenish
  4. Decreasing Toxic Insult/ Elimination
  5. Movement and Exercise
  6. Managing Stress and Handling Crisis
  7. Proper supplementation for our individual need
  8. Sleep
  9. Community and support
  10. Feeling worthy, valuable, and needed in our daily lives
  11.  Communicating openly with our chosen medical practitioners
  12. Laughing a lot and finding joy daily.

Becks said during her discussion that her goal was to help the audience walk away feeling empowered and help them take control of their health. Her testimony did just that for CSUB senior Jacqui Haffmonn. “Most of the things that Crystal said impacted me. I had a close friend with cancer and I wonder if he had known about this, would he have lived? I wish talks like these would be given more often so students can get informed,” said Haffmonn

The Brown Bag Discussions are an opportunity for students, staff, faculty, and alumni to learn something new from someone else. Guest speakers, like Becks, are invited to motivate and impact our CSUB campus. “These discussions give our students, staff, and community members an opportunity to come together as a campus and learn interesting facts about our guest speakers,” said Emily Poole, Assistant Director of campus programming, also part of the committee of the Brown Bag Discussion. 

The Brown Bag Discussions are held once a month during the regular school year. Those that attend, may just walk way with a piece of knowledge that can truly impact their lives.

Q2S Forum Scores High for Some, Raises Concerns for Others

Story and Photos by Brian N. Willhite, CSUB Public Affairs Intern

As the campus community gathered, some were encouraged, others confused, but all were curious and eager for a better understanding of the upcoming quarter to semester conversion at CSUB.

1Q2SThe Quarter to Semester open Forum was held Jan. 10 in the Doré Theatre to allow faculty, staff, and students to get familiar about proposed changes, and participate in a question and answer discussion. Overall, 28 programs are in the process of undergoing curriculum transformations for the semester conversion in Fall 2016, according to Carl Kemnitz, Associate Vice President for Academic Programs.

Those programs will include nine courses in Arts and Humanities; two in Business and Public Administration; seven in Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering; and 10 in Social Sciences and Education. During the event, department chairs for History, Nursing, Teacher Education, and Public Policy and Administration, outlined examples of transitional activities for each program’s curriculum and they will affect faculty and students.

2Q2SJeanne Harrie, chair of the history department discussed how the department has been involved in a program revision since 2012, but that the conversion project has provided an incentive for further progress. She added, the conversion could be an opportunity to expand and bring in new faculty with diverse areas of expertise, benefitting the university and the students.

“As a result of our ongoing discussions it has led to a dramatic restructuring of our major, one that I think is making some people a little uncomfortable. But nonetheless, I think it has been embraced by the department rather enthusiastically,” said Harrie.

Deborah Boschini, Chair of the Nursing Program at CSUB, expressed uncertainty about whether the department will be able to continue offering the same curriculum and how it could negatively affect students going through the program. “If we were to lose the ability to count even one GE course under the same arrangement we have now – three less units in our nursing major – we would be 17th out of 18,” said Boschini.

Of similar nursing programs, CSUB ranks 12th out of 18. “If we lose any more of our major we are going to be at the bottom of the barrel for what we can offer our students,” she added.

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During the question and answer session, former student and current CSUB staff member Jenea Benton voiced her concerns about students who are often unable to get the courses they need due to a lack of availability, and asked whether this new conversion will allow students to graduate on time.

“I just want to make sure that they are addressing this issue within each department and that Dr. Kemnitz, who’s in charge of all academic programs, is holding each department accountable so that students can graduate within four years,” Benton said.

IMG_1818A comprehensive resource website for faculty, students, and the community is in development to provide information about the conversion project. It is scheduled to launch within a week  (an update and link will be provided at that time). A student specific frequently asked questions section is also provided on the site and will be updated as new questions are proposed via social media, Fireside chats or through the contact link on the site.

The site’s calendar will include dates and information for the Fall 2016 semester through 2017 with extensive information regarding proposed changes to Arts and Humanities; Business & Public Administration; Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering; and Social Sciences and Education. More information will be added as it becomes available.

CSUB Club Fair: A place to find your space

Story and Photos by Ilse Reyes, CSUB Public Affairs Intern

Student involvement on campus is an important mission for CSUB. Joining a club, fraternity, sorority, or organization can help students become successful. It can build character and teach students how to plan, organize, and become leaders.  To help students find the place to do all these things, CSUB hosted a Club Fair on January 8th inside Dorothy Donohue Hall.

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CSUB students visited many booths to learn about the different clubs CSUB has to offer. “I’m always looking for a way to get involved, but never have the time,” says Sophia Hackler, a Communications major. “This year I set time aside to try and join a club or organization. This club fair is helping me with the decision on what to join.”

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CSUB offers more than 50 clubs and organizations for students. Each one has its own mission.  “Our goal is to get more students to join our Muslim Students Association club,” says Hala Alnojar, a junior at CSUB. “We want for students to get informed and get educated on the misconceptions about Islam.”  

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For those interested in Greek life, CSUB offers five sororities, and two fraternities.  Melissa Hernandez, secretary of the Theta Sigma Chi sorority and senior at CSUB says, “We are all about empowering young women to a higher education. We are out here to promote our organization and give our support to all those women who need it. All women should join Theta Sigma Chi.”

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This quarter, the CSUB Club Fair had a lot to offer. It successfully gave students many options on how to get involved. If you missed it, you can visit the CSUB club website for more information: http://www.csub.edu/getinvolved/styled/page1.html.

CSUB student making helping others a priority this Thanksgiving

Story and Photos by Irma Cervantes, CSUB Public Affairs Coordinator

Nima Mashhoon remembers going hungry many times during his childhood.

“I faced hunger and it’s a terrible thing that should never have to happen to anyone,” said a very emotional Mashhoon.  “People face many hardships, and hunger shouldn’t be one of them.”

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That’s why the CSUB biology graduate student decided that he would do everything in his power to make sure that no one in Kern County would go hungry during this Thanksgiving holiday. So he came up with the idea of starting a food drive here on campus.

“I made some flyers and posted them around campus, but wasn’t getting much attention,” he said. “That’s when I asked some professors for help, and they began to help spread the word.”

That’s when the donations really started to come in. What Mashhoon had hoped would be a few hundred items, had resulted in almost 1,700 donations.

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“When I heard what he was doing, I wanted to help,” said CSUB undergraduate biology student, Esther Ibarra.  “I helped spread the word and donated items myself. I, too, participate in causes to help others, and I always want to contribute when I see someone else doing the same.”

This isn’t the first time that Mashhoon has done something to help others. Last summer, he contacted a friend that works in the golfing business and together they were able to provide thousands of dollars worth of equipment to be used by participants of the Special Olympics of Kern County. “They experience hardships beyond their control, out of their hands,” said Mashhoon.  “We have the ability to help, so we should.”

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This afternoon, Mashhoon and friends from CSUB dropped off all the collected items at the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter, which provides meals to over 400 individuals in need every single day. Although it began as his idea, Mashhoon says that by no means was this a one-person effort.

“I owe so much to the professors that helped me spread the word and gave out extra credit to their students for donating, and brought in items themselves,” said Mashhoon.  “I can’t help the world, but if I can do my part, and inspire one or two other people to do the same, then I know I have made a difference.”

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