Help the Environment Through Kern County’s Rideshare Week

Rideshare Week.jpgMonday, October 3 through Friday, October 7, California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) joins Commute Kern for Rideshare Week 2016. This is an annual statewide campaign designed to encourage commuters to take personal responsibility for reducing traffic and smog by pledging to rideshare.

At least one day during the week, all commuters, including students, faculty and staff at CSUB are encouraged to participate, whether through carpool, vanpool, bus ride, walk, bike ride or telecommute, rather than driving alone. This is another aspect of CSUB’s efforts to be environmentally conscious and to help do their part to make Kern County a healthier place to live.

“Rideshare Week is a fun way to encourage people to consider a different approach to getting to work or school. The real key is to continue to inspire change in people’s driving behaviors and to think about ridesharing throughout the year. Caltrans has reported that 60 percent of the people who try ridesharing just one time during Rideshare Week see how easy it is and commit to doing it more often,” said Rideshare Coordinator, Susanne Campbell.

Kern County is second in the nation in air pollution behind Los Angeles. Currently, eight in ten commuters drive alone to work and traffic congestion is growing by 3% each year. Sharing the ride is a low cost solution that will help meet the Kern region’s mandate for clean air and growing transportation needs. According to a Caltrans study, 60% of commuters who try ridesharing for the first time during Rideshare Week continue to rideshare afterward.

CommuteKern also has a free ridematching service on their website, which will help link students to other students with similar schedules and routes. If students can’t find a carpool/vanpool match, they can link to the transit websites for their schedules or even have the option of finding a bicycle buddy.

By pledging to Rideshare, even just for one day during the week, participant’s names are entered into a drawing for some great prizes.

Interested participants can sign the pledge at commutekern.org, with Deborah Burks in the President’s Office or can send forms to:

Kern Council of Governments

Rideshare Week 2015

1401 19th Street, Suite 300

Bakersfield, CA 93301, or

Fax: 661-324-8215

Chicano movement leaves lasting effects on Kern County

Story and photos by Anthony Hazelwood Public Affairs Intern

It has been over 40 years since the Chicano movement led by students, professors, and the community, helped reshape the academic landscape we see in Kern county today. Some of its participants shared their experiences with students at September’s Brown Bag Luncheon, “The Chicano Movement Era: the Case of Artemio Cruz at Bakersfield College.”

Dr. Oliver Rosales, a current BC history professor, opened the discussion by briefly explaining the importance of the Chicano Movement and his research into its impact on Kern County. He then handed the floor to the Gilbert Gia, a local historian and participant of the Chicano movement. Gia discussed a controversy that started in the early 1970’s surrounding the book titled The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes. Because of its use of profanity, the book stirred debate when it was made required reading in a Hispanic Culture class at BC. Gia, present at the controversial BC board of trustees meetings about the fate of this book, outlined the public outcry towards the book and the subsequent proceedings trying to ban it. After several weeks of deliberation and a huge push from the Chicano population to allow students to have access to the book, the BC board of trustees agreed unanimously to not impose a ban. Gia noted that the board did this in an effort to preserve academic freedom and maintain the right of Hispanic students to learn about their heritage.

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Gilbert Gia

Dr. Raymond Gonzales, who taught at BC prior to the events of the book controversy and also a prolific Hispanic activist in Bakersfield, was the main speaker of the discussion. He contributed several inspiring experiences of the Chicano movement he was involved with. He shared how he fought for the rights of any minority that was treated unfairly, saying it best himself “I never wanted to be the leader of the Mexican community, I was just trying to bring people together.”

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Dr. Raymond Gonzales

Gonzales ended the discussion by recalling an experience in his youth. He was getting off a train to go to the bathroom and rushed to the nearest one only to find signs that read “white or colored.” Raymond in tears said, “But which bathroom is for me?” alluding to his confusion as to where Hispanics who were neither white or colored belonged. The impact of his story was evident as many in attendance rushed over to thank him for all he had done for the community.

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  

Like music? So do we! CSUB Guitar Day is Dec. 1

Jim Scully, CSUB music professor

Like music? So do we! The second annual CSUB Guitar Day is free and open to the public on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Doré Theatre. The day begins with master classes and rehearsals for junior high and high school students who have already auditioned for eligibility. Then, beginning at 4 p.m., the public is welcome to attend recitals performed by the students. A concert by Chilean guitarist Carlos Perez culminates the event at 7 p.m.

Guitar Day was started by CSUB music professor Jim Scully to reach out to local youth and invite them to campus for the day. In an interview with The Bakersfield Californian, Scully said the event meets “our larger mission to bring students to campus to hopefully de-mystify college for students who would otherwise have no opportunity to walk onto a college campus.”

For more information about Guitar Day, visit http://www.csub.edu/~jscully/guitar/guitarday.html.

Author Sandra Cisneros Visits CSU Bakersfield

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One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern chose “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros as the Fall 2012 book selection. Today, Cisneros came to the CSU Bakersfield campus to give a private reading in the Dezember Reading Room within the Walter Stiern library, of an essay included in a soon to be published work, as well as to help give out several local writing awards to students at Independence High School and to three of our own CSUB students.

For the essay contests, students were given prompts related to “The House on Mango Street” and asked to provide original thinking and expand on themes. Today essay contest winners were presented monetary awards and a hearty congratulations from both Dr. Horace Mitchell, President, CSU Bakersfield, as well as Sandra Cisneros.

Independence High essay winners are:

  • Dylan Lawrence, 1st placeImage
  • Francisco Huizar, 2nd placeImage
  • Banwat Kaur, 3rd place Image

CSUB essay winners are:

  • “Self Understanding” by Amelia McKee, 1st place (sponsoring faculty Professor Pam Fox)
  • “They Are The Only Ones Who Understand Me” by Afaf Aldhulay, 2nd place (sponsoring faculty Professor Pam Fox)Image
  • “Getting Lost to Find Oneself” by Keren Martin (sponsoring faculty Professor Matt Woodman)

Tonight Cisneros will give a free public talk about her literary works and inspirations at 7pm at the CSUB Icardo Center. You don’t want to miss this rare treat. Come out and join us!

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For more info on One Book, On Bakersfield, One Kern visit http://onebookonebakersfieldonekern.com/

-Colleen Dillaway, Director Public Affairs and Communications, CSUB.

30th Annual FACT Barbecue

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Since 1986 the Facility for Animal Care and Treatment (FACT) has been hosting Open House, first Saturday of the month, where the community is invited to come out and learn more about the program.

Saturday, October 6th FACT welcomes the community to their 30th Annual Barbecue for the Birds. The event begins with a free tour and silent auction to benefit the program from 2:00pm-5:00pm located in the CSUB Environmental Studies Area (ESA). Followed by a dinner and live music with meal ticket price for adults, $20, seniors and CSUB students $15 and children between the ages 6-12 are $10.

Marlene Benton the Program Coordinator for FACT and ESA encourages the community to come out this Saturday by saying, ” New and returning visitors enjoy seeing the animals, bidding, and the affordable cost of dinner and it is a way to support the FACT program.”

The service FACT provides is a Wildlife Rehabilitation program for native wild animals and they strive to cure and free the animals after recovery. Educating middle school students on the wildlife, which they mainly focus on the birds of prey, is a benefit FACT exercises.

A new attraction to look forward to is the Eagle’s new enclosure, which was a project FACT has been working on and is complete.

The FACT program accepts donations and you can also help by attending the barbecue, open house, or volunteering. To learn more about FACT, the barbecue or how to support the program email FACT@csub.edu or call 654-3167.

— Lizet Vazquez- CSUB Public Affairs Intern

New workshop inspires community of writers at CSUB

Dr. Richard Collins teaches the Writer-In-Residence Workshop at the CSUB Walter Stiern Library on July 26, 2012.

Sixteen pairs of eyes around the long conference table focus on the screen at one end. Dr. Richard Collins leans over a laptop, reading from a story submitted by one of the workshop participants:

“In the pre-dawn I watch for the first spill of light on the hills,” he reads, continuing on with a pastoral description of the early morning antics of the writer’s horses, which she is watching from the window. Then the tone changes: “My attention is shifted as I hear a beep from the machine … I prop myself on my elbow and look across the bed …” In the next paragraph he reads the phrases “blood circulating,” “dialysis machine” and “crisis averted.”

The story he is reading is actually a blend of two stories by Ginger Moorhouse, owner and publisher of The Bakersfield Californian and a participant in CSUB’s first Writer-in-Residence Workshop at the university. In one story, she is caregiver to her horses; in the other, she is caregiver to her husband. The assignment was to write brief narratives on writing prompts.

“She wrote two different narratives that just happened to work well when put together,” said Collins, dean of CSUB’s School of Arts and Humanities. “We have learned that you can’t tell the whole story in one sitting, and that you have to give yourself small assignments.”

The result is an uplifting blend of emotions that show how love can carry a partner through the daily demands of caregiving – and the fact that it is set during a sunrise rather than a sunset leaves the reader with the feeling of hope for a new day.

Moorhouse shares the sentiment of her fellow workshop participants as she describes the value she found in the four-week course.

“I’ve enjoyed the workshop more than I ever imagined. The students brought wonderful variety in age, background and interest to the workshop and all were engaged in the coursework and critiques. I was inspired by Dr. Collins, too, who taught me new ways to look at my writing,” she said.

Collins, a writer and former editor of a literary magazine, volunteered to teach the inaugural Writer-In-Residence Workshop this summer as a pilot program of the Walter Stiern Library at CSUB. The workshop has since secured funding for the next four years, thanks to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which has provided $20,000 for the project.

“This once again shows PG&E’s commitment to higher education in Kern County,” said Curt Asher, Interim Dean of the Library.  “They have helped the library and tens of thousands of students over the past few years by funding library technology and now they have moved in a new direction with this project.”

Asher is currently searching for an author or memoirist to lead the program for summer 2013. The writer will be provided with a summer office to work on a project and will teach the creative writing workshop in the Library to the public.

“This project is really going to make a difference,” Asher said.  “There are a lot of writers in the community and this is an opportunity for them to learn and share with someone who has achieved literary success.”

For more information about the Walter Stiern Library’s Writer-In-Residence Program, contact Curt Asher at 661-654-3042 or casher@csub.edu.

— Jennifer Burger, CSUB Public Affairs Coordinator