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

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Walter Presents with Award-Winning Filmmaker, Moctesuma Esparza

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Award-winning filmmaker, producer, entrepreneur, activist, and owner of Maya Cinemas, Moctesuma Esparza will give a talk at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) as part of the Walter Presents series on September 27 at 6 p.m. in the Dezember Reading Room of the Walter Stiern Library. The Walter Presents event is part of the celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month.

“We’re very pleased that Moctezuma Esparza will be Stiern Library’s guest for Hispanic Heritage Month.  His work in film and business is well known and I am certain his talk will be inspiring,” said Dean of the Walter W. Stiern Library, Curt Asher.

Students will be interested to find out more on Esparza’s path to success, his films and why the arts matter for everyone, especially those who are economically disadvantaged.

Esparza has done much for this community. He established Maya Cinemas, a chain of modern move theatre complexes with the focus on providing main stream entertainment in Latino centric underserved communities. As a filmmaker, Esparza is most-known for his production credits on “Selena,” “The Milagro Beanfield War,” “Gettysburg,” “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez,” and HBO productions, “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” and “Walkout.”

Esparza founded the Los Angeles Academy of Arts and Enterprise Charter School, is Co-Founder of NALIP, Co-Founder and former Chair of the NAA, and is a Founding Board Member of the Sundance Insitute. He has served the City of Los Angeles as a Commissioner to the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System and was also appointed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the planning commission of the National Museum of the American Latino. He is also a trustee of the American Film Institue. He has been nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy, and has been awarded with more than 200 honors and awards including an Emmy, Clio, John F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Ohio State Award, Cine Golden Eagle and the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Los Angeles Region as well as being listed as one of the most influential Latinos in the US consistently for over three decades.

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  

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/.

CSUB Professor Brian M. McNamara Appointed as Superior Court Judge

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In late November, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced the appointment of Brian M. McNamara, a CSU Bakersfield professor and practicing attorney, to a judgeship in the Kern County Superior Court. McNamara was sworn in yesterday during a special ceremony held at 4pm at the Kern County Board of Supervisors Chambers on Truxtun Ave.

McNamara, 57, of Bakersfield, has been a solo criminal law practitioner since 1998 and a professor of business law and management information systems in the School of Business and Public Administration at California State University, Bakersfield since 1986. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Newport University School of Law, a doctorate degree and Master of Science degree in sport management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Stirling in Scotland. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert J. Anspach.

“It was a year ago that I was pleased to send a confidential evaluation to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation on behalf of then-candidate Brian McNamara.  I said at that time, ‘I believe Dr. McNamara is exceptionally well qualified for a judicial appointment.’  I am pleased that Governor Brown and others agree,” said Dr. Horace Mitchell, President of CSU Bakersfield.

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McNamara ceremoniously dons his judge’s robe with the assistance of his wife Michelle

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McNamara relates a funny story about being in Sacramento to interview for the appointment. 

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The ceremony and robing was a moving and funny tribute to a man who, while born in Scotland, has a passion and love for the United States and Bakersfield specifically. McNamara is an avid cyclist, devoted husband, proud dad, and tireless defense attorney. In addition, he calls himself a “code monkey” because for years he has written computer code. Just another thing McNamara does better than most other people.

On behalf of CSUB, congratulations Judge McNamara! May your tenure on the bench be long and storied and tempered with much wisdom and humility. All of us at CSUB wish you a fruitful judgeship.

Faculty at CSUB, of which Judge McNamara is a shining example, are second to none.

Dr. Horace Mitchell, President, CSUB, congratulates Judge McNamara immediately following his swearing in.Image

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

Rowdy Run on course to become annual tradition

More than 100 CSUB freshmen, staff, faculty and alumni ran across the soccer field as part of the inaugural Rowdy Run on Sept. 10, 2011, the first day of Fall Quarter.
More than 100 CSUB freshmen, staff, faculty and alumni ran across the soccer field as part of the inaugural Rowdy Run on Sept. 10, 2011, the first day of Fall Quarter.

In the scheme of things, California State University, Bakersfield is a young university. Since opening its doors in 1970, there has remained plenty of room to create new traditions as the campus grows. This fall, under the leadership of CSUB’s new Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Thomas Wallace, three new traditions ushered in the freshman class.

New Student Convocation was the scene of two of these new traditions: parents tacked gold pins onto their freshmen in a pinning ceremony and academically successful second-year students cheered them on from the Sensational Sophomores section.

Then, the following evening, energy filled the air as more than 100 freshmen, CSUB staff, faculty and alumni convened at the far end of the soccer field during the break between the men’s and women’s double header soccer games. Led by the Roadrunner mascot, Rowdy, and dressed in CSUB blue and gold, the crowd took off at a fast pace across the field. Over the PA system, a voice announced the Graduating Class of 2016.

This was the Rowdy Run.

“To be a part of sharing that excitement, it was a wonderful feeling. Actually, exhilarating,” Wallace said.

Wallace admits he borrowed the idea from Vanderbilt University when he saw a similar event celebrating freshmen at a football game against the University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss. (Wallace worked at Ole Miss for 20 years.)

“It’s a way of introducing our freshman class to the campus and to the Bakersfield community,” he said. “But it’s also a chance to emphasize degree completion. They are introduced as the Class of 2016. The expectation is, while we are excited about your running across the soccer field to the CSUB fight song, we want to also be excited four years from now when you walk across the stage to get your diploma.”

Wallace says he expects the Rowdy Run to grow each year as the new tradition takes hold among freshmen. He also looks forward to implementing more traditions at CSUB.

“I look forward to working with our campus, students, faculty, staff and alumni on developing traditions that are good for our campus,” he said.

– Jennifer Burger, CSUB Public Affairs Coordinator

Corsons share blessings with scholarship endowment

Sylvia Corson, right, is surprised to see her mentor, CSUB psychology professor Dr. Kathy Ritter, at Dewar's when she arrives for a birthday celebration.
Sylvia Corson, right, is surprised to see her mentor, CSUB Psychology Professor Dr. Kathy Ritter, at Dewar’s when she arrives for a birthday celebration.
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Sylvia Corson is in disbelief when she opens a gift-wrapped box and finds an endowment agreement for a scholarship in her name.
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From left: John Corson, CSUB Dean of Social Sciences and Education Dr. Kathleen Knutzen, Sylvia Corson, CSUB Psychology Professor Dr. Kathy Ritter, and CSUB Development Officer Patty Keefer.

Rev. John and Sylvia Corson have everything they need in life. So when John thought about what to do for his wife’s milestone 75th birthday, he decided to honor her in an extra-special way. He secretly worked with a development officer at his wife’s alma mater, California State University, Bakersfield, to establish the Sylvia Bradbury Corson Scholarship Endowment. Then he asked family and friends to pitch in to the fund.

“There is no piece of jewelry that would last and endure and have as much meaning as a scholarship for students,” said John. “She had a marvelous experience at Cal State when she got her master’s. It seems an appropriate way to recognize her, her life, her achievements, and to give back to others.”

John surprised Sylvia with the gift by taking her to the local ice cream shop Dewar’s for an afternoon birthday treat. When they arrived, a small contingent from CSUB waited inside to surprise her with blue and gold cupcakes, flowers, and a gift-wrapped box containing the endowment agreement. Sylvia was astounded.

“I just started crying because my family and friends mean so much and to think they would do this for me, this was just an overwhelming, touching, meaningful thing for my life,” Sylvia said

She also was appreciative of her guests: her mentor at CSUB, psychology professor Dr. Kathy Ritter, the dean of the School of Social Sciences and Education, Dr. Kathleen Knutzen, and the CSUB development officer who worked with Rev. Corson to establish the endowment, Patty Keefer.

“It was a very special moment,” Keefer said. “Sylvia was so surprised and overwhelmed with joy. This is truly the best part of my job – to help people help others.”

Sylvia earned a master’s degree in counseling from CSUB in 1980 and worked for many years as a marriage and family therapist. As per her intent, the scholarship will be awarded to majors in social sciences and education with an interest in social services or counseling.

The scholarship endowment was started with just $5,000 raised from more than 50 donations from family and friends – which shows that every gift matters, large and small. As the endowment grows, the investment earnings will be used to award the scholarship. The Corsons plan to continue giving toward the endowment to increase the amount awarded to students each year.

“It’s planting a seed that we want to see grow,” John said. “It’s more fun to see our gifts at work now rather than to wait until we die. This gives us a commitment, a reminder that we want to see this grow.”

To discuss setting up a scholarship or program endowment at CSUB, contact Patty Keefer or Bart Hill in University Advancement at 661-654-2136.

– Jennifer Burger, CSUB Public Affairs Coordinator