NEWS BRIEFS: Help Harvest a Field, Help Yolo Food Bank

Photo: Harvesting scunions on the Student Farm
Harvesting scunions on the Student Farm. (Alexis Fujii/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • Ombuds office issues midyear report
  • 1st campuswide Shop Safety Manual
  • ARC to open 1 hour earlier on weekdays: 5 a.m.
  • Aggie builders to return to Solar Decathlon
  • Students offer tax preparation assistance

Volunteers are being sought to help with a campus harvest that will benefit the Yolo Food Bank. The harvest is scheduled from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday (Jan. 29) in a student-planted, educational-use field just west of the Student Farm.

The project is being organized by the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden’s Learning by Leading team, comprising student interns in edible landscaping.

Students have harvested the field for personal use in the past, but there was always more produce than they could use. Now, thanks to a few conscientious students who navigated multiple safety and liability issues, the edibles can be given to the food bank.

Harvest volunteers are asked to meet at the Bowley Plant Science Teaching Facility (it’s off Extension Center Drive west of the Rec Pool). RSVPs are requested.

Read more about the harvest and Learning by Leading.

Ombuds office issues midyear report

The Office of the Ombuds last week released a midyear report for 2015-16, recapping the office’s activities and sharing information from a client satisfaction survey.

The report is the last from Ombuds Susan Kee-Young Park, who announced her impending departure. She established the Ombuds Office in June 2013.

Office of the Ombuds annual and midyear reports

1st campuswide Shop Safety Manual

Safety Services has put out UC Davis’ first campuswide Shop Safety Manual, to assist shops in setting up safety programs around the use of stationery equipment.

The manual describes access controls, training, engineering controls, and safe work practices and procedures to be followed by faculty, staff, students, visiting scholars and anyone else working in UC Davis shops.

A shop can be an entire room where equipment is used for fabrication, manufacturing, modification or repair, or part of a room, say, a corner in a laboratory where the lab maintains a drill press.

“This is the product of a lot of people’s input and we’re pleased with the outcome,” said Mark Martin, an industrial safety specialist with Safety Services. “We hope it results in a safer workplace for everyone on campus.”

Ross Boulanger, professor of civil and environmental engineering, chaired the faculty-staff Campus Shop Safety Committee that began work on the manual about two years ago.

Shop Safety Manual website

ARC to open 1 hour earlier on weekdays: 5 a.m.

The Activities and Recreation Center will start opening one hour earlier — at 5 a.m. — weekdays starting next week.

“Now it is easier than ever to fit in a morning workout before heading to the office,” said a spokeswoman for Campus Recreation and Unions, or CRU.

She reminded faculty and staff (and their family members) of their eligibility for discounted CRU membership, which includes access to the ARC.

CRU membership also includes free admission to Hickey Pool and Recreation Pool, free access to Intramural Sports, and low-cost access to a variety of fitness and wellness programs, including group exercise classes, personal training and Fit for Life (specifically designed for members ages 55 and up). CRU members also receive discounts for Youth Programs, Craft Center, Equestrian Center and Outdoor Adventures.

Every new member receives a complimentary personal membership consultation, a one-on-one orientation and tour.

Aggie builders to return to Solar Decathlon

UC Davis will be a return competitor in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, the federal agency announced last week. The biannual contest for students is next set for 2017.

For UC Davis’ first appearance in the contest, in 2015, Team Aggie Sol built a zero-net energy house designed for farmworkers, winning first place for affordability and commuting. See video.

The 2017 lineup comprises 16 teams, including UC Berkeley, the only other California university selected to participate. 

The teams will now begin the two-year process of designing, building and testing solar-powered homes that are affordable, innovative and highly energy efficient. Each team will then take its home apart and haul it in pieces to the competition site, which has not yet been announced.

With the homes reassembled, the competition begins: 10 contests, including market appeal, architecture, engineering, communications, comfort, appliances and the level of energy produced versus energy consumed (energy balance).

Decathlon participation is a campuswide, multidisciplinary effort involving team members from many academic backgrounds, including design, engineering and communications.

UC Davis faculty and staff assisted Team Aggie Sol along the way. Engineering professor Frank Loge, director of the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency, will repeat as faculty adviser in 2017.

Students offer tax preparation assistance

Tax season is here, which means UC Davis’ award-winning coalition of Students in VITA is ready to spring into action to assist low-income people in preparing their tax returns. VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, a free program of the Internal Revenue Service.

Members of UC Davis Students in VITA, like all such volunteers, are IRS-certified.

Last year, the UC Davis VITA contingent helped prepare 337 tax returns worth more than $230,000 in refunds, and earned an IRS Award of Excellence as Partner of the Year, the most prestigious award given to one out of 81 VITA coalitions in the Northern California, Oregon, Nevada region.

UC Davis VITA service is limited to families and individuals making $54,000 or less. The students announced that they will provide tax assistance from Jan. 25 through April 15 (with the exception of March 14-26, due to academic holidays), either once or twice a week at two sites in Davis:

  • Mary L. Stephens Library, 315 E. 14th St. — 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.
  • New Harmony Community Center, 3030 Cowell Blvd. — 5-8 p.m. Mondays and Fridays

Appointments can be scheduled on the Students in VITA website. Contact Students in VITA via Facebook or email.

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