News In Brief

Compiled by Colin Murphy, Suzanne Cassaza and Maxine Wally

Sustainability House now Online in Arroyo Vista

The Sustainability House 1008 in Arroyo Vista — a project of student leaders and UCI’s Environment Institute — is now online.

Its objectives, according to founder Colin Murphy, are to set an example of sustainable living for other student communities, help catalyze UC Irvine’s sustainable development and educate the community about sustainability.

Points of interest range from environmental conservation to economic and social justice.

Some residents have expressed interest in eventually transitioning the house to a self-governing, co-operative space.

“The idea of an entirely student-run living space –  a co–op — is foreign to UCI, but I think the university would really benefit from it,” Murphy said. “Co-operatives can be powerful in creating resilient communities.”

It is unknown whether or not the house will become a co-operative during its first year. Nonetheless, AV 1008’s residents are interested in experimenting with aspects of co-operative living, such as weekly community dinners and house improvement projects.

UCI now offers three on-campus residences emphasizing sustainability: the Global Sustainability theme hall in Mesa Court, the Sustainability House in Arroyo Vista and the Culinary House, also in AV.

AV 1008 plans to collaborate extensively this year with the Culinary Arts house and the Real Food Challenge. The three groups will work together on a quarter-acre educational garden in AV, which was recently approved by administration.

CALPIRG Sheds Light on New Healthcare Bill; Focus on Students

modo dolor acip et ullaore mCALPIRG has recently put out “The Young Person’s Guide to Health Insurance,” a pamphlet aiming to inform people in their late teens and early twenties about how to get health insurance under the new health care law.

The compact guide, written by health care policy expert Mike Russo and federal health care advocate for CALPIRG Larry McNeely, details types of coverage available for students, along with ways to pay for insurance. Readers find explanations of key insurance terms, as well as concise and accessible lists of young people’s rights for receiving coverage, rebates and being dropped from an insurance plan.

Additionally the guide details new policy changes effective Sept. 23, 2010 along with further changes coming Jan. 1, 2014.

The guide’s first recommendation for students: “Call Mom and Dad.” People under the age of 26 under most health care insurance plans are allowed to stay on their parent or guardian’s coverage without any extra charge. The guide also features other sources of information, including one’s place of work, current insurance plan and college or university.

Nina Desai, a biological sciences major, presented her story this past Thursday, expressing apprehension towards the thought of being dropped from her parents’ insurance policy once June rolled around.

With the passing of the new health care reform, however, Desai and other graduates are covered until age 26, thus lengthening coverage and placating fears of being released from under the health care wing.

Under the new legislation, copays are eliminated and fewer will end up using the ER as a primary doctor, which will get rid of costly hospital bills. Additionally, coverage cannot be denied as a result of preexisting conditions.

“This is a pivotal day in health care reform,” Desai said. “It is important for students to be educated about health care before the time comes when they have to ask: ‘now what?’”

CALPIRG’s pamphlet “The Young Person’s Guide to Health Insurance” can be found on their website, www.calpirg.org .

Annual Coastal Clean-Up Brings Volunteers to the Beach

Saturday marked the 26th annual California Coastal Clean-Up Day, California’s largest state-wide volunteer event. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m, volunteers set up camp at numerous sites along the coast, combining efforts to clean their local beaches and waterways.

Orange County, with only half of its volunteer sites counted, had about 5,000 working volunteers at 30 marine sites including Balboa Pier; Bolsa Chica State Beach;  Wetlands, Huntington Beach; Newport Beach and Crystal Cove State Park.

UCI’s Center for Service in Action attracted UCI students and sent volunteers to various locations to participate.

Volunteers picked up debris, separated trash from recycling and disposed of whatever trash they found.

Cigarette butts in the sand and styrofoam were the most prominent forms of litter, and proved particularly difficult to remove. Aside from cleaning the beaches, the event also promoted awareness and education about the effects of trash and non-biodegradable materials on the environment.

This year, statewide volunteers collected over 620,063 pounds of trash and 57,389 pounds of recycling. The program, sponsored by the California Coastal Commission, was initiated in 1985 and has had over 1 million participants.