Onward, UCI Students!

Touring ice cream truck comes to UCI to celebrate the campus and the UC.


The UC Office of the President (UCOP) continued its “Onward California” tour of the University of California campuses with a stop at UC Irvine last Tuesday, Oct. 16. Students who visited the bright orange truck parked in the middle of Aldrich Park received water bottles, tote bags and cold gelato bars.

The Onward California program began its tour in San Francisco as an effort to raise awareness and support for the UC systems, the volunteering staff bringing along poster boards and information booths chronicling the history of the campuses and how far they have come. The tour began on Sept. 14 in northern California as the truck traveled south, visiting each of the UC campuses before ending on Oct. 25 with a final visit to UC Merced.

“The biggest message that I think we’re trying to carry out with this tour is that higher education in the University of California needs support beyond the campus wall,” Christine Andrews, the tour manager of the event, said. “So when students leave here, they need to carry that message throughout the rest of their lives, that the UC needs support, that people need to be educated about the issues.”

Before visiting UC Irvine, the truck made a stop at the Irvine Spectrum mall on Saturday, Oct. 13, where staff volunteers said a large number of individuals came out to lend their support.

“I do a lot of marketing programs, and it’s been really cool,” Christopher Joe Ortiz, a member of the Onward California staff, said “There’s so many UCs, that it’s all one big thing, and they’ve all done something special for the world.”

Ortiz commented that, from his experience with the tour on other campuses, the students have all been generally supportive of the program’s mission.

Janice Hopkins, the director of marketing for University communications at UCI, acted as the campus contact for the Office of the President.

“This is a system-wide event that’s been in planning for close to nine months,” Hopkins said. “Part of the objective here is to really interact with the community at large. I really think it’s about the general awareness about how the University of California impacts the lives of Californians and even people across the world.”

Alongside the truck, the UC Irvine Stem Cell Research Center (SCRC) set up their informational booth. SCRC members handed out informational fliers as well as bracelets in an effort to raise awareness for the center and its operations.

“It’s a way for the student population to be aware that there is a resource center that’s available to both the community as well as to the students if they show interest in being involved with community types of activities, with community relations or with employment opportunities that might arise in the future,” SCRC volunteer Michael Aniel said.

“We hope to get people interested, to get the word out and to get people curious,” Laura Clifton of Administrations and Support for the SCRC, said. “The more intellectually curious they are about the subject, the more they’re going to find out, the more they’re going to discover, and it changes people’s mindsets, which is very important.”

The UCI Spirit Squad also worked in collaboration with the program to promote the Onward California tour. Fourth-year sociology major Amanda Rolle and her fellow squad members were present holding signs with school-spirited messages.

“I think it’s a really neat promotion that they’re doing for the UC system,” Rolle said. “I’ve been in it for four years, so I really believe in the UC system. I think we should continue to provide funds and to provide more support for it so that we can educate more people and get more opportunities. I just hope people don’t just feel that this is just another place that we are going to school, but rather take more pride in their school, where they are, and the system that they are in.”