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Page 24 | features

Monday, November 2, 2009 | New university

S4S: Green and Clean Neopets Are Still Cool: By Traci Garling Lee Staff Writer

Alexis Kim is obsessed with food. Real food, that is. As the current co-chair of Students for Sustainability, she hopes to see more of it on the UCI campus. It’s a part of the group’s mission: a sustainable future. It sounds like an intimidating goal to accomplish, but Students for Sustainability is proving that it’s not impossible. Students for Sustainability, or S4S, is a growing group that’s already helped to make big changes on campus. Last spring, Kim, a third-year Earth and Environmental Sciences major, and UCI alumnus Mark Broad helped lead The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) campaign to provide over $130,000 in grants each year for sustainable projects to fight global climate change and lower UCI’s carbon footprint. The measure passed successfully, bringing UCI another step closer to “going green.” “We are focused on the local community,” second-year Ecology and Evolution Biology major Amy Chong said. S4S is unique because their campaigns come from student ideas and not a larger organization. Chong, the group’s Media Coordinator, hopes to see more support for student-led cam-

paigns to encourage the UCI community to take initiative to create change on campus. S4S began as a chapter of the California Student Sustainability Coalition by grad student Candice Carr Kelman and UCI alumnus Alicia Langton in 2006. As a group, they helped campaign for the passage of the UC Sustainability Policy. Their goals were to make sure that UCs were recycling e-waste with responsible recyclers who were not just shipping it overseas, to create e-waste drop-off programs for students, to get green electronics purchasing policies instituted and to use the purchasing power of the UC system to drive the electronics industry to make less toxic and longer lasting products. “Electronics made for European countries are made to stricter standards,” Kelman said. “Why not for us?” S4S has been fundamental in encouraging UCI Dining to switch to organic, cage-free eggs. Additionally, the group has also worked with the dining commons to educate students about the negative environmental impacts of wasting food. The members of S4S are all passionate about their interests, from water conservation, to recycling to stopping animal cruelty. S4S has also been the starting ground for both the Real Food

Challenge and the Education for Sustainable Living Program at UCI. The Real Food Challenge is a national campaign that officially began at UCI last fall and focuses on sustainability of the campus’s food system. “We define real food as food that nourishes the earth, the communities, the consumer and the producer,” third-year president of the Real Food Challenge group at UCI, Alexandra Nagy, said. “It is food that is ecologically sound, community based, humane and fair.” Among other projects, Real Food Challenge and S4S are working together to begin a Campus Garden Campaign started. The Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) is also hoping to stimulate change by offering a course that will encourage students to search for more sustainable solutions for the ecological, economic and social challenges of the 21st century. Third-year Shari Bush, an avid supporter for ESLP, hopes that the program will help people realize the effect their choices have on the world and motivate everyone to make better choices. “Right now, I think that one of the really important things See s4s, page 26

Zimbabowie and Me

By Amanda Robbins Zimbabowie, my rainbow Gnorbu, is very special to me. After a long day of class, work and social engagements, Zimbabowie is my patient and kind companion. He watches me with that bright grin of his while I lay an extensive pipe system to deliver juice to thirsty Meepits. I’m talking about Neopets, of course. I’m sure you all remember Neopets and now you’re probably wondering how your abandoned Neopets are doing these days. I’ll tell you how they’re doing – they’re dying. Thankfully, since this is Neopets, your beloved pets may be in a perpetual state of neardeath but they’ll never actually bite the bullet. The fact that I still play Neopets is my not-so-deep, not-so-dark secret. Like many of you out there, I began playing Neopets at a very young age, but it didn’t really hold my interest until embarking on my senior year of high school. A few friends of mine had played obsessively when they were young, and for some reason, had a renewed interest in the Web site. During lunch, we discussed our high scores, our paintbrush finds and our Pant Devil related strife. We developed a complex system

of sharing our resources by adding each other as friends and sending items back and forth through NeoMail. If anyone was in need of NeoPoints, we were there to give them some. If anyone’s Neopet came down with a Neo-malady and needed a Neo-cure that the pharmacy was out of, we would scour the Web site for them. Neopets was a form of therapy for us. Nothing about it was serious; nothing about it was an obligation or responsibility and there’s nothing like a mindless point-andclick flash game to take your mind off the endless banalities of high school. We held these truths to be self-evident: our Neopets will never leave us, and Faerie Bubbles will never fail to be an effective time-killer. But like every 10-year-old, we grew out of Neopets. Months later, during my first round of finals during the fall of 2007 here at UCI, I remembered Zimbabowie. He came from a time of band practice and home-cooked dinners, not from a world of humanities core and Del Taco five nights per week. I broke down and tried to log into my old account. The username had something to do with being the queen of a land called


See neopets, page 26



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FASHION | from page 23 the show began. A model glided down the runway to a rhythmic, hypnotic song in a backless, redsatin dress. With bold shoulders and a row of pleats arranged in a v-shape down the front, the dress was youthful because of its short length and vivid color, yet sophisticated due to its intricate detailing. It set the tone for the rest of Alexander’s show, which mostly consisted of party dresses in body-conscious silhouettes and separates with a twist. In addition to the womenswear collection, Alexander also showcased his menswear collection that included lots of knits, studs and shorts. The first two dresses appeared to be satin and had high necklines, high hemlines and exaggerated shoulders. They were followed by another mini dress, this one was taupe with loose half-sleeves and cutouts at the waist. Next, Alexander paired tiered, nude-colored skirts accented with snakeskin-print accents on snakeskinprint blouses. One dress that garnered an audible buzz from the crowd was an olive mini dress that ambitiously paired pleats with rows of golden studs at the asymmetrical collar, waist and bottom hem. Another crowd-pleasing moment was when three models sauntered down the catwalk in coordinating cap-sleeved bodysuits with daring deep-v panels. My favorite looks, however, involved sequins – a nightlife staple. Like the rest of Alexander’s looks, the sequined dresses were party-ready and definitely not for the shy. An audience favorite was a slinky black sequined floor-length gown with short sleeves, no back and a high slit up the side. In addition to whispers from the show’s attendees, there was

S4S | from page 24 that S4S can do is continue to raise awareness among the students about the UC Sustainability Policy and to help UCI strive to meet the ambitious goals set out in the policy,” Kelman said. As S4S continues to grow and inspire others, Kelman, Kim, Chong, Nagy and Bush are opti-

NEOPETS | from page 24


“Morbidia,” revealing a frighteningly embarrassing picture of my young psyche. Needless to say, I opted for a new account. I logged back on and found my old friend in the Neopian state of perpetual dying and never looked back. Neopets helps me avoid a lot of things – it appeals to my capitalist sensibilities and it’s the most enjoyable way to unwind. I’ve had friends ask what I actually do on the Web site. “Do you even get to fight them?” my friend, a shameless Pokemon addict, asked.

an audible swish as the model made her way down the catwalk. My absolute favorite garment in Alexander’s collection was the blue and silver sequined mini dress that combined the two shades to achieve a unique iridescence, as if the silver sequins were painted on the blue base. I also adored Alexander’s silver and gold dresses that combined futuristic, metallic material with retro silhouettes. The silver dress was reminiscent of a Hershey’s Kiss: foil-like, but with a sweet peplum skirt. While a form-fitting gold party dress might recall C-3PO, the bustier shape of this particular dress kept the look feminine, provocative and far away from cyborg territory. As one collection, the fabric choices were somewhat not cohesive; snakeskin-print silks, sequins in several shades and jewel-tone satins don’t seem as though they belong in the same show. However, the qualities that made each garment so unique did not diminish their appeal as individual pieces. While the materials were a wide array of textures and hues, they were united in their untraditional nature. The use of shiny, PVC-like material in the dresses and panels of the skirts as well the use of spandex in the skintight leotards added a futuristic appeal that would not have been present if the collection only included traditional satin and sequins for its eveningwear. Glamour, shine and lots of leg were consistent throughout the show (with each model standing tall in platform heels, of course). The silhouettes were kept modern and simple enough so that each dress was attention-grabbing and fun but not cheesy. Overall, despite the rather arbitrary choices of material, most of the pieces themselves were impressively made and highly covetable. mistic for a more sustainable future. “We’re students who care about sustainability,” Kim said, “and we want to truly manifest that saying: Think globally, act locally.” For more information about S4S, visit I could battle if I wanted, but even a virtual dog fight leaves a bad taste in my mouth. However, Zimbabowie is a proficient underwater fisher. I keep to playing brightly colored flash games, feeding fictional cartoon animals strange food items and hoarding Neopoints. Nearly all my friends played Neopets when they were younger and some of them even had their own guilds. Still others had their accounts frozen due to intricate Neopoint laundering schemes. I bet you want to log on now, don’t you? Sparkleshine, your blue Kacheek, misses you.


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S4S: Green and Clean  

New University - Nov. 2, 2009

S4S: Green and Clean  

New University - Nov. 2, 2009