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Reviving Chinatown

by on March 03, 2014

Chinese New Year Parade reminds many of the efforts needed to renew Chinatown

Photos by Katie Eleneke / The Collegian Two red lion dancers perform down Kern street in the heart of Chinatown, during the 14th annual Fresno Chinese New Year parade on Saturday.

Photo by Yvette Mancilla / The Collegian
Two red lion dancers perform down Kern street in the heart of Chinatown, during the 14th annual Fresno Chinese New Year parade on Saturday.

Fresno’s Chinatown celebrated the 2014 Year of the Horse with the 14th annual Fresno Chinese New Year Parade on Saturday.

Fresno State President Joseph Castro was present for the festivities, acting as grand marshal for the parade, and thanked community members, faculty and students for all the support during the celebration.

The event was made possible by the Chinatown Revitalization organization, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring Fresno Chinatown and preserving its history through community development, increasing public attraction and improving the area’s appearance.

Kathy Omachi, a board member of the organization said most people now are unaware of the historic diversity the neighborhood once held.

“Think of the word diversity, people think it’s a new word but it’s not,” Omachi said. “This is an area that was an original home for Armenians, African-Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Portuguese, Mexican-Americans, Greek, Germans and Filipino communities. All called Chinatown home and then they dispersed out from the area.”

Because of poor economic times and other factors, Omachi said very few are aware of Chinatown and don’t venture to the area in Downtown Fresno. This was one of the reasons the new year parade was started up again 14 years ago by the committee. The first parade consisted of around four entries, and only 50 people showed up to the watch the two-block procession, Omachi said.

“We take pride on this [the parade],” Omachi said. “We have very few sponsors, but it’s important to us to show people it’s safe to visit here more often. We just kept at it, rain or shine.”

Steve Lee, a Fresno State alumnus and now president of Hua Zang Si Fresno mission, a local Buddhist temple. Lee said that the parade was a great outlet for different people in Fresno to come learn more about the Chinese presence in Fresno.

“There are not a lot of Chinese here, and I think students and more should learn more about Chinese culture,” Lee said.

He added that the youth and local college students are unaware of the culture, and the Fresno mission would be happy to collaborate with Asian-oriented clubs on campus.

“Most of the kids don’t know [about the culture] and don’t know how to speak Chinese,” Lee said. “We try to promote that, too, so they can speak Chinese, and the mission would be interested in doing collaborations with Fresno State clubs.”

Fresno State student Richard Yang volunteered his time to the Fresno chapter of the Food Recovery Network during the parade. Yang said he was ready to eat different foods at the parade provided by the diverse cultures present, but was taken aback by how many different groups there were.

“I was looking forward to the food and to see what other races were on hand to celebrate,” Yang said. “But I was actually surprised to what other cultures are here, and I saw the Scottish group and I was like, ‘Am I at the right place?’ “

Some of the groups present were the Scottish Society of Central California, Tzu Chi Fresno and Fresno Fire Department.

Castro said the Chinese New Year Parade was an important occasion for the various communities in the Central Valley to learn more about Fresno State through the student volunteers who were present.

“I love that our students and faculty have volunteered to serve today,” Castro said. “In their own way, they’re role models for Fresno State. Young kids can see what’s possible through them.”

“It’s a great opportunity for different communities in Fresno and throughout the Valley to know about Fresno State,” Castro said. “It’s especially important for the parents and their children to know that if they want to get a higher education that Fresno State will be there for them.”

Fresno State President Joseph Castro thanks the Chinese New Year Parade volunteers and organizers for their efforts in the community.

Fresno State President Joseph Castro thanks the Chinese New Year Parade volunteers and organizers for their efforts in the community.

Castro also said that he knows how much of the student population at Fresno State complete volunteer and internship hours, but encouraged students to reach more in the underserved Downtown area.

“Students are already volunteering a number of hours every year, and I encourage as many of them to serve throughout the community, especially in Downtown,” Castro said. “I think it’s a great thing that they’ll get more out of it in the experience than however many hours they will put in.”

Omachi said that despite hard times, through the efforts of volunteers and multiple organizations that join the Chinatown Revitalization, the New Year Parade will continue on.

“Just like those 11 communities that were here, you just hang in until you’re successful,” Omachi said. “There is a definite possibility of the 15th parade next year. We plan to keep going for while. We’ve gone through the zodiac once, and we’ll go through it again.”

Men’s Basketball: Bulldogs bust Broncos

by on February 27, 2014

Fresno State sophomore guard Marvelle Harris makes his way toward the bucket during the Bulldogs’ 76-56 victory over the Boise State Broncos. Photo by Katie Eleneke/The Collegian

Fresno State sophomore guard Marvelle Harris makes his way toward the bucket during the Bulldogs’ 76-56 victory over the Boise State Broncos. Photo by Katie Eleneke/The Collegian

Fresno State sophomore guard Marvelle Harris scored a game-high 26 points Wednesday night at the Save Mart Center as the Fresno State men’s basketball team handed the Boise State Broncos their most lopsided loss of the season. (more…)

Men’s Basketball: Bulldogs dominate Spartans

by on February 09, 2014

 For the first time in school history, the Fresno State men’s basketball team won three straight Mountain West games.

The 82-56 win was over in-state conference rival San Jose State (6-17, 0-11 Mountain West) on Saturday night at the Save Mart Center.

The Bulldogs started off hot as they sunk eight of their first 12 3-pointers and jumped out to an 18-6 lead early in the first half. 

Fresno State played one of its best defensive games this season, limiting the Spartans to 30.4 percent shooting from the field and 56 points.

“We really wanted this to be one of our better defensive efforts of the year from start to finish,” said Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry. “I thought our guys came out and gave us a tremendous effort to start the ballgame especially on that end, and we were able to make a lot of shots early as well.”

Led by redshirt sophomore Cezar Guerrero’s 23 points, the ‘Dogs accumulated a 24-point lead in the first half. Guerrero also tied his career-high and was one of three Bulldogs in double figures.

“I’ve been constantly just working on my shot and putting time in the gym,” said Guerrero.

“Practice makes perfect and it just happened to be my game since I happened to shoot the ball really well.”

Other ‘Dogs in double digits were sophomore guard Marvelle Harris and senior guard Tyler Johnson. 

Harris had 16 points and was perfect from 3-point range as he shot 4 for 4. 
Johnson, who had scored 20 points or more in seven of the past nine games coming into this matchup, recorded his sixth double-double of the season by scoring 15 points and grabbing a team-high 10 boards.

“We understand that we have a lot more work to do,” said Johnson. “As easy as it was to win these three straight, we can drop three straight if we don’t come prepared and ready to play.”

There were 6,784 fans in attendance, the second largest crowd of the year.

San Jose State’s Rashad Muhammad and Jaleel Williams led the Spartans in scoring as they each had double figures. 

First-year head coach Dave Wojcik’s squad has now lost 11 straight and remain in last place in the conference.
 
Up next for the ‘Dogs (11-13, 4-7 MW) is a trip to Reno on Wednesday to take on the fourth place Nevada Wolf Pack (12-12, 7-4 MW). 

This will be the second meeting this season between the two. Fresno State lost the previous meeting in double overtime. 

The game will be televised on the Mountain West Network and broadcasted through 940 AM ESPN Radio. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m.

Bertoni to run for ASI president

by on February 06, 2014

Jared Bertoni, a sophomore majoring in business marketing, will run against Associate Students, Inc. President Moses Menchaca in the upcoming ASI elections.

The 19-year-old Fresno native is currently an ASI senator-at-large for clubs and organizations. Besides ASI, Bertoni is a member of Sigma Chi and a student adivser for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) committee, which is dedicated to the integrity and meaning of the accredited degree.

The Collegian sat down with Bertoni and asked him about what he plans to do if elected president, and on what platform he plans to run.

THE COLLEGIAN: What made you want to run for ASI president?

BERTONI: Just being exposed the last two years. I’ve gotten to know a couple of the past ASI presidents, and right away I just could tell it was something I was going to aspire to do at one point.

I feel like I’m a pretty diversified candidate for the job. I understand students on a lot of different levels. I’m not just a student that goes to school and goes home. I’m involved in the school. I’m invested in the school.

What is your platform for campaigning?

From what I’ve seen with past presidents, there’s a hard balance to keep with tying how ASI and the administration relationship goes. I think sometimes you can lose sight of the ASI-student relationship.

The whole reason the student government is here is to serve students. That’s my biggest thing. I want to be a resource for students. I want to be in meetings with students.

I know it’s really important to have relationships with the administration, to be in the loop with that and see what’s going on there, but I want to be there for students.

What are some things you hope to tackle if elected president?

A couple of things:

With the tablet initiative coming up, I’d like to be involved in that initiative. I don’t think that a lot of students were really aware of what was going on. I don’t think that was really fair and transparent. I want to make sure that as it develops and carries on that the affordability and that the student voice is really shed.

Also, allocating funds to the readership program and making sure USA Today and the Wall Street Journal is available to students.

Things like signage and parking are big things. I want to make sure that signs are really distinct in what they’re saying, making sure that students aren’t getting parking violations or that there’s more than enough parking.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be?

I think the biggest challenge initially, if I was elected, is just that there’s so much coming on your plate. There’s so much to get used to and learn. I think that that transition will be kind of tough at first.

I think nothing can quite prepare you for that initial shock of getting [elected].

ASI: New EVP selected, department grants to come

by on January 23, 2014

Associated Students, Inc. selected Justin Whisten, former senator-at-large for athletics and recreation, as the new executive vice president on Wednesday.

The former executive vice president, Candice Amico, resigned to focus on academics during her last semester at Fresno State. Amico joined ASI as the chief of staff in the fall of 2012 and was elected executive vice president last semester.

Whisten joined ASI in 2011 and worked on the activities committee. He ran for senator last spring, and as the senator for athletics and recreation, Whisten said he promoted school spirit at basketball games, helped organize the pep rally and the student T-shirt exchange program.

As the executive vice president, Whisten is the chair of the ASI senate. He will be at the senators’ aid and help with organizing elections and transition for new senators. Whisten will also help ASI President Moses Menchaca organize Fresno State 101.

“I’ll be there to help them get their feet wet so they know how things work,” Whisten said.

He said the senate will try to fill his previous position at the next meeting on Feb. 5.

Meanwhile, “There’s always something to be working on,” Whisten said.

Pete Mehas Funding Grants

ASI senators currently are gathering input from their colleges regarding department needs in terms of equipment that will be eligible for funding from the Pete Mehas Funding Grants.

Rebecca Rosengarten, vice president of finance, said grants will honor the late Pete Mehas, who was on the California State University Board of Trustees.

Last semester, Mikey Sanchez, senator of arts and humanities, requested money from ASI to fund DSLR cameras for students in the mass communication and journalism department to complete assignments.

Through the Mehas grants, other departments in different colleges would have the opportunity to also buy needed academic-related equipment.

During the Feb. 5 meeting, the senate will vote on an action item that will decide an amount for the grants. Each department that applies will be eligible for up to $5,000.

Rosengarten said she predicts the senate will agree on $75,000. If each department applies for the maximum $5,000, up to 15 departments will receive grants.

The money for the grants will not come out of ASI’s operational budget, Rosengarten said, but rather out of reserve pools. ASI has about $1 million in reserves from student fees that were not spent in previous semesters and collected over time, she said.

“This is money that ASI has been saving, and it will be a way to give back to students,” Rosengarten said.

After the Feb. 5 meeting, applications for the grants will be available online Feb. 6 and are due March 7. Rosengarten said if things go as scheduled, departments will receive award letters and grants by the first week of April.

Gearing up for elections

Petitions to run for ASI are now available in the student involvement center, University Student Union Room 306. The deadline for petitions is Feb. 14.

Those who wish to run for a college position must collect signatures from their respective college.

There will be an all-candidates meeting Feb. 19 for an ASI orientation. Candidates should read and have a copy of the election code by this date. University photographer Cary Edmondson will take photos for the ballot. If candidates do not attend this meeting, their names will be dropped from the ballot.

After the all-candidates’ meeting, candidates may begin campaigning, as long as campaigns align with the election code.

Elections will be held March 25-27. Emails will be sent to eligible voting students with passwords, usernames and a link to the ballot.

For the first time this year, the Alumni Association will award a $2,000 scholarship to the newly elected president.

Menchaca to seek re-election, sets goals for new semester

by on January 22, 2014

Moses Menchaca

Photo courtesy of Associated Students, Inc.

Associated Students, Inc. President Moses Menchaca told The Collegian in an exclusive interview that he plans to run for re-election as he overviewed last semester for ASI and outlined some of his goals for the new semester.

THE COLLEGIAN: “What was the most important agenda item that ASI accomplished last semester?”

MOSES MENCHACA: “What we had identified as our goal, myself as well as the executives, was collaboration. One thing we wanted to do was work with other organizations across campus, whether it was student clubs or actual full-time professional organizations like the Alumni Association.

“We have been able to work with other entities, like the Alumni Association, the veterans student association as well as veteran affairs. We worked heavily with athletics during our pep rally. We worked with different campuses in the Central Valley across all CSUs [CSU Stanislaus and CSU Bakersfield], as well as with our neighbors USU Productions and USU Board.

“What initiatives were taken to promote student involvement on campus?”

“We had the first-ever pep rally in the last few years so we used that as a way to create the hype and play off the throw-back theme and the victory of the football team. We also hosted multiple tailgates throughout the year for the football games. There has not been a single football game that Fresno State had where we didn’t host a tailgate and they won. Some correlation there? Possibly.

“The senators did a great job being able to reach some of their own constituents, and we hope to continue those. One new thing in the budget last semester was senator outreach. Each senator has about $500 for some kind of program. It’s been interesting to see how different senators have used it, and we’re interested to see how different senators use it in the future.

“We’ve also been able to do a lot of outreach via social media, Twitter and our KFSR radio station slot. Bulldog Blog has increased and increased its staff as well. This is the first year we have a program and volunteer coordinator who had three of their own student volunteers.”

“As president, how is this semester different from last semester, which was your first semester in office?”

“There’s a lot of sweet and sour with it. Part of it is that you’re starting the semester now with new knowledge of ASI, how it works and how things looks. So that’s definitely nice. One of the harder things this spring semester is there’s only a couple months before elections happen. Once elections happen, a lot of time and effort goes into transition. At that time, a lot of senators, as well as executives, become a sort of sitting duck where their job is just about done.

“One of the hardest things that’s going to fall on the executive teams is keeping up the morale and spirit, keeping students involved and utilizing the senators and encouraging them to reach out to their constituents.”

“Right now we currently had our executive vice president [Candice Amico], who oversees the senate and chairs the meetings, the previous one just resigned. We’re going through the process of bringing someone else on board. Once that’s selected [today], then it will kind of shape the outlook and what we have moving forward and what our goal is.

“We have our Fresno State 101, which is going to be my primary focus. That starts next week.”

“Do you have any goals this upcoming semester as ASI President in the short time before elections?”

“My sights are kind of set on two groups: the veterans and the Greek community. We’ve been able to make the connections with the veterans this last semester, so hopefully now it’s moving forward and looking at ways to create longevity in that relationship, as well as address some of the concerns that they may have. With the Greeks, I feel like the connection could be even stronger, and we can work together for the same efforts and for the same goals. Those two different entities play into community revitalization efforts, as well as just overall involvement.”

“In your opinion, what do you think were some of the strong points from last semester?”

“I really think it was a group effort. ASI came together, and what we all did as an organization was focus on specific areas and jobs, such as the pep rally. Every entity around ASI has really done a great job in their specific group. Through revitalization we’ve been able to raise funds through Helping Hams that surpassed any amount that we’ve ever deemed possible. Same with the canned food drive we had: Our goal was 300 pounds, and we raised almost 2,000. So we’ve been able to help out in community revitalization and have made strides there.

“But really I think that the biggest thing is that ASI was able to come together, create a positive image and play a role at the table with all the new selection of the vice presidents, shared governance and make sure that students have the voice. I heard somebody say today that if you’re not at the table, you’re usually what they’re eating at the table.

“So it’s a great opportunity through ASI for students to really be the voice. The university is going through so much change right now. ASI and the representatives through them can help tailor that to the wants and needs and desires of the students.

“What do you think are some improvements ASI can make this semester?”

“I think it’s really going to stem from the individual senators and targeting their specific colleges.

“I really think it’s going to depend on who the new executive vice president is to give that vision and goal and motivate the students.

“I think those are some of the areas that we can improve on, and I guarantee that we will be able to.”

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