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Bruin Walk part of UCLA experience

By Shaudee Navid

Oct. 11, 2004 9:00 p.m.

At 5 a.m., while most students are still asleep, others
strategically plan how to claim a table on Bruin Walk to advertise
their student groups.

Strolling through the stretch ““ beginning from the dorms
and ending in the Royce Hall plaza ““ is no easy feat as
dozens of students and group leaders bombard fellow students with
an endless supply of fliers.

Though most organizations that advertise on Bruin Walk carry an
ethnic element or religious stance, they welcome all kinds of
students. But the emphasis on filtering out particular students for
their club is a usual sight.

In its main strip between Bruin Plaza and Kerckhoff Hall, over a
dozen tables, promoting everything from religious organizations to
fraternities, line the walkway.

While some groups such as Project Literacy, a community service
organization, simply recruit whoever is willing to tutor adults and
children, other affiliations seem to target certain students.

“People who are not on cell phones or looking down or
people who have already got fliers” are the students Tasha
Sivarajah, a fourth-year computer science student, and
administrative director for Project Literacy, said she looks
for.

For new students, avoiding Bruin Walk is already on the top of
their college survival list among buying textbooks and figuring out
how to get to class.

First-year psychology student Matthew Barragan, who has now
learned to take an alternative route to campus, was shocked about
the activity on Bruin Walk.

“I thought it was a carnival or something, but it
didn’t stop,” Barragan said.

Though he has only been on campus for a week now, Barragan said
he has already noticed that certain groups target a specific crowd
of people.

“There are dance clubs, but it’s like every club has
a racial thing in front of it. … It’s so narrowed down,
which is cool, but it excludes a lot of people,” Barragan
added.

Though the Vietnamese Student Union and other ethnic groups
accept students from all different backgrounds, Cammie Phan, site
coordinator for VSU said students who are interested in their
organization are usually Vietnamese.

“We just provide a space (at Bruin Walk) for the people in
the club to hang out. We don’t do much fliering,” she
said.

“It’s difficult to tell between Vietnamese and
Chinese. … At our club we have different ethnicities, but the
ones that are interested are Vietnamese.”

The Greek System is also among one of the most aggressive tables
on Bruin Walk, especially at the beginning of fall quarter as they
seek particular students for their group.

“Some Greek houses target particular physical
characteristics ““ sororities tend to be (after) the more
hourglass, barbie-doll type of girls,” said Nick Colvard, a
second-year biology student who receives mostly fliers from
fraternities and barely any from ethnic organizations.

Occupying a great majority of the tables on Bruin Walk are many
ethnic-based Christian organizations.

“A lot of the time we tend to target Asians because we are
an Asian fellowship,” said Kristen Nakano, a fourth-year
sociology and psychology student and women’s ministry
coordinator for the Asian American Christian Fellowship.

Nakano added that when the organization was first founded, it
targeted Asians as a means to provide “a place away from
home,” she said.

“People who are not Asian don’t feel as open to
coming because of the name, so sometimes we have to explain to
them,” Nakano said.

Though they are part of a diverse campus, students who are of
mixed racial backgrounds can at times feel excluded from these
organizations, too.

“I feel ostracized by Asians because I am not full
Asian,” said Ali Gee, a second-year business economics
student who is half white and half Chinese. “I don’t
identify with that side of my culture ““ they don’t
accept me; they don’t say it, but you feel it.”

Though the name of some organizations carry a certain ethnicity,
such as “Asian American” or “Jewish,” the
name does not entirely limit who can join the organization, said
Grace Lin, who is a member of the Asian American Multimedia
Productions.

“It was called Asian American Multimedia Productions to
give more representation of Asians in multimedia,” Lin said.
“Whoever takes a flier, I will give a flier to. … (We have)
given fliers to all kinds of people.”

Sean Canullas, a third-year electrical engineering and Asian
American studies student and Samahang Pilipino member, also
acknowledged that certain groups on Bruin Walk do aim toward a
specific audience.

“I know that when I pass by religious groups and I am
wearing my cross, I tend to get more fliers,” Canullas
said.

When Nick deCampo, a second-year computer science and
engineering student, who tables for Samahang Pilipino, said he
hands out fliers to everyone.

“I’ll still flier to people who are not Pilipino,
but I advertise that we are a Pilipino group,” deCampo
said.

Like deCampo, Joline Price, publicity chair for the Jewish
Student Union, said that though they accept everyone, they are
“obviously” aiming toward recruiting from the Jewish
community.

“I think definitely people target certain groups. I get
handed Christian fliers all the time. … They try to recruit
everyone,” Price said.

Over the years, Bruin Walk, a characteristic unique to UCLA, has
become part of the university experience, though for some students
it’s not an enjoyable one.

“I try to avoid Bruin Walk. I take Janss steps,”
said Cheryl Hipp, a second-year linguistics student. “I
don’t like being harassed, and I don’t like saying no,
so I avoid the issue.”

Talking on cell phones, wearing sunglasses and walking with
their heads down are just a few techniques students use to dodge
the eager student group representatives.

Though highly dreaded at times, some use the walk as a means for
amusement on the way to class.

“Sometimes it is fun to see if you can make it through
without talking to people ““ make it a game,” Gee
said.

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Shaudee Navid
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