The Best New And Upcoming Website For Aggies: UCDiscourse

The Best New And Upcoming Website For Aggies: UCDiscourse

SmartSite is overrated... Schedule Builder is slow.... Forget Piazza. And how many websites can one school expect you to visit for essentially one piece of a collection of similar information? Well, finally, Aggies your solution is here. And it's called UCDiscourse.

UC Davis prides itself on the saying: One World, One UC Davis... And yet, why can't there be one website to locate all of your academic data?! There is My UC Davis, Schedule Builder, SmartSite, major websites, and myriad others. Trying to find a class these days can be an unnecessarily tedious task by the time you check which course you need to complete for your major, locate the checklist to see if it fulfills any other requirements, add it on Schedule Builder, go to Rate My Professor, etc. Well, UC Davis community, life just got a whole lot easier. How? Simple:

Two second year computer science majors, Minu Palaniappan and Andy Haden, with the help of the ASUCD entrepreneurship fund, came together and developed an easy-to-access website that encompasses all the resources a UC Davis student could ever need. This website allows students to check graduation status in regard to the checklist of GE and major requirements (including the topical breadth/core literacy requirements), view an enrollment graph and grade distribution of each class, build a schedule and manage conflicts, compare professors at Davis teaching the course you would like to take, and compare textbook prices.

In addition to all these proficient features, there are even more on the way. Some ideas that Minu and Andy are still discussing and hope to see in the future include: being able to share your schedule with friends, campus map that shows where classes are, texting features, and integrating Khan Academy. UCDiscourse is essentially a convenient search engine and discovery tool that centrally focuses on the success of each and every student individually in the midst of such a large body of scholars.

"We want to build a community around this website," said Minu. "We want Discourse to be the number one destination for course navigation. Discourse is run by students, and as a result, there is a more personal connection. There are no restrictions from the school or faculty that are stopping us from building awesome features. For example, Discourse plans to add texting notifications for users who want to know if classes are filling up or if pass time is coming up. The school doesn’t have the time, funds, or resources to build any of this. It's on us, students, to make the changes."

And UCDiscourse means what it says. Discourse wanted to investigate the impact Katehi had on the school textbook system in regard to Wiley (the publisher she moonlighted for). In its search for textbook data, the numbers indicated that Wiley was one of the most involved publishers on campus, legitimizing the concerns many had over Katehi's actions. While many people focused on Katehi's direct actions, UCDiscourse investigated the scene to find out just how much it impacted the students, adding clarity to the situation's ramifications to our community. To read more about this check out the article.

The academic environment created by UC Davis has cultivated confusion among a majority of students. UC Discourse is here to fix the severe issues that make it difficult to navigate through a major. This is the first complete service, for the students brought to you by the students.

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Parkland Students Organize March On Washington

"Students all over the country are going to be joining us because the adults have let us down."

Nikolas Cruz opened fire on teachers and students at Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine's Day. Now, students from the school are speaking out. Several told “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press” this past Sunday that the government is letting them down. They say they are creating a national movement to stomp out gun violence.

Government polarization and the cultural divide in the United States separates the country on gun control. 75 percent of Republicans worry the government will go too far in restricting gun rights while 73 percent of Democrats fear the government will fail to do enough to regulate guns, according to NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

Five student survivors talked with CBS’s “Face The Nation” about their discontent with the government's actions towards gun regulation. One of the survivors, Emma Gonzalez, said: “People who we put into power, who should be working for us, they have us working for them. And that’s pitiful.” The teenagers are organizing a march on Washington to rally students from all parts of the country and persuade politicians to enforce stricter gun laws.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Love Chinese Food! Really? (PART III)

Please don't pressure me to change if you say you welcome me.

Last week I discussed how immigrants are pressured to assimilate by public policies. Now let's look from a different aspect.

Unlike the systematic language policies, popular culture encourages assimilation in a less planned way. Yet, because popular culture is more embedded in people’s daily lives, it potentially influences more people on a daily basis than public policies. This arena not only lacks accurate and positive depictions of immigrants, but it has actually been promoting the dehumanization of immigrants.

Popular media either pokes fun at exaggerated racial stereotypes or only features highly Americanized immigrant characters. For instance, in the popular CBS show 2 Broke Girls, the only immigrant character, Han Lee is a Korean American. He has an exaggerated accent, limited knowledge of American culture, short stature, and a lack of masculinity. He is the constant target of ruthless jokes from major characters, like Max Black and Caroline Channing. In other words, the audience is supposed to look down upon this stereotypical poorly-assimilated immigrant.

On the other hand, the recent ABC show Fresh Off the Boat features, in a positive light, the struggles of a Chinese immigrant family, the Huangs, to embrace their “American dream” and assimilate into American society. Incidentally, all these “immigrants” speak perfect English. The Huangs, in fact, teach immigrant viewers the way towards success – assimilation. Popular culture’s representation of immigrants, like the ridiculous Han Lee and the “hard-working” Huangs, covertly privileges well-assimilated immigrants and dehumanizes immigrants in their original form.


When I was in high school preparing for American colleges, I had an American teacher. He was very well respected among us. The ones chosen to be in his class were seen as extraordinary and promising, while those not chosen strove to fit his standard so that he might set his eyes on us. And what was his standard? Excel in English literature and AP classes.

I remember when my AP grades improved so much that this teacher, for the first time, spoke to me and even invited me to join him and his chosen students for dinner. I was so thrilled as if I had just won a lottery. In our minds, he was the epitome of America – the country we were dreaming of. Being chosen by him assured us that we could realize our American dreams.

After all, this American saw the potential in us; this must have meant something, right? And one day, the teacher suddenly decided that everyone must only speak English at school. His chosen students were terrified because being caught speaking Chinese would mean never seeing an "A" in this teacher’s class again. While for the rest of us, we felt ashamed to ever speak Chinese in his presence again.

The immigrants in America are like me and my classmates in high school. Some of them are lucky enough to be the chosen ones. They can stay and maybe even thrive without too much trouble. Their American dreams are within reach.

Others are not so lucky.

They may just manage to survive and are struggling to be recognized. But, all immigrants are bided by American rules. They must work extra hard to be chosen. America is like that high school teacher. He promised us a beautiful future in America. He said he did everything so that we may thrive in the land of opportunities.

We believed and respected him.

But this teacher did not want the real us. He wanted to change us. Most Americans said they welcome immigrants, but immigrants are expected to change and cater to American taste.

They must leave behind their own cultures and languages.

They must fill their minds with American the spirit because otherwise the “teacher” will not even set eyes on them.

Their dream of becoming an “A” student – making a good fortune and be successful – depends on the “teacher’s” favor. The way to their American dreams is to assimilate.

However, even hard work does not guarantee an “American-dream-come-true future”. I tried. I significantly improved my grades. I could talk fluently in English. The teacher finally set eyes on me. He invited me to his chosen group dinner! But he never fulfilled his promise.

Many Americans, especially in today’s political atmosphere, loudly announce their acceptance and welcoming of immigrants. Among these are my American friends, who constantly confess their love of Chinese food. Their love for Chinese food, like some Americans’ encouragement of immigrants, only extends to the Americanized versions.

Behind the mask of a “heart-warming” smile towards immigrants, America actually privileges assimilation, through constructing a desirable “model immigrant” image, systematic language policies, and ludicrous popular culture representations.

Before they ever claim to whole-heartedly welcome immigrants again, Americans should probably consider: whether they genuinely think so, or are they simply paying a lip service and welcome only Americanized immigrants?

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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