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Creative Ways to Fundraise for Dance Marathon

Dance Marathon is one of UCLA’s beloved annual traditions. Hundreds of students cram into Pauley Pavilion to dance for 26 hours to raise money for the Pediatric AIDS Coalition. Dancers must raise $260 in order to participate in the event, which can be a real struggle for some of us, especially if some of us waited until the last minute to start fundraising. After all, procrastination is truly a talent honed best by college students.

To any aspiring dancers out there who are still struggling to fundraise for DM 2015, here are some suggestions:

1. Utilize the art of self-humiliation

There is a reason that trashy reality television is so popular in today’s culture: We love watching people embarrass themselves. Why else would there be 15 million spinoffs of The Real Housewives? Many DMers volunteer to wear crazy embarrassing outfits, post mortifying #throwbackthursday pictures of themselves and even get a “swag” lip tattoo in order to reach their goals. Now that’s what I call dedication to the cause. If you’re not ready to go through any body-altering procedures just yet, I totally understand. Instead, offer an all-out embarrassing makeup session to donators, complete with a walk around Westwood to show of your fabulous new look.

2. Cater to the ‘turnt’ community

Bake sales are usually the go-to fundraising technique for events like this. They are universally appealing – who doesn’t love food? However, if there is one demographic that loves food more than the average person, it’s definitely drunk people. Setting up stations on the classic corner of Strathmore and Gayley for “drunchies” has proved profitable for many Dance Marathoners. If standing in the cold isn’t really your thing, the access control centers in the residence halls would be another prime location. Quick tip: the greasier the food, the better.

3. Flaunt your talents

All of us have a special skill or weird talent that could totally be used to raise some cash. For the artsy-creative types, a personalized song or poem can be the perfect unique gift. For the campus fashionista, wardrobe consultations can be a great way to encourage donations while making UCLA a better-dressed community. Those fluent in HTML could offer to spice up someone’s blog, while dancers could give lessons to the rhythmically challenged. If you really wanna go the extra mile, try advertising on Bruin Walk to spread the word about your new service.

4. Capitalize on laziness

As a self-proclaimed Postmates addict, I am doing no good to dissuade the stereotype that college students are lazy. Use your inside knowledge as real life college student to your advantage to determine what YOU would want to make your life easier. This is the kind of intel that advertisers and marketers spend tons of time and money to figure out. Hate walking to campus? Offer to pick your friends up and drive them to class as a mini-Uber service. Have no time to go grocery shopping? Pick up your friend’s groceries and deliver them right to their door in return for a donation. If someone started a laundry washing-and-folding service tomorrow, I would be first in line. Seriously.

As always, if you’re still struggling with coming up with the money, feel free to contact your Dancer Captains for help.

Good luck!

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Arts & EntertainmentHow-to

A Beginner’s Guide to a Night at the Staples Center

If you’re anything like me, a Los Angeles newbie with a bucket list of places to visit before the undergraduate days are over, a concert at the Staples Center will likely be somewhere on that list. So when a friend presented me with an extra ticket to the 2014 Jingle Ball concert, I jumped at the opportunity, and I must say, I learned quite a lot in the process. If you’re new to LA or just haven’t been to the Staples Center, here are a few pieces of advice that I have compiled from the Friday night excursion.

In my particular situation, I found out I was going to Jingle Ball one week prior to the event. Fortunately for me, my friend had already bought and printed our tickets, but I still wanted to prepare myself for the night by looking up transportation routes, concert reviews and my seat location. I decided to do some basic research via Google and found out that the line-up for the event, sponsored by KIIS FM, consisted of 12 artists including Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea and host Nick Jonas. From the concert reviews, I got a better sense of how much money to bring and how long the event would last. This brings me to my first point:

Do some research in advance. 

The Staples Center and its surrounding area have very high traffic before and after major events. It’s helpful to prepare an estimate of how much money to bring for a taxi or Uber ride and to foresee any other bumps in the road.


To save some money, my friend and I wanted to take a bus to and from the concert, but my roommate advised us not to take public transportation back from the concert for safety reasons and because of how late we would be coming home. Getting there, we took the Metro Rapid 720 from the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood at around 4:30 p.m., planning to get off on Broadway and 5th and walk a couple blocks to catch another bus. A woman on the 720, however, overheard our transportation plans and recommended a different route, which we decided to take. She advised us to instead get off the bus on Vermont and then take the red line of the Metro (underground subway system) to 7th and Figueroa, noting that the Staples Center would be just 5 blocks away. Buying the Metro ticket was very easy, and the whole trip to the venue only cost $4.50. This brings me to another important tip:

Make sure you are familiar with where your desired bus stop is located.

If you plan on taking a bus to the Staples Center, it’s important to know that there isn’t one direct line that takes you straight to the venue. You will most likely have to switch buses or use the subway system like we did, and that could include some walking in between. If you’re not familiar with downtown L.A. or where certain streets are, don’t be shy to ask someone who is more familiar how to avoid questionable situations.

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One of the perks of arriving two hours early to Jingle Ball was the free holiday-themed carnival that took place outside the Staples Center before the doors opened. Entrance was free, and various corporate sponsors had booths set up where they were giving away samples or showing off new products. An ice-skating rink, ferris wheel and outdoor concert, which included a performance by Meghan Trainor, were also available to the public.

So, when attending a concert or game at the Staples Center, don’t forget to take advantage of freebies.

Oftentimes, there will be similar outdoor festivities with free handouts for other events where you can have some fun before the show.

Once we showed our tickets and entered through the doors, the Staples Center was really quite easy to navigate. Signs very clearly direct you to which section and row your seats are in, and ushers and other personnel in each section are available to guide you as well. Each floor had plenty of restrooms and fast food eateries, so our basic needs were definitely covered.

My last piece of advice is, if possible, to leave a couple minutes early to beat the rush of people exiting the building.

If you’re planning on taking an Uber or Lyft, you might want to walk a block or so away from the Staples Center for pick-up, but there will definitely be plenty of rides available. And don’t be surprised if the ride is a little bit on the expensive side.

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Going to my first concert at the Staples Center was definitely a learning experience, but as a newcomer to L.A., the experience was truly amazing.

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Free iOS Apps to Get You Through Finals

With finals approaching, everyone is beginning to cram for the classes they’ve procrastinated on all quarter. Here are some free apps to download for your iPhone, iPad or other iOS device that will get you on track.

1. Exam Countdown. This is by far the most important: You don’t want to forget what day your final is on. Not showing up is a guaranteed way to fail. Plus, seeing how few days you have left can shock you into studying.

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2. Quizlet. If you’ve never heard of Quizlet, you’re missing out. It’s an app that lets you access flashcards for different subjects or make your own, and it allows you to quiz yourself in a variety of different ways. If you’re really trying to cram, these flashcards are easy to study between classes.

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3. RefME. This app is great if you’re writing a paper and need to cite your sources. If you’re using a textbook that has a barcode, all you have to do is hold your phone over the barcode for a few seconds. All of the information about the textbook pops up, along with the citation.


4. Pocket. This app is great for looking up articles on your phone when you intend to save them for later. Simply download the app, and you’ll automatically have a list of options of how to save articles. You can save from Mobile Safari, your computer, apps and email. It’s ridiculously self-explanatory and incredibly useful.


5. Calm. This app is a guide to meditation, perfect for the stressed college student preparing for finals. It begins by asking you to select a relaxing scene like a forest or a beach, after which it starts playing related sounds. You can customize the time you want to spend relaxing to fit your own needs and you can learn how to meditate through the “7 Steps of Calm.”IMG_5316

Good luck on finals!

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5 Ways to Survive Thanksgiving Travel

I can’t wait for Thanksgiving and to be surrounded by family, friends and food. Should we all just take a moment to appreciate eating bottomless amounts of turkey and pumpkin pie without worrying about conserving swipes? As great as this all sounds, the only way we will be able to completely enjoy this magnificent holiday is first by traveling home. Dealing with the masses of people also attempting to get home for the holiday can really test your patience. Whether you’re driving home, taking public transportation or flying like me, here are five tips for surviving the treacherous travel home.
1. Confirm Your Travel Plans
OK, now I know this one sounds obvious, but with how hectic it is to pack for your trip, it can be very easy to let the confirmation of travel plans slip your mind. Set a reminder on your phone to go off (at least) one day before your drive or flight so you remember to call and make sure that ticket is still yours. If you’re flying, checking in early is especially helpful because you can usually reserve a seat closer to the front of the plane. You’ll definitely be one of the cool kids when they call everyone up to board.
2. Bring Food 
No matter what you eat before leaving for your trip, you will get hungry on your way. Being hungry leads to being irritated, and that’s not the first impression you want to make when you get home to your family. I recommend taking a quick stop at Target here in Westwood and grabbing everything in sight. Consider it practice for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Phone, iPad, laptop, extra battery pack. Sure, you brought books to read and homework to do, but we all know catching up on your Netflix show and scrolling through your Tumblr dash is all that you will get done. Do yourself a favor and charge everything, because there is nothing worse than seeing a dead battery icon.
4. Look for Travel Deals
If you haven’t set up your travel plans yet, hurry! There are many deals that happen for Thanksgiving travel, but there are also outrageous prices since companies know you have no other choice. Fortunately, UCLA Transportation is even offering a deal from the Hill to LAX for just $5, which also includes a ride from Lot 32 after you take a Flyaway when you get back. It’s a great alternative to Uber and Lyft, and taking the bus with a bunch of other students excited to visit home can’t be too bad either.

5. Pack Lightly
Speaking of deals, we all know what happens the day after Thanksgiving. There is nothing that truly sums up the hysteria of the holiday season than Black Friday. You can turn it into a bonding event as you and your family defend each other against the masses of people also trying to score a deal. If you’re planning to spend all the money you don’t have on clothes, that coincidentally aren’t that cheap even on sale, make sure you at least have room in your suitcase to haul them back to UCLA. It’s okay, we won’t judge. Pre-shopping planning is just a sign of good preparation (or that’s what we shopping addicts like to say).
Just remember Thanksgiving is all about enjoying your time with your loved ones and being thankful for everything you have. Keep that in mind if travel-induced stress ever gets into your head.
 If you have any other travel suggestions, let us know in the comments.

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