Summer 2021 Update

Summer is upon us and we’re taking stock of the work we’ve done and the lessons we’ve learned over the course of an unprecedented and challenging academic year.

Three things on my mind are how UCLA can be a better agent of change in the local and global community; how we can better serve students of all backgrounds; and how we can advance greater equity, diversity and inclusion. UCLA is fortunate to have many Bruins and partners engaged in these efforts, a few of which are highlighted below. 

In this issue

01. UCLA in the Community

02. Fifty Years of Student Enrichment and Support

03. Advancing Advocacy and Belonging for the LGBTQ Community

UCLA in the Community

Since UCLA’s founding more than 100 years ago, our institution has been firm in its commitment to public service — forging enduring partnerships, advancing research and spreading knowledge that make a difference in the lives of people in communities near and far. 

This year, UCLA Government and Community Relations unveiled a new online resource that visualizes the remarkable extent of our service mission by highlighting more than 1,000 of our partnerships and hundreds of community programs in Southern California and beyond. The website features a searchable database and interactive map showcasing UCLA’s extensive community outreach. It includes partnerships in the areas of healthcare, education, environmental sustainability, veterans affairs, the arts and much, much more. 

Our hope is that this site serves as a resource for three main constituents: People in the community who could benefit from these programs and services; policymakers who can search by legislative district at the federal, state and local levels to better understand community needs and to see how UCLA is helping to meet those needs; and our faculty, students and staff who want to collaborate on research projects or get involved with local organizations. 

UCLA’s community partnerships, outreach and impact are a source of pride for the Bruin community and all who collaborate with us to effect positive change. We may be located in Westwood, but our footprint is immense. I am grateful to all who partner with us, look forward to the new relationships we will forge and expect our service mission will remain strong for generations to come.

Fifty Years of Student Enrichment and Support

This year, we are celebrating the happy occasion of the 50th anniversary of UCLA’s Academic Advancement Program (AAP). Founded by beloved former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Doby, AAP has played a central part in making UCLA a source of opportunity, transformation and empowerment for tens of thousands of Bruins over the last five decades.

AAP provides services and support to UCLA students who are among the first in their families to attend college, recent immigrants, from low-income backgrounds and/or from communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education. It offers academic advising programs, peer-learning and mentoring as well as help with scholarships, research opportunities, and career and graduate school counseling. Not only does AAP help students gain the academic, economic and leadership opportunities they need to be successful and start to transform society, it also creates a community that can provide UCLA students with life-long support.

Under the leadership of its director Charles Alexander, AAP has become the nation’s largest university-based student diversity program, serving approximately 5,000 UCLA students every year. The program is so successful that it has become a national leader and has helped UCLA achieve the highest graduation rate of historically underrepresented students in the UC system, in the California State University system and among major U.S. public research universities.

For half a century, AAP has put UCLA’s ideals into action; transformed thousands of lives; made UCLA a better, more engaged and more inclusive campus; and, through the thinkers and leaders it has nurtured, contributed to the broader community. I have no doubt that AAP will continue to represent the best of what UCLA has to offer for the next 50 years and beyond.

Advancing Advocacy and Belonging for the LGBTQ Community

Since June is Pride Month, this is a fitting opportunity to highlight UCLA’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) Campus Resource Center, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this academic year. The center connects LGBTQ Bruins to programming, counseling, academic and career guidance and helps build a supportive and identity-affirming campus community. It serves as a hub of information about everything from medical services to gender-inclusive housing to Title IX protections for LGBTQ people on campus. The center also engages the broader UCLA community through vital allyship training for students, staff and faculty to help raise awareness and deepen understanding of LGBTQ issues. 

In the years since the LGBTQ center was established — and in large part thanks to its leadership and advocacy — much has changed at UCLA to advance greater inclusivity: the development of domestic partner benefits and non-discrimination policies for staff and faculty,  widespread rollout of gender-neutral bathrooms across campus, policy changes to allow the use of preferred names on Bruincards and gender identity and sexual orientation on admissions applications, inauguration of Pride Admit Weekend and Lavender Graduation, and much more. All of this has helped us better live up to our ideal of a campus where talented and driven students of all backgrounds and identities are welcome. As just one piece of recognition, UCLA was named one of the top 10 schools for transgender students by Campus Pride Index

The important changes that have been made in the past two and a half decades took thought, hard work and persistent activism. I am grateful for the efforts of those in the LGBTQ Campus Resource Center over the past quarter-century who led pushes for greater equality at UCLA, making real change at our institution while honing leadership and advocacy skills that help them improve the world beyond Westwood.