Spring quarter is a time people tend to lay around on the Quad and turn the effort level down a little bit – except the Campus Unions department of operations, which has been hard at work on both the Silo Café andPuband second floor of the Memorial Union.
The most noticeable improvements to the pub’s outdoor eating area are a new fleet of umbrellas and a green coat of paint on all the tables.
Doug Wiersig, a student assistant in the Campus Unions department of operations and junior crop science major, said they have reorganized the entire thing.
“The Olive Oil event in March was something we really wanted to be clean and beautiful for. With a lot of people coming through, we wanted the improvements we’ve made to be on display,” he said.
Also refurbished are the redwood and teak tables and benches in the courtyard area, which, at over 20 years old, were due for some maintenance.
Wiersig said the beautification, punctuated by the plants and flowers that dot the outdoor eating areas throughout the SiloUnion, makes for a nice, calm place to hang out.
“We’ve definitely tried to make it more inviting, give people a reason to prefer eating here and make it a destination. Tours pass by here every day, and we hope to catch their attention,” he said.
Campus Unions also hopes the publicity will bring students to their weekly events inside the pub.
Each week has three routine events: a Texas Hold’emtournament Wednesdays from 6 to8 p.m., live entertainment Thursdays from 5:30 to6 p.m.and trivia night immediately after from 6 until around 7:30 p.m.
Trivia Night is a big draw, said LexerChou, program director for Campus Unions.
“We establish five or six categories, and teams of five people maximum take turns answering questions from them and competing for prizes,” she said.
Prizes include things like water bottlesand small gift certificates to the Silo, and Chou is currently seeking additional sponsors for more.
Texas Hold’embrings out a lot of students too, something Chou suspects is a product of the atmosphere and playing for fun, without the danger of losing money.
“We play with real chips instead of money, but the casino-like feel to it and competitiveness makes students feel like it’s more real than playing on the dinner table at home,” she said.
The front patio on the Hutchison side of the Silo has also been upgraded with a batch of umbrellas. In the past there have been some, but today every table has its share of shade, something Wiersig said students will be very grateful for when the weather gets hot.
The second floor MU patio features the same umbrellas and plants as the Silo, and Wiersig said his department put a great deal of effort into this one.
“Not many people know about this, or think to come up here to eat, and we’d like to make it somewhere people see themselves eating on their lunch break,” he said.
Another big addition came at a low cost – simply putting stickers on recycling bins. This has a significant positive impact and takes barely anything from the budget, just provides a reminder for people to sort their waste.
These improvements are only the first of many, said John Seden, assistant director of Campus Unions department of operations, who is new to UC Davis but already involved.
“I’ve been working on sustainability efforts, our lighting and energy systems and how to increase efficiency,” he said.
This increase can take many forms, and spans all the way from hallway lighting to making sure that all the appliance systems used are energy star efficient.
Seden’s staff is currently looking into daylight harvesting, which targets areas where hallway lights aren’t necessary during the day with natural sunlight. A small sensor would be put in place that turns lights on only as needed.
“This is something that is built into nearly all new buildings now, but we have a relatively old building, so we’re trying to do all we can do reduce the energy use,” he said.
The department has already taken some unnecessary lights off of the main circuit and put them on their own for limited nighttime use.
“Because it’s brand new, we don’t have numbers on exactly how much specific changes save, but of course when it comes to energy every little bit counts,” Seden said.
Another topic on the slate is water conservation. The department of operations is exploring the idea of water saving toilets and urinals at the Siloand in the MU looking into hands-free faucets – which would kill two birds with one stone and decrease the hot water use and energy at the operation of a dial.
Funding requests have been submitted and are awaiting reply, but Seden already envisions a big year.
“We’re really gearing up to have a big year, attacking the kinds of projects we want to get in to and figuring out how much we need to do in the summer and how much we’ll be doing next year,” he said.
“Once the funding goes through it’s go-time, and the summer will be about sustainability in and around the MU. It will be exciting to see all of our plans progress.”
MIKE DORSEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.XXX