There is an app to tell students what is on the menu at the dining halls, an app to let students know how crowded the gym is, and now there is another app just to help Bruins explore opportunities at UCLA. The True Bruin Traditions Keeper is an app that helps students get more involved in the UCLA community through new activities and organizations, stretching students to try traditions outside their comfort zone. The app is formatted into sections of UCLA traditions including Arts/Culture/Food, Athletics, Campus Highlights, Campus Leadership, Career, Clubs and Organizations, Recreation and Outdoors, and Volunteering, with the option to create one’s own traditions. Students can check off traditions upon completion. At graduation, if a student has completed 75 out of the current 125 traditions, verified with a selfie or photo, he or she receives a medal.
Roxanne Neal, Director of New Student and Transition Programs, helps organize all new student programs, starting with New Student Orientation and the College Summer Institute (CSI), and continuing with advising, booths, and presentations at UCLA Bruin Day. Neal states that the app is an “effort to try to connect students more to UCLA.” She says it opens students up to thinking about their collegiate experience in a new way.
When asked if volunteering and service are already True Bruin Traditions, Neal responded clearly that service is not a new concept for students; over the years the mentality has changed and students are now volunteering during high school and before they get to UCLA. What students do not know when entering UCLA is how committed the Bruin community is to service. Neal notes that even on their first day of class, UCLA students are introduced to the tradition of volunteerism. At orientation, students pick out a gift for a child in the hospital, and during Zero Week each fall, every new student participates in UCLA Volunteer Day. The last part of the True Bruin Statement, “I will make an impact on our global community through public service,” is meant to lead students from day one in their efforts to volunteer. The volunteer section of the True Bruin Tradition Keeper app lists some events that are more frequently advertised to students, such as Volunteer Day, Dance Marathon, and One Bus, One Cause, but Neal notes that another goal of the app is to find out about new opportunities, like giving blood with the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center or donating canned goods and other food to the UCLA Food Closet, that Bruins may not know about otherwise.
To make the list, Neal says traditions must be virtually cost free, easily accessible, and also “enhance the way [students] see their own UCLA experience.” With opportunities like Volunteer Day, Neal says students almost always get a new view of LA, exploring a new and unfamiliar area. This level of exploration and trying new things is the aim of the True Bruin Tradition Keeper. So how can one start? Neal says simply, “It all starts with downloading the app.”