Saturday, October 3, 2015

September and October Events

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are finally settling into the new semester.  Our first month's events have gone well and we had a lot of fun.  We had our first fundraiser at PizzaRev in Long Beach on Sep. 19 and everyone had a great time.  We raised $11.50, which was 20% of the $56 we spent in total.  Afterwards we all stopped at Ben and Jerry's for some ice cream.

GSA members at the PizzaRev fundraiser.
Our second GSA meeting was Sep. 22 and we once again enjoyed learning some trivia, playing games and eating food.  We also discussed our upcoming new club shirt design and finally picked a winner!  If you would like a shirt please email us at and specify size.  The price will depend on how many shirt orders we get - anywhere from $16, $14 or $9.

Winning shirt design!
There was also the Bolsa Chica Cleanup Sep. 26 and our last event for September, our exciting Cultural Night at Los Compadres in Long Beach.  We talked about food, looked at photos of food and ate good food.  It was a great  night.

GSA members at Cultural Night at Los Compadres.
Our first event for October was the Los Angeles Geographical Society's free public lecture at LA City College.  This month's lecture featured GIS projects by students from the Math, Science and Technology Magnet Academy at Roosevelt High School.  These projects were part of Youth Participatory Action Research - service learning projects to better understand the student's community, specifically Boyle Heights.  Three different groups presented projects.  Here are some highlights from each presentation.

The first was on gentrification - "There is no replacement for displacement".
  • County of LA needs 4,000 units to meet current housing needs.
  • Most people pay too much for rent; sometimes as much as 30% or more of their paycheck.  This leaves little left to pay for other expenses.  
  • For Boyle Heights, the average annual income is $45,000 but the income needed to purchase a home is $90,000.  The average home costs about $200,000.
  • Those renting homes usually pay about$1,500 a month while getting about $3,000 a month, so some people can be paying up to 50% of their monthly paycheck on housing.
  • Renters make up about 76% of the population and rent has increased since 2010 (about 25%) and is predicted to continue to increase another 25% by 2020 while incomes stay the same.
  • Most affordable housing is not in Boyle Heights but instead in surrounding areas.  In Boyle Heights such housing units total 52 while 46 of them are for seniors.
  • Other predictions show many people moving out to Riverside and the mountain areas in search of affordable homes. 
The second was on Women in STEM.
  • This study ran into several limitations.  They originally wanted to use AP Calculus data but were denied access.  So instead they examined California Exit Exam math scores and also compared the female to male teachers ratio in classrooms.  They also examined Hispanic minorities.
  • They found that the amount of resources available affected students' performances and that areas with lower disparities between female and male teacher ratios (more female science/math teachers) were where girls tended to score better on exams.  
The third was also on gentrification but focused on local businesses within their community.
  • There are 35 vacant lots in Boyle Heights, which are an invitation to outside entities to come in and put up more expensive homes.
  • Local businesses are not getting enough business because people buy in other communities.
  • They did a survey of over 400 people, asking about their shopping habits and less than 40% said they shop regularly in Boyle Heights.  Thus the residents are not investing in their community enough.   
  • Part of the problem is that there are not enough of certain types of businesses that the people want/need.
  • They also found that in certain areas the high density of businesses decreased from 2009 to 2015.  Local businesses lost about 40% while corporate ones lost only about 14%.
  • They listed a few possible solutions, such as be aware of which stores you buy from and know the community's demands. 
Please join us for our next events!  (Possibly more to be added later).

October 11, Sunday: Bolsa Chica Restoration.  From 8 am to 12 pm.  Wear clothes for working outside.  Carpool available.  Sign up here: GSA October Events.

October 17, Saturday: Wetland Warrior Cleanup.  From 10 am to 12 pm.  Wear clothes for working outside.  Carpool available.  Sign up here: GSA October Events.

October 30, Friday: Cultural Night at Gen Korean BBQ.  From 7 pm to 9 pm.  Carpool available.  Sign up here: GSA October Events.

We hope to see you at one of our next events or meetings!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Welcome (Back)!

Hi everyone!  Welcome back.  The GSA is excited to start the new semester.  We have fun events planned for each weekend and hope to see you at one or more of them!

Fall 2015 Officers.  Left to right: Laylita Day, Haminton Lam, Sokha Ny and Moe Nanami.  Not pictured: James Medway.
 As some of you may know, we kicked off the semester with Week of Welcome (WOW) where students could meet our new officers and learn about what we have planned for this semester.  We even had a raffle for two AMC tickets, which was won by a new member Robert.  Congrats!  Our new officers this semester include our President Haminton Lam, Secretary Moe Nanami, Treasurer James Medway, Historian Sokha Ny and the continuing Vice President Laylita Day.  

WOW Fall 2015.  Left to right: Sokha Ny, Jennie Ramirez and Moe Nanami.
Our first meeting of the semester was Sep. 8 and was well-attended.  We played ice breaker games, a trivia-style battleship, ate green tea cupcakes and various cookies and learned about what will be happening this semester.  This month features learning all about Mexico.  Each month we will feature a different place in the world so come join us and "travel" around the world with us!

First GSA Meeting Fall 2015.
Our first event on Friday Sep. 11 was the free public lecture held by the Los Angeles Geographical Society (LAGS).  They have lectures every first Friday of the month and this month's was titled "The End of the Rainbow: Ethnicity in Los Angeles" by Gary Booher.  This was a great lecture showing through various maps, how ethnicity has changed in LA since the early 1900s.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • California has the largest population in the US with 38 million people.  It also is the 8th largest economy in the world with $2.3 trillion. 
  • 27% is foreign born with over 50% native born; both are the highest in 100 years.
  • Recently there has been a net migration of people leaving California but it is still a major destination for immigrants.  30-40% of US immigration occurs in California with about 80% coming from Asia and Latin America.  
  • According to US Census data, 39% of California's population is Latino/Hispanic.  The highest percentages are found in San Joaquin Valley because of the farm-related jobs.  50% of LA's population is Latino/Hispanic and most come from Mexico. 
  • Whites are 38%, located mostly in northern, rural California; Asian/Pacific Islander comes out at 14% with most at the San Francisco Bay area and Chinese are the largest group.  Black/African American is 6% with most found in the LA area.  And Native American makes up only 1% and are found throughout urban areas.    
  • An interesting trend being seen now is the creation of multi-ethnic cities where no one ethnicity is dominant.  
  • In the 1940s, there were only three locations that Blacks could live because of deed restrictions that forbid whites from selling their homes to Blacks.  This changed in 1947-48 when the law was overturned.  From then until the end of the 1980s, the Black population expanded.  Since 1990 the Black population has decreased as other ethnic groups have increased.
  • There was no category for Asians and Hispanics until 1970.  In the 1960s, there was "Spanish Surname," which also included Filipinos.  From the 1970s on, the Hispanic and Asian populations increased.  Hispanics were especially growing in central LA and moving into areas that were originally Black areas.  The Asian population mostly increased north of downtown LA (Alhambra, Monterey Park, etc.), Cerritos, Torrance/Palos Verdes and other various places.        
Our second event was Saturday Sep. 12.  This was a hike at El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach.  This nature center is 105 acres and has three different trails, a 1/4 mile, 1 mile and 2 mile one.  There are two lakes and streams, a visitor center and lots of wildlife.  On our hike we saw ducks, California ground squirrels, fox squirrels, a heron, dragonflies, butterflies, various lizards, turtles, unusual trees, beautiful flowers and snakes (those were in the visitor center).  It was a nice break from the normal urban landscape.  Our group walked all three trails and despite the humid heat and slight sprinkling of rain, we all had a good time and even went to lunch afterwards.

Here are some photos from the hike.  All photos by Laylita Day.

Please join us for our next events!

Saturday Sep. 19: Fundraiser at Pizza Rev.  20% of purchases will go to the GSA.  Starts at 7pm.  Carpool available.  Sign up here: GSA September Events.

Saturday Sep. 26: Bolsa Chica Beach Cleanup.  Starts at 9 am.  Wear clothes for working outside.  Carpool available.  Sign up here: GSA September Events.
Saturday Sep. 26: Cultural Night at Los Compadres.  Food and good company.  Starts at 7 pm.  Carpool available.  Sign up here: GSA September Events.

We hope to see you at one of our events or meetings!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

WOW 2015

The GSA is welcoming the new year and we're kicking off this new semester with new (and old) GSA officers and an enthusiastic, energetic and activity-filled year.  We started off this semester with Week of Welcome (WOW) and had a lot of fun talking to students about geography.  Plus we had amazing cookies.

As for upcoming events, our first one is the free LA Geographical Society lecture this Friday at 8 pm at LA City College.  This month's lecture is on "Amenity Clusters defining the Spatial Logic of Los Angeles" by Samuel Krueger from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  If you want to carpool send us an email.  For more information on LAGS lectures, check out their website

We will have meetings every other Thursday starting at 2:30 pm in PH1-230.  The first meeting of the semester will be on February 12th.  This is a great way to meet fellow geographers, learn about events and even contribute ideas for future events.

We plan to have more events later this month so keep checking us out here and on our other social media site for updates.  We hope your semester is off to a good start and that the GSA can help make it even better.  We hope to see you around.  Spread the good word of geography! 

All photos taken by Laylita Day (except last one taken by Carol Phillip).