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UCLA Magazine Winter 2002
It's not your parents dorm anymore
Outside the Ivory Tower
A beautiful Mind
The Long March
The New Scientists
Critical Care

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Winter 2002
It's not your parents dorm anymore
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The entire hilltop complex hums with activity throughout the day and well into the night. At DeNeve, couples stroll hand in hand after midnight through the well-lighted courtyard, its trees illuminated by spotlights, as a lone skateboarder rolls along a concrete path. The students move about freely, even at this hour, and there's a clear sense of security — a fact cited by several students who decided to return to The Hill for their second year. ("It's safer living here than in an apartment," says Nick Lorrel, a resident of the Saxon Suites. "There are people patrolling, and there're Student Health Advocates available if someone needs help.") Nearby in the Village plaza, students mill outside the Puzzles Eatery, some wrapped in blankets against the chill. It is a noisy, energetic scene as they chat and laugh together, a great time and place to meet and mingle with new friends.

LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER and to respect the diversity of people from different backgrounds and cultures is critical to UCLA's residential-life program. But as an army moves on its stomach, so too, to a large extent, does a university population. And the success of achieving those laudable goals might be greatly undermined if stomachs are rumbling and students are grumbling.

UCLA has worked hard to change the way students think about "dorm food." In the last five years, UCLA Dining Services has overhauled and updated the food program, creating dining halls that are beautiful, inviting places to eat — tiled floors and tables with patio umbrellas and bistro-style chairs lend the rooms the ambiance of a café rather than that of a typical college cafeteria — with varied menus that change daily, entrees that are fresh and cooked on the spot, offered at separate preparation stations scattered throughout the area, all under the guidance of an executive chef who formerly cooked at the ritzy Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. (Among the dinner entrees for September 22, for example, were leg of lamb and chicken fajitas at Rieber, an omelet bar and chicken Parmesan at Hedrick and grilled polenta with basil tomato sauce and Southwestern rotisserie pork at DeNeve.) The changes have been rewarded with a whopping 90-percent student-approval rating and recognition as one of the top-10 university food-service programs in the country. Representatives of schools and institutions from as far away as Japan have come to UCLA to see how it's done.

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