How To Have Healthy Roommate Relationships

Contributed by: Taisha Lewis, Verano Place Housing Assistant

Living on-campus definitely holds many perks. We are close to school, resources, and are away from many things that could distract us from our studies. Still, living on-campus can also result in many difficulties as we embark on an adventure filled with many neighbors and new relationships among roommates. Here are a few things to keep in mind while actively helping to create and maintain a happy home life at Verano Place:


  1. Guidelines should be set forth from the beginning: The first step in creating ground rules is discuss each roommates schedule, their preferences regarding guests, and their ideas regarding how bills will be paid, how chores will be divided, etc. Agreements on these issues are a great way to start house rules, but they needn’t always be set in stone. Readdressing issues as schedules and the situation evolves is important too.
  2. Communication: Routine discussions and polite everyday conversation is important in maintaining a healthy relationship with your roommate. A weekly meeting or enjoying a meal or coffee together a couple times a month gives both parties the opportunity to share what’s on their minds. Beyond open communication, problems or breaches of certain agreements should be addressed as soon as possible. Giving a roommate the benefit of the doubt is a good way to approach an issue that is bothersome to you. Many times a person does not realize their actions are negatively impacting someone else. In either instance, discussing the problem sooner leads to lower rates of resentment and higher rates of resolving the core issue
  3. Respect: In all aspects of life the Golden Rule still stands….. “Treat Others as You Would Like to be Treated”. Treating others with kindness and dignity yields better results in any situation. Talk to one another politely and be willing to compromise.
  4. Being Open-minded to Different Cultures, Beliefs, and Values: Students literally come from all over the World to attend UCI. Different backgrounds create different lifestyle choices including but not limited to food, dress, religion, music, and personal boundaries. What one person considers appropriate another could consider hostile. It is important to keep these facts in mind when living with a roommate and living among other residents as well. Remember that living at Verano Place provides one with the opportunity to enjoy and learn about a variety of cultures!


Remember that while Verano Place Housing Staff encourages communication among residents and independent conflict resolution, help in solving and avoiding problems is always available. All residents have the rights to a comfortable, respectful, and safe living environment. Jennifer Nelson-Martinez, the Associate Director of Apartment Life, is consistently active in maintaining healthy and prosperous relationships among residents. Jennifer, along with the rest of the VHO staff, are always happy to be of service in any way that they can so always feel welcome to reach out!


In the case of an emergency UCIPD can be contacted 24/7 at 949-824-5223.

What NOT To Put Down Your Drain This Holiday

Don’t get caught with a backed-up sink over the holidays! Follow these tips:

Never Put These Things Down Your Disposal or Drain:

  1. Fibrous foods like asparagus, corn husks, artichokes, carrot or potato peels or any other vegetables that have any kind of stringy qualities to them
  2.  Grease, oil, and fat
  3.  Pasta and rice, it expands when it contacts water and swells up
  4.  Eggshells, coffee grounds, pits and seeds
  5.  Bones of any kind

Regular cleaning is very important! Here are a few good tips to try:

  • Run hot water through the sink after each use. Hot water keeps oils in food products running down the drain, rather than building up on the interior surface of pipes, which can make drains sluggish and lead to clogs.
  • Throw a handful of baking soda into the drain and follow it with hot water. Baking soda is a terrific cleaning agent, and it’s also great for absorbing foul odors and leaving your drain pipes smelling better.
  • Pour 1 cup of vinegar down the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes; then chase it down with very hot water. Vinegar is a wonder cleaner. It contains acetic acid, which acts as an excellent organic solvent in removing organic buildup of crud in pipes.



  • Put your self-care at the top of your “to-do” list. This is not the time to skip self-care – exercise, rest, breathe deeply, eat healthy. It does not serve anyone to let ourselves get overtired and irritable.
  • Practice mindful moments– feel the hot water of your shower, taste the flavor of your breakfast, and listen to a friend with your full attention. It’s restful to your body and mind to focus on the pleasant moments of everyday living.
  • While in the car especially in traffic, focus on your breath, feel your hands on the steering wheel, listen to the sounds around you. Occasionally have a quiet car. Realize we are all in the same boat!
  • When standing in line, instead of getting impatient, practice standing yoga– feel your feet, stand tall, breathe deeply, and stretch your spine from side to side. Look at the people around you and silently send good wishes to them and their families.
  • Remember why you are doing what you are doing. Connect with your feelings of love and caring as you shop for gifts. Focus on your heart and the reasons you love that person.
  • Take a break from the radio, TV, computer, and cell phone for half an hour before dinner.
  • Give to a stranger. Give to your favorite charity. Spend an afternoon at a shelter kitchen.
  • Simplify. Spend some quiet time looking deeply into your activities. If there is something that doesn’t really feed your soul or reflect your values, consider letting it go. You really don’t have to go to every event and party. Be selective and bring your whole self to each thing.
  • Take small breaks throughout the day. Three to five mindful deep breaths or a five-minute stretch can change your attitude completely.
  • Remember, your calm loving presence is better than any material present.
  • Be creative in your giving especially if money is tight. Give a certificate for “quality time” together doing something fun– miniature golf, a movie, a hike, a picnic date…
  • Whatever your religious or spiritual tradition is devote some time and care to it. It will remind you of your true self and of what you care most about.

    Beth Mulligan
    Mindful-Way Stress Reduction


Source: Student Mental Health and School Climate Initiative  

Winter Storm Preparedness

A winter storm is forecast for southern California beginning tonight and continuing through Saturday, December 13. Active weather advisories include a high wind warning, flood watch, and high surf advisory for various cities throughout the area. The UCI Police Department Emergency Services Division is monitoring the situation in conjunction with other campus and local emergency personnel, and Facilities Management staff are preparing the campus for the storm.

At this time, there are no plans to cancel classes or suspend campus operations, but be prepared for travel delays. If the situation worsens and impacts the campus, emergency information will be made available via, zotALERT emergency text messaging, the campus emergency information line 866-IRV-NEWS, and ZotRadio AM 1690.

For weather updates, please visit

As the first significant storm of the winter, this is a good opportunity to review storm preparedness information and resources. During any storm event, it is important to take steps for your own safety:
— Use caution when outdoors during high wind and thunderstorm activity. Be aware of overhead hazards such as tree limbs and power lines.
— Never approach a downed wire, even if it is not actively arcing or sparking. Report all downed wires to 911.
— Allow extra time during commute periods to account for wet roadways, heavy traffic, and accidents. Drive cautiously and leave extra space when following to allow for increased braking distances in wet conditions. Remember that California state law requires headlights to be on during all periods of rain.
— Make sure you have a full tank of fuel to avoid running out during heavy traffic.
— Do not attempt to drive or walk through flooded areas.
— Bicyclists and motorcyclists should use lights and wear reflective rain gear or vests to ensure that they are visible.
— Take steps to prepare your home. Ensure that your gutters are clear and that any exterior furniture or other items that might become airborne in heavy winds are properly secured.
— If you have low-lying areas on your property, take steps to mitigate flooding by using sandbags.
— Have flashlights and lanterns available in the event of a power outage, and be sure that they have fresh batteries.
— Never use charcoal or propane fueled devices such as grills, heaters, or lanterns inside. These present both a fire hazard and a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Additional preparedness information can be found at under Emergency Management.

Paul Henisey
Chief of Police
UCI Police Department

Community Advisory Battery

Date:  December 9, 2014

Incident: Battery

Location: Near Pacific Ballroom at Student Center

Date/Time Occurred: December 6, 2014; 1:30 p.m.


On Saturday, December 6, 2014 at about 1:30 p.m., UCI Police Department received a report of a male subject who touched a female student’s stomach without her consent near the Pacific Ballroom at the UCI Student Center. The female student hit the subject’s hand and ran away.  The male subject did not pursue the victim nor say anything further.

The male subject was contacted and identified by police as Patrick Choute, an African American male in his early 20s, 6’0” with black hair, a mustache, and brown eyes.  He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

If you see this male subject on the UCI campus, contact the UCI Police Department at (949) 824-5223.

In emergency situations or during crimes in progress, dial 9-1-1 or use an emergency phone available on campus. Emergency phone locations are marked on the campus map available at


Avoid traveling alone at night. Walk with a friend or use the UCI Safety Escort Service by dialing (949) 824-SAFE (7233).  Do not accept rides or walking accompaniment from people you don’t trust and know well.  Do not allow strangers into your residences or other secured areas. Keep your doors locked at all times.  Immediately report all suspicious persons, activities and vehicles to the UCI Police Department at (949) 824-5223.


WHAT IS THIS COMMUNITY ADVISORY?  Community Advisories are released by the UCI Police Department when certain events that warrant an advisory are reported on or near campus property. These Community Advisories allow campus community members to be aware of certain situations and to take precautions for personal safety.

Verano Place Study Locations During Finals

With finals starting this week for the law school and next week for everyone on the quarter system, we know this is a stressful time. The Verano Place Office would like to offer you a variety of options for studying over the next week.

The Verano Study Room, located in 68111 Verano Place is open for Verano Community to use. The study room is furnished with tables, private study carrels, a group study room, white boards, and a restroom. The room it has hardwire internet connectivity if you bring an Ethernet cable, however you may need to register your computer similar to in your apartment. The study room also has computers available for use. The Study Room is available to all Verano Place residents and can be accessed using your apartment key. The study room will be open and available for use Monday – Friday from 7:30 am – 10:45 pm and Saturday – Sunday from 9:00 am – 10:45 pm.

Additionally, for 10th week and Finals week, the Verano Lounge will be open for drop in use Monday – Friday from 7:30 am – 10:45 pm and Saturday – Sunday from 9:00 am – 10:45 pm. The Verano Lounge, has sofas and a few tables.

Finally, the Cyber Café will be open limited hours this month. The hours are Monday and Friday from 10 am to 6 pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 12-4. The Café is currently equipped with one computer for residents to print assignments, and several chairs and workstations to study.

Good Luck on your Finals.

Jennifer Nelson Martinez
Associate Director of Apartment Life
Verano Place Housing
University Of California, Irvine
6529 Adobe Circle Road, South
Irvine, CA 92617

(949) 824-7976 direct
(949) 824-2617 fax

Cultural Communication

Contributed by: Jojo Siu, Verano Place Housing Assistant


People come from a variety of backgrounds, traditions, morals, and upbringings. Don’t forget that not everyone has had the same experiences culturally that you may have had in the states, OR abroad. Whether it’s a language barrier, or a religious or cultural miscommunication, it’s important to remember perspective! The following are some important things to remember when learning to communicate with people from other cultures.


  1. Remember and understand relativism:

What may be acceptable in American culture may not be appropriate in another culture. Remember that there are different value systems around the world outside of the American ideal!

  1. Give people personal space:

Not everyone has the same sense of space that everyday Californians have. Someone who values his or her private life may be more defensive or uncomfortable with an aggressive communication approach. Someone who is used to very little personal space, on the other hand, may not be aware of the effect he or she may have on the people around them.

  1. Do not belittle or insult their religion!

People in Verano come from many religious backgrounds and walks of life. What are important morals and values to you, may not be as important or may be even more important to a resident who’s upbringing is rooted in religion. Keep an open mind about what others value.

  1. Physical cues are very telling:

A lot can be learned about a culture based on their physical cues too! (Not just social cues). A handshake (or lack thereof) can reveal a great deal about what the resident believes, or what traditions they hold to. Handshakes or other physical interaction may be a big symbolic gesture in a specific culture’s traditions.

  1. Know the nuances between cultural relationships!

Be aware that a person’s personality and quirks may be due to their cultural background or upbringing. They may not think or act like you expect.

  1. Learn one another’s cultural greetings, rituals, foods, etc.

It’s important to explore, ask about, and learn other cultures’ greetings, rituals, and foods to better communicate with them. Be mindful of your biases and start to understand the biases that other cultures may have presupposed as well.

  1. KEEP AN OPEN MIND! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find out more about the cultures you’re not sure about. Don’t be too quick to make assumptions about another culture. Put yourselves in situations where you will encounter people from other cultures! Learn from them, and be patient as they’re learning from and about your culture as well.



For more information and to see these lists, check out some of these websites for more information!


Share Your Traditions

Last Thursday evening, resident Dennise Jarvis presented a wreath making workshop for our residents. We had a great turn out and both adults and children walked away with a beautiful holiday wreath. Your Verano Resident’s Council funded this event which included craft supplies, hot coco and cookies. What holiday traditions do you have? Is there a tradition you’d like to share with our residents? We’d love to celebrate all of the wonderful diversity represented right here, in Verano! If you have an idea, please contact Betsy Franklin at and I’ll help you plan an event for the community.

Just in case you didn’t know…

Hanging wreaths on doors goes back a very long time. No one is quite sure when this tradition began specifically, but wreaths have been used for centuries. According to

There are two different schools of thought when it comes to the history of the wreath. The first notes that the wreath dates back to ancient Greece & Rome, where members of Greco-Roman society would hand-make ring-shaped “wreaths” using fresh tree leaves, twigs, small fruits & flowers. Worn as headdresses, these wreaths represented one’s occupation, rank, achievements and status. (The Laurel wreath was most commonly used then.) Laurel wreaths were used to crown victors of the ancient Greco-Roman Olympic Games. (Wreath translated literally means, “a thing bound around,” from the Greek word diadema.) The second theory on the history of the wreath is a common Christian lore, and explains that the honored art of wreath-making began 1,000 years before the birth of Christ. Christians assembled “Advent wreaths” to symbolize the strength of life they showed by persevering through the harsh forces of winter. Today, still, the Christmas wreath is symbolic of Christian immortality, as the circle and sphere both represent immortality.

Here are a couple of wreaths made by Verano Residents at our December 4th event:


wreath 1