30 April 2008
Campus gears up for ‘Year of Science 2009’
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Vice Chancellor for Research Beth Burnside have endorsed the campus’s participation in “Year of Science 2009,” a yearlong, nationwide celebration of science aimed at improving public understanding about how science works, why it matters, and who scientists are.
The National Science Board has reported that “most Americans do not understand the scientific process,” and that belief in pseudoscience is relatively widespread. The grassroots initiative, a project of the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science, is a response to growing concern about the critical state of scientific literacy in the U.S. Dubbed Science @ Cal, the campus celebration will be a networked, cross-disciplinary effort to inform and engage the public about the diversity and depth of science research at Berkeley, and the resulting contributions to society. A website is under development, and information on how to participate will be sent to members of the campus community in August.
Free Bear Passes for drivers
Parking and Transportation is offering free AC Transit Bear Passes to annual parking-permit holders to encourage drivers to try public transit.
More than 10 AC Transit lines serve the campus, and records indicate that over 1,000 faculty and staff members currently commuting by car to campus live within a quarter-mile of an AC Transit bus stop providing direct service taking less than 20 minutes to campus.
Most campus commuters who currently hold an annual parking permit and live in the AC Transit East Bay Service District are eligible, as are drivers who already have a Bear Pass; those in the latter category will either have their payroll deductions canceled for the months of May and June or, if they’ve paid in advance, get a refund for the Bear Pass.
The promotion is scheduled to end June 30. Parking and Transportation is planning a continued free Bear Pass for those parking-permit holders who choose give up their permits in the new fiscal year and switch to the bus. To enroll for the program, or for more information, visit pt.berkeley.edu.
Retiree vision plan unveiled
Beginning July 1, the University of California will offer a vision plan to retirees and their eligible family members. All retirees receiving monthly retirement, disability, or survivor income from a UC-defined benefit plan, subject to the 120-day rule, may be eligible for the vision plan. (Graduated-eligibility rules do not apply since there is no university contribution.) Family-member eligibility requirements will parallel those for the VSP plan for employees.
The plan is voluntary and all premiums are paid by the retiree; enrollment and premiums will not be handled through the university’s application or pension deduction. Eligibility is determined, in part, on the basis of retirement date; there are other conditions and restrictions to be aware of as well. For questions about vision-care benefits, visit www.vsp.com/go/UCretirees or call VSP at (800) 877-7195. For questions about enrollment or billing, call AdminAmerica at (866) 896-1273.
Lair of the Golden Bear vacation camp beckons faculty and staff
The world’s oldest and largest alumni-association camp, the Lair of the Golden Bear, extends an invitation to campus faculty and staff to enjoy a Cal-themed camping vacation in the Sierra Nevada. Operated in Pinecrest for 60 years by the California Alumni Association, the Lair has openings this year in family mini-week, weekend, and full-week sessions between June and September, as well as in late-summer adult sessions.
While membership in CAA is not required for individuals attending an adult session, or for all members on a family-camping stay, the association asks that one member of each camping family attending a weeklong session either be a current member or enroll as one ($60).