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GET YOUR GOURMET GRUB ON

For all of you who have endured limp, brown lettuce, stale cornbread and rubbery eggplant that resembles something you feed your dog—if you didn't like dogs—chew on this: Soka University of America teamed up with Bon Appetit, "the premier name in university dining," to feed its students. At Soka Bistro, you can find such foods as "pastas tossed with basil pesto," "freshly rolled sushi with shaved ginger and wasabi," and "cilantro-seasoned grilled chicken topped with a dash of fire-roasted Anaheim chile salsa." Yes, please!

FOCUS ON IDEOLOGY

If you feel attending college is equivalent to a left-wing indoctrination camp, then you'll feel right at home in the Irvine Review Foundation at UC Irvine. In 2002, as a result of the often-beleaguered UCI College Republicans, a group of right-leaning students led by Ryan Mykita and Erica Harpster formed the separatist Foundation and created the Irvine Conservative Student Union (ICSU) in 2003. Following its own motto—"the most important minority is the individual"—the student-run organization chooses not to follow any particular party's discipline. Mykita, president of the Irvine Review Foundation—which oversees both the ICSU and the monthly Irvine Review student paper (www.irvinereview.org)—states that the goal of ICSU is to "focus on ideology" rather than on often-inert politics. While standing firm in its beliefs in free-market economies, more limited government, and other conservative and libertarian ideals, ICSU "actively denounces welfare systems," says Mykita. The group regularly hosts speakers such as Tammy Bruce (whose website picks the president based on who can catch a football) and has held policy debates between academia, including controversial Dinesh D'Souza. The self-proclaimed "Voice of Reason," Irvine Review has more than 4,000 readers and has been growing in print size every year. According to Mykita, one of the Review's prized investigative pieces helped oust a UCI librarian who was a member of NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Here comes Gavin Newsom, boys—get the noose!

BUT WHERE CAN I FIND A SEVEN-CENT EIGHT-TRACK?

At Noise Noise Noise Records, you'll find every classic record your collection needs—Kinks, T. Rex, Who, Velvet Underground and more that don't even involve guitars—for pennies on the dollar, and if that doesn't swing you, they're actually selling whole crates of vinyl for literal pennies on the dollar. Like nine cents for an EP. There's your wallpaper, kid. Now never go to Urban Outfitters again. 1505 Mesa Verde Dr. E., Costa Mesa, (714) 556-6473.

WHERE MORPHEUS LEADS, PROGRESSIVES FOLLOW

When you first come across the Cal State Long Beach Campus Progressives' website (www.csulb.edu/org/csulbcp/), you may think you've stumbled onto some anti-establishment, Rage-Against-the-Machine-homage homepage. With fuzzy, skewed writing and a link for "propaganda," it looks more like a Matrix trailer than a campus club. Search deeper and you will find this club could be led by Morpheus himself, fighting for the rights of the little people. Created during the Nader campaign in 2000, Campus Progressives took the initiative to empower a number of often-marginalized campus groups, such as the African Student Union and La Raza Student Association, by allowing like-minded clubs to act as a larger political entity on campus and creating the United Student Activists coalition in 2004. The Campus Progressives website has numerous links that can direct you to such left-wing, anti-corporation sites as "Anarchy for Anybody," "Globalize This" and Noam Chomsky's homepage at MIT. The club regularly engages in activism, hosts community events such as anti-war concerts and organizes student walkouts to protest the Govenator's budget cuts in education.

STUDY ALREADY

It has more books than any other Orange County college—more than two million volumes, plus access to the ginormous UC collection—but UC Irvine's newly dubbed Jack Langson Library offers more than mere academia. Located at the center of the 1,476-acre campus, the five-story building is flanked on either side by benches and sycamores, and out back lays the 16-acre botanical garden Aldrich Park. The library is furnished with comfortable cubicles—many of them wide enough for both you and your, ahem, study partner—on each of its floors. As you enter through the front doors, your eyes land on several display cases (current exhibition: photographs of dancer Martha Graham). A wall zigzags diagonally to your right, alternating between glass panels and wood; behind it is a reading room filled with periodicals ranging from Scandinavian psychology to nuclear law. Add a few nifty details—compact shelving in the basement, color-coded maps on every level—and this library becomes the ideal place to relax and study or take a nap. W. Peltason Road and Pereira Drive on the campus of UCI, Irvine, (949) 824-6836.

WE 'HEART' AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM

If you're bored with humdrum student-run publications, then you haven't seen Santa Ana College's el Don. Since 1990, el Don has received 1,400 awards, a near-embarrassing amount of riches that includes eight consecutive Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) National Pacemaker Awards—considered the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize—in the past 14 years. Add to that seven consecutive College Newspaper of the Year awards; 10 consecutive Columbia Gold Medals; 15 consecutive state General Excellence honors; and eight consecutive ACP First Place, Best of Show awards—woof!—and you'll understand why we hate these people. Kidding! Anyway, through el Don and the school magazine, West 17th, these smacks have won more top local, state, and national awards than any college or university in California, writing on topics this past year ranging from traveling to China to an investigation of how textbook publishers artificially inflate prices. el Don, 1530 W. 17th St., Santa Ana, (714) 564-5616.

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