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Score! UC Merced Opens New Recreation Center, Launches Sports and Yosemite Leadership Programs

November 13, 2006

MERCED - Students at the state’s newest UC campus today will
unveil the new Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center
as the university also officially kicks off its sports program and
begins its Yosemite Leadership Program by opening the Wilderness
Desk inside the center.

The Competitive Sports Committee, made up of students, faculty,
staff and community members, met this fall to determine which
sports students are most interested in. The UC Merced Golden
Bobcats want to start with baseball, men’s soccer and aquatics
(swimming & water polo), with women’s soccer and volleyball not
far behind.

“Everyone at UC Merced is eager to cheer our students to victory
on the field of competition,” said David Dunham, Director of Campus
Recreation and Athletics. “Giving them a chance to succeed in
athletics helps create a balanced college experience and teach
skills and habits that they can apply for the rest of their lives.”

The teams will compete against other universities’ clubs,
including any of the UC sister campuses, as well as many of the CSU schools.

Student athletes and anyone else on campus who wants to get in
shape or stay fit will be able to start using the Recreation and
Wellness Center starting today. Membership is only open to the
campus community - faculty, students and staff - but the public
will be welcome to attend a variety of educational forums and
events that will be held in the new center.

The center features an NCAA-sized basketball court, workout
facilities, room for performances, wellness and fitness education
and the Rajender Reddy Student Health Center, which opens in early
December after finishing touches are put on the facility.

The center will also house the Wilderness Desk, part of a
one-of-a-kind partnership between a university and national parks.
The Wilderness Desk will be staffed by uniformed rangers from
Yosemite National Park and UC Merced students.

At the desk, supported by a $105,000 grant from the Yosemite
Fund to Yosemite National Park, students can get information and
view Webcams in Yosemite national park, get weather conditions and
other updates, learn about wilderness safety, the environment and
other topics, rent outdoors equipment, purchase park passes and
find out about the opportunities offered through the Yosemite
Leadership Program.

The YLP is a one-of-a-kind partnership between the parks and UC
Merced that teaches students in and out of the classroom about
ecology, the environment, resource management and more, and trains
them to be ethical, innovative leaders in the future.

“These programs and the new recreation center demonstrate UC
Merced’s commitment to the health and well-being of the campus
community and the world around it,” said Jane Lawrence, vice
chancellor for student affairs. “They also show the vitality and
uniqueness of this growing campus.”