Last Tuesday, I was lucky enough to attend a Giants Vs. Dodgers game with a group of students from UC Berkeley’s Greek system. CalGreeks rented out the busses and preordered the tickets so all we had to do was show up on the day of and hop on the bus! It was great going in a huge group of Cal students – we even got a “Go Bears” chant started in the 7th inning.
I adore springtime at Berkeley. Warm, lovely sunshine. Blue, blue skies. And beautiful flowers. It’s funny, but when the weather is really, really nice, I notice. When it’s raining, I notice. When it’s an in-between non-rainy partly sunny/ cloudy sky, I don’t always remember what the day’s been like. With the recent bouts of great weather in the past few weeks though, I’ve been noticing not only the sunny skies, but also the flowers blooming around campus.
On the first day of April, I discovered a sea of purple asters blanketing a gradual incline across from the north side of Memorial Glade, on my way to the Kresge Engineering Library. They were a bright and joyful addition to my day, and the start of my collection of flower photos around campus.
The promotional tagline for Cal Day, our newly admitted students day here at Cal, is “#shareCalDay.” For months now, our office has been hard at work bringing this huge event into fruition, and all of us ambassadors have done our part in promoting this event via all forms of social media, as well as to our friends and any incoming students we know. I’ve been hyping this event to our visitors all semester long, and as April 18 drew closer, I’ve been trying to share Cal Day with our visitors on tours each chance I get. We were planning over 350 events during the day, and expecting 35,000 visitors, and I sought to share the fun that was sure to ensue to anyone who would listen.
Earlier this week, I attended the Star Party with Professor Filippenko, hosted by the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholars Association’s Faculty Committee. In a span of one and a half hours, we got to gaze at stars, planets, and nebula, and talk about fascinating stuff! A large, high-power telescope was focused on the Orion Nebula, and we could see four bright dots in a diamond shape clustered in the center of the bluish cloud of gas and dust, adjacent to Orion’s belt. Professor Filippenko mentioned that it takes a million years for the stars to form out of the particles in the nebula, and each of the bright dots we saw formed at different points in time.
It’s hard to step onto Sproul Plaza on a weekday and not immediately sense the uniquely quirky energy that has come to characterize the Cal campus. Student groups flyering between the trees, a capella groups serenading students by Sather Gate, the occasional protestor emphatically speaking on the Sproul steps – all of these are common features of the campus’ busiest and most visible entrance. But last week and this week, it’s been even busier, as campus election season has transformed the plaza.
One of the things I was really excited about when I came to UC Berkeley was the opportunity to explore different interests and activities. Before college, I had swum competitively and played piano and violin for over a decade each; while I still love swimming and music, Cal has introduced me to a panoply of additional extracurricular possibilities. Our university has over 1,200 student organizations, including a cappella singing groups, ethnic student associations, community service organizations, and many others. I remember the exhilaration of Calapalooza during freshman year and visiting dozens of tables and picking up flyers for various student organizations.
Just last week, on Monday, March 23, Cal celebrated its 147th birthday, 147 years since the 1868 founding of the University of California. As a student attending Cal in the 2010s, I’ve found I often see Cal and my daily adventures through my 21st century eyes, through the challenges and characteristics that distinguish Cal in its current, vibrant form. But Cal’s recent birthday has gotten me to thinking more about the many thousands of students who have come before me, and all of the adventures they experienced at a Cal that was very different from what it is today.