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.
Stepping onto the campus for my first shift at 9:45 A.M. I could already feel the palpable energy that characterizes this university, spreading from Sproul Plaza all throughout the campus. I could already see droves of excited new admits and their families strolling by all the booths, checking out all the groups that were tabling. I worked three shifts that day, and within those hours alone got to interact with hundreds of visitors that came on my tour or popped by the booths at which I was stationed. Major departments held panels, science professors conducted experiments, museums opened up to the public, libraries offered public tours, and there was even Oskiland, an area for young cubs, future Golden Bears, to get their faces painted and try their hand at a Cal-themed ring toss. The Cal flags circled the campus all day long, and different dance and art groups showcased their work. The campus was bustling and brimming with the enthusiastic glow of those who will soon call Berkeley home.
One of the events I was most looking forward to was Bandaloop, a vertical dance group, that performed dances off of the Campanile, as part of the yearlong Campanile centennial celebration. I was catching my breath between shifts when their first performance began, and decided to head to the Campanile to go watch. What I found there was almost absolute silence, save for the dancers’ soundtrack. I glanced around at the spectators around me, newly admitted students, young kids, and current Cal students and faculty alike, and found a sea of mesmerized faces, eyes glued to the tower, smiles spread across their faces. It was a moment that brought all of these people together, in awe of this place. I grinned as I imagined a newly admitted student turning to their family member in that moment, beaming, and saying “I think this is it. I think I’m coming to Cal.”
Cal Day is an incredibly special day in UC Berkeley’s year, because it brings together those who already comprise the Cal community with those who will soon fill its hallowed halls. It welcomes the new Golden Bears into the Cal family, and gives them a glimpse into what being a Cal student will afford them. It’s a truly remarkable thing to see the Cal spirit so visible and tangible on this day, and to see all different kinds of people, Cal fans, students, alumni, new and old, coming together to share Cal Day.
(Visitor and Parent Services staff after a fantastic Cal Day)