Every day is a day that us Berkeley students can celebrate our university’s history and achievements. There’s one day in particular that sticks out, though: March 23rd (tomorrow!), the date of the University of California’s founding. It’s more fondly known as Charter Day, and we’re able to celebrate the birth of our university and the UC system as a whole.
Let me give a little historical context to Charter Day. Before the University of California, the College of California existed. In 1862, right in the middle of the Civil War, president Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act, which allowed the federal government to allot land for states to establish a public Agricultural and Mining Arts College. This went into effect for California in 1866, but this state college had no campus. However, on March 23, 1868, governor Henry Haight signed an act that merged the College of California with the Agricultural and Mining Arts College to create the University of California. Then, five years later, the University of California moved from Oakland to the Berkeley campus, where students work, study, and figure out life today.
I personally think that the Berkeley campus is pretty spectacular, all biases aside! I have to admit, sometimes it’s difficult to see the beauty in the campus and the history of our university as I’m rushing down to class for my lectures, but it’s there. The beauty lies in the architecture of the buildings we walk past every day for our classes. The beauty lies in the other students walking all around us and pursuing their goals all the same. The beauty lies in both the buildings and the students that preserve the history of our university and construct a path to the future from that. Berkeley is teeming with vibrance and history, and when I stop to think about it, I find that I’m really enjoying myself in this campus’s atmosphere.
Sure, I’m all for huge celebrations. Home football game rallies are such a great time and I love listening to the marching band play our fight songs. I’ve checked out a couple of events Rally Committee planned for Charter Week and I can say that it really helps make the week feel even more extraordinary. But if I’ve got to be honest, I’m an even bigger fan of smaller celebrations. When you really stop and take a time to look around Berkeley, you can find beauty even in the details that’s maybe harder to find.
For instance, I always take a specific route to get to my discussion section on Wednesdays. But one time, I was walking slower because I left my room earlier, and I found a new path that not only helped me get to class faster but featured some beautiful flowers I hadn’t ever noticed before.
Yes, I absolutely love the celebrations put on for important events like Charter Day, but I hold firm to my belief that every day is an opportunity to celebrate Berkeley in our own ways. There’s always a way to appreciate our campus.