TEDxBerkeley 2015: Wisdom. Compassion. Connection.

This past Saturday on February 28, over 2,000 attendees packed Zellerbach Hall for TEDxBerkeley, an independently organized TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) event. Centered around the theme of wisdom, compassion, and connection, this year’s TEDxBerkeley featured 21 speakers and performances on an array of topics, including Ebola, forgiveness, computing literacy and gender equity, and happiness.

IMG_0261My friend, Erin Roberts, curator of TEDxBerkeley, and her TEDx team, had been working hard all year to coordinate the event, and it was exciting to see everything come together so beautifully. As a volunteer for TEDxBerkeley, I had the opportunity to see some of the behind-the-scenes aspects, as I served lunch to attendees, transported heavy items around Zellerbach Hall, and assisted with security backstage. It was my first time in the backstage of Zellerbach, and it was an amazing experience meeting the speakers, cheering them on before and after their talks, and seeing their warm interactions with each other. read more

Newsies, the Musical

One of the best aspects of UC Berkeley’s location is its proximity to San Francisco, located just 15 miles and half an hour away by public transportation. In addition to being home to the Golden Gate Bridge, amazing food places, and beautiful beaches, San Francisco is also a culturally rich city with many museums and performance centers.

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IMG_6387This past Saturday, I went with friends to see Disney’s Production of Newsies, in the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco. It was an incredible performance! I was blown away by the choreography—the split jumps, aerials, and high-energy kicks—the funny storyline, and the talented singing and acting. For almost the entire musical, I was leaning forward on the tip of my balcony seat, eagerly soaking in everything happening on the stage below. read more

Happy Birthday, Campanile!

Last Tuesday, I went to a birthday party for our campus clock and bell tower and –yes- you read that sentence correctly.

UC Berkeley’s Sather Tower, commonly known on campus as the Campanile, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015 and the campus is hosting events all year long to commemorate our beloved landmark.IMG_6061

Around 6:30 p.m., my friends and I gathered with other students, alumni, faculty and visitors to hear a truly unique carillon performance. Usually, Sather Tower helps keeps me on track by tolling on the hour to mark the time but tonight’s performance was unique because the Berkeley Center for New Media used data from UC Berkeley’s seismometer, which is located in the Hayward Fault, to produce a show with both lights and music mirroring real-time movement inside the fault. The performance was truly amazing – it was entertaining to watch, but also amazing to think about the amount of work and creativity that brought it to life. That’s one of my favorite things about UC Berkeley’s students and faculty – creative applications of science. 10421249_10200209594399592_979242462754869503_n read more

Big Game: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

IMG_5390It’s a Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and I hear the constant chant of “take off that red shirt” outside my window. That can only mean one thing: it’s game day, and the opposing team is Stanford. Known on campus as “Big Game,” the UC Berkeley versus Stanford football game is a beloved tradition for UC Berkeley students because it means going all out – getting to the football game early decked from head to toe in Cal Gear.

In addition to the student section being a great place to sit because you’re surrounded by other excited students, it’s arguable the best seat in the stadium. Students sit right on the 50 yard line behind the players. read more

How to navigate RRR week

Eyes are bleared, coffee supplies are depleted, fingers are cramped from typing all semester, and professors have collected course evaluations. Ah, it must be RRR week. RRR formally stands for “Reading, Review, and Recitation” week, but sometimes, it feels a lot more like “Rejoice (that winter break is close), Relax (and binge-watch Netflix), and Realize (how much work is left to be done).” To some, RRR week is a blessing, a break coming at the right moment. To others, it’s an ominous reminder of all the work still to be done. read more

The Joy of Psychology

Did you know that dolphins sleep on one side of the brain at a time, and that the two hemispheres take turns sleeping while the other is awake to control swimming and breathing? Or that cells in biology labs where the lights are on all the time can get jet-lagged? (“I’m so tired… It’s been day for 3 months!”) Or that there’s a fairly strong relationship between happy mood and increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex? I was having an amazing day a couple days ago, and I thought to myself that my left prefrontal cortex must really be tickled with all that happiness. read more

Musical Musings

UC Berkeley’s Department of Music is ranked among the top music departments in the US, and frequently offers concerts and special workshops or events.

Piano InstituteThis past weekend from November 14 to 16, UC Berkeley hosted Piano Institute 2014, with three days of performances, lectures and demonstrations, and master classes in the resonant Hertz Concert Hall. Music enthusiasts had opportunities to listen to renowned pianists Seymour Lipkin, Suzanne Macahilig, Kenneth Hamilton, Chuck Fuery, and Malcolm Bilson. read more

Coffee: the perfect start to every day

Studying at your desk all the time gets boring, but luckily Berkeley is home to numerous coffee shops both on and around the campus that can satisfy your craving for a warm vanilla latte and provide a cozy corner for you to finish the last 20 pages of your reading. Here’s a list of my favorite spots to study and sip around campus:

1. International House Cafe (I-House)  IMG_5243

Located next to the stadium, I-House is situated at the top of Bancroft Avenue, which is a convenient location for students who live on the south side of campus. In addition to it’s array of expresso beverages, I-House cafe has a full breakfast and lunch menu. The best feature of I-House cafe is the window seating, which has an amazing view of the bay and, on a clear day, the Golden Gate Bridge. read more

Big Game Week

In the next week, the Cal campus will be buzzing with preparations for the Big Game, our annual football contest against our rivals from across the Bay (Stanford). After a week of excitement leading up to the game, fans from both sides will fill California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 22, the red on one side, the blue and gold on the other, awaiting the game ahead.

But as a junior here at Cal, about to embark on my third Big Game Week experience, I’ve come to realize how much more this week represents. Yes, it’s about watching our Golden Bears take the field with the hopes of vanquishing the ‘Furd, but it’s also about history, spirit, and tradition, all in celebration of our incredible university. read more

Food for thought

As a relative “foodie” and someone who tries to buy local, organic foods, I thought I knew a thing or two about the food production and food systems that shape the current day. However, a course I am taking this semester, Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) 155: Sustenance and Sustainability: the Social and Political Ecology of Agro-Food Systems, has challenged me to delve deeper into issues of food production, food security, and food justice.

This course has motivated me to think more deeply about what constitutes “organic” and “sustainable,” both in definition and in practice. It has allowed me to learn much of the history that has led to the way that agricultural systems are run currently, as the agriculture sector has become industrialized and internationalized. It has enabled me to learn more about how agricultural workers along the food production line are treated, and what protections, or lack thereof, are available to them. And it has empowered me take what I have learned and apply it to the food I buy and eat and the life I live as a Cal student. read more