Posted Fri., April 11—Tomorrow (Saturday) will be a day unlike the usual Saturday in Berkeley. Throngs will be headed for the UC Berkeley campus, but not for classes or football games.
They’re taking part in Cal Day, and you can join them on this once-a-year opportunity to explore the university in Berkeley’s backyard.
Cal Day started out years ago as something of an annual public open house, but now has the added character of an event to specially showcase the campus for prospective and newly admitted students.
So if you have younger children pointed towards college, it can be a particularly enlightening experience. But the open house for all theme still pertains.
Four years ago I wrote about Cal Day for the Planet. A generation of students has come and gone, and the event seems even bigger and even more interesting now. It’s an occasion when even the most staid-sounding academic departments have come up with fun and fascinating things to show and tell the public.
The program alone—with just a few short paragraph for each activity-runs to nearly 60 pages. An estimated 30,000 visitors are expected to take part. The event starts at 9:00 am and wraps up by 4:00.
There will be scores of tables and displays at the central “Information Marketplace” in Dwinelle Plaza, and orientation information available at several other campus gateways.
Cal’s massive and multitudinous museums star this particular day. Admission is free to the Berkeley Art Museum, Hearst Museum of Anthropology, and tours are available at largely behind-the-scenes collections like the University Herbaria and the Museum of Paleontology.
Live anthropods will be on view at the Essing Museum on the second floor of Wellman Hall, along with stuck-up preserved specimens from the insect world. “Live marine animals” will be on hand with “beach-bucket science” students as guides at the entrance to McCone Hall
The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology housed in the Valley Life Sciences Building is turning 100 this year, and celebrates with “live animals, play games, a puppet show” as well as more adult seminars and tours.
You can throw a pot—not at someone, but for your shelf—at the hands-on ASUC Art Studio near Sather Gate, or “Play With Clay” in the Archaeological Research Facility at 2251 College Ave., where the whys and hows of ancient ceramic-making will be taught.
If you’d rather watch then participate, there’s lots of entertainment to take in. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., student groups will perform “traditional and cultural dances, songs, and skits” on Sproul Plaza, or you can watch dance performances-ballet, modern, lyrical jazz, and other styles-in the Department of Physical Education in historic Hearst Gymnasium.
Several of the campus theaters and dance studios will be showcased on a 12-1 tour hosted by the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. And from 2-4 pm in the Chavez Student center students stage “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: The Musical.”
The University Baroque Ensemble performs in Hertz Hall, as does the University Symphony Orchestra. Taiko drumming reverberates outside Kroeber Hall, and the Campanile carillion will be played on the hour, starting at noon.
At 1:30 p.m. at Hertz Hall you can hear the winner of the first Berkeley Piano Competition perform; he’ll go home with a Steinway grand.
The “Bug Doctor” helps identify insects and spiders and diagnoses your “bug-riddled plants” at Wellman Hall and if you have a mysterious fossil in the attic, bring it by the “Fossil Roadshow” at the Life Sciences Building for an educated guess as to what it is.
In Memorial Glade, north of Doe Library, the popular Army ROTC rock climbing wall will be open for business, and just uphill from Sproul Plaza UC Police will showcase their patrol cars, Segways, bomb disposal unit and (one hopes) cute bomb sniffing dogs.
Down in Edwards Stadium a track and field showdown with Stanford will take place (there’s a ticket charge, but children under 12 are free) next to a free tennis match, Cal verses Washington, while the Golden Bears football team will have their final spring scrimmage in Memorial Stadium.
Food is in abundance-there are 18 university run or related dining facilities open for the day on and off-campus. Rides to the top of the Campanile are free for the day, as are many University parking lots (through 5:00 PM) although use of public transportation is encouraged.
Even “Curious George” will appear. Wait, don’t get out the Code Pink protest signs! It’s the fictional character—not the where-did-the-WMD’s go President—coming to the annual Celebration of Children’s Literature on the second floor of Tolman Hall. The simple simian will be joined by several children’s authors and illustrators including Thatcher Hurd.
A potpourri of other offerings. Tour many of the campus residence halls, including historic Bowles Hall and the Clark Kerr Campus, and the Global Environment Green Suite where students demonstrate sustainable living.
Walk the “Campus Tree Trail” (get a guidebook at Table 25 in the Information Marketplace). Hear a talk on “Cal 101: A Bear’s Necessities,” covering the basics a prospective student should know. Have tea with members of the Society of Women Engineers, explore the machine shop for Mechanical Engineering students in Etcheverry Hall, tour KALX, the student radio station, in Barrows Hall or visit the offices of the Daily Californian newspaper in Eshleman Hall.
Parents can drop by the Cal Parents Hospitality Tent (Table 77) or nibble and chat at the Parents Reception at Alumni House, open to the proud progenitors of current and newly admitted students.
Faculty and student insights, research, and opinion will be presented in a wide variety of talks and programs.
Cal’s vaulted-and deserved-reputation for intellectual diversity and creativity is displayed in lectures on biofuels, “marking nuclear waste sites forever,” “Fact and Fiction of Immigration in the United States,” “Physics for Future Presidents,” “What’s the Good of the Liberal Arts?,” “How the Vikings Told Stories,” “Can Worms Teach Us About Our Immune System?,” “Blood, Guts, Bones, and Flesh Eating Beetles,” and “Better Living Through Economics.”
Over in Davis Hall Professor Hassan Astaneh will demonstrate-no doubt with shattering results-the breaking points of various construction materials starting with steel (2 p.m.), timber (2:30 p.m.), and concluding with concrete (3 p.m.).
In the Embedded Systems Design Laboratory in Cory Hall “students show off their latest and greatest projects, including a climbing Roomba,” while in Etcheverry Hall you can help set up obstacle courses for experimental robots, or observe how projectiles slam into various sorts of objects in the Ballistic Materials Testing Lab.
If you haven’t been on campus in a while and want to know about new buildings, you can peek inside the recently opened C.V. Starr East Asian Library, take a “virtual walkthrough” of the CITRIS project (under construction on Hearst Avenue, above Euclid), tour the recently completed Stanley Hall (adjacent to Mining Circle), or explore the green slate-shingled Hargrove Music Library.
Or, if you want to benefit from Cal Day but don’t want to join the crowds on the campus proper, the Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Botanical Garden, and Blake Garden in Kensington are open for free, with special programs.
Download the Cal Day program from the campus website at.http://calday.berkeley.edu/ or pick up a printed program from one of the information tables as you enter campus. The program includes a handy guide for what starts when so you can plan out a sensible schedule.
A hybrid car will chauffer visitors around campus, as will motorized cable cars, and there are electrical carts to carry the mobility impaired.