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UC Berkeley's Fall Schedule: A Primer for Locals

By Steven Finacom
Tuesday July 27, 2010 - 12:48:00 PM

While it is certainly possible to live in Berkeley without experiencing any direct connection to the University, the ebb and flow of campus life does influence life in the town, if only through the number of commuters on city streets or the amount of cheering coming out of Memorial Stadium. 

Although it’s still full summer, it’s also less than a month to the beginning of the Fall semester when some thirty-four thousand students will return to—or newly arrive in—Berkeley. 

Here are the key dates of the season, academic and athletic. 

One of the interesting situations to keep in mind is that there are home football games at Memorial Stadium this year on both the long Labor Day weekend, and the Thanksgiving weekend. 

Fall Semester officially begins on Thursday, August 19. That weekend—Saturday August 21 and Sunday, August 22—is move-in at the University’s residence halls. Students sharing triple rooms can move in on Saturday, everyone else on Sunday. 

Since the vast majority of freshmen students these days stay in the residence halls during their first year, expect thousands of students, often accompanied by their anxious / proud families, in town on those days, looking for loading zones around the Southside Units and the Foothill housing on Northside, or arriving at the Clark Kerr campus, as well as filling local hotels and motels. 

During that weekend and the next several days, continuing students will return in a less organized but much larger flood of arrivals. 

Welcome Week activities, with various on-campus events, begin on Monday, August 23 and continue through Friday, August 27. There’s a schedule at 

Classes start on Thursday, August 26. 

Home football games don’t start until the first weekend in September this year. On Saturday, September 5 4, Cal plays UC Davis at Memorial Stadium, a rare matchup with a sister UC campus other than UCLA. 

One imagines this game could draw crowds because of the close proximity of the Davis campus—just an hour or so by car, making it the nearest opponent Cal can play other than Stanford and San Jose State—and the traditional appeal of the Bay Area’s early Fall warm weather. 

This is also the last home season at Memorial before renovation of the Stadium fully begins and the team moves to AT&T Park in San Francisco for a season. 

Most game start times these days are subject to the tyranny of television. Broadcasters influence the schedule, so exact starting times may move during the season, and West Coast games are often pushed into the later hours. If past years are any guide, Memorial will see a number of late afternoon or even evening kick-off times. 

That weekend of Sept. 5 and 6 is also Labor Day weekend. It’s followed, on Saturday, September 11, by a home game against Colorado, the new member of the expanded “Pac-11”. 

October 8-10 is Homecoming and Parents weekend—coupled with the game against UCLA in Berkeley on the 9th—so expect a full crowd at the Stadium and on the streets of Berkeley, as well as attending academic and other events on campus on Friday the 8th and Saturday the 9th

The next home game is against Arizona State on Saturday, October 23. 

The campus commemorates the Veteran’s Day on Thursday, November 11, this year. Classes aren’t held that day and staff have the day off. 

The next home game is Cal verses Oregon on Saturday, November 13. The following week is Big Game week, with the traditional Bonfire Rally at the Greek Theater on Friday, November 19, and the game against Stanford in Berkeley this year on Saturday, November 20th

Like the UCLA game on the 9th, this is often a sellout, with a crowd exceeding seventy thousand at Memorial Stadium and, of course, filling the streets around campus. 

Thanksgiving follows on Thursday the 25 and, of course, that day and the 26th are campus holidays without staff or classes. 

Big Game is usually the last game of the season. This year, in a somewhat unusual arrangement, Washington comes to Memorial Stadium for a final home football contest of the season on Saturday November 27

While Washington’s football fortunes have fallen in recent years this is often one of the bigger matches on the Cal schedule and the Huskies attract both large local, and traveling, contingents of fans. It will also be the last home game at Memorial for at least two years. 

So it will be a curious Thanksgiving four-day weekend, presumably quiet but also punctuated by what could be a well-attended football game. 

Friday, December 10, is the last day of classes. Finals begin on Monday, December 13 and run through Friday, December 17. If the past is any guide, all that week students will be leaving Berkeley as fast as they finish their exams. 

Staff remain on the job, of course. Then Thursday and Friday, December 23 and 24 are campus work holidays this year (with Christmas falling on Saturday). 

The following week will be quiet, since students are gone and it’s a time many staff take vacation days to combine with the four paid holidays days of the season. 

Thursday and Friday December 30 and 31 are campus work holidays as well, so the campus and its environs should be pretty quiet from Wednesday the 22nd through the first week in January. Many departments shut down completely. Unlike last year, however, there are not mandatory employee furlough days this season. 

Regular work resumes on Monday, January 3, but the campus will still be academically quiescent. Spring semester classes don’t start until Tuesday, January 18, the day after the Martin Luther King, Jr. work holiday. 

If you want to look at the official campus schedule—including teaching days and holidays—as far ahead as 2013, check this link for the Academic Calendar. Here's the schedule that guides all academic event planning on the campus.