and the living is... hectic
and the living is... hectic
Five academic sessions, orientations, conferences, summer camps keep campus hopping
Ainsworth, Public Affairs
They come to soak up the atmosphere, the sunshine, the wealth of academic programs, cultural diversity, international cuisine, sports camps and night life.
Summer session on the Berkeley campus is every bit as busy as the academic year. Nearly 13,000 students from around the world have filled up residence halls and packed classrooms to take advantage of about 450 courses, premiere library facilities, world-renowned research programs and the guidance of a distinguished faculty.
About 750 are international students, here from Japan, China, Russia, Poland, Africa, Israel, Brazil, Turkey, Honduras, Malaysia, Sweden, Australia, you name it. The rest are Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students, mid-career professionals, senior citizens, high school juniors and seniors, students from other universities and kids.
"Berkeley doesn't quiet down much over the summer," said Gary Penders, director of Summer Sessions. "We've got five summer sessions going on, special orientation programs for junior and senior high school students getting a head start on college degrees, orientation programs for newcomers and their parents, 175 or more conferences, summer camps and hundreds of undergraduate and graduate courses being offered."
It's not surprising that the 178-acre campus, steeped in history and tranquil beauty, attracts the best and the brightest of California's student population, those who will be tomorrow's business leaders, scholars, artists and entrepreneurs.
This urban oasis is a microcosm of the world. Just blocks from their residence halls, students can hear the zesty music of the Andes, for instance, or see a stellar theater arts performance. Guided tours of the campus or the San Francisco Bay are a phone call away. Everyone can enjoy foods from every culture of the world, study with Pulitzer Prize winners or just buckle down to the most challenging academic studies of their lives.
Between May 22 and August 11, the summer sessions program draws so many students that all of Cal's dining halls, book stores, banks, museums, gymnasiums, public lectures, international film series and exhibitions are in full swing.
Most people don't know that Cal, one of the nation's most selective public universities, is open to virtually anyone. Including seniors, kids, even infants.
For a mere $25, people 55 and older can audit as many classes as they'd like. The university offers a senior citizens discount that gets them into 160 college courses.
"Seniors are often the best students because they want to learn for the sake of learning, not for grades, credits or a degree," Penders said. "Because of this, faculty respond very well to having them in the classroom."
While older students enjoy the pleasures of learning for learning's sake, freshmen and transfer students planning to start college in the fall are here for an intensive orientation program. In crash courses lasting a day and a half, about 500 to 600 students and their parents in the Cal Students Orientation Program learn from current students what it takes to survive at Cal.
Another program, the Summer Bridge program, brings 140 students to campus for an intensive, six-week academic and residential learning experience to prepare them for the first year of their undergraduate training. Those about to graduate can cash in on $500 rebates over the summer to complete their degrees. And for those who want to work, the Career Placement Center offers about 4500 summer internships.
Still younger visitors -- some 6,500 youngsters ranging from six months to 16 years old -- flock to campus in June, July and August for dozens of summer camps. The Botanical Garden has a camp, as do the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and the Haas School of Business, which offers a summer program for young business enthusiasts. Other camps include a safari camp, one for kids learning English, and sports sessions in which young athletes learn pointers from Berkeley players and coaches.
Cal Adventures, an outdoor recreation program of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports, offers a wide range of fun-filled programs for youth and adults, including backpacking, rock climbing, rafting and weekly sailing, sea kayaking and windsurfing courses. Adult programs include fly fishing, rowing, teambuilding, wilderness medicine, a ropes course, custom adventures and instructor training.
Parents can enroll their six-month-old infants in the Strawberry Canyon Youth Sports swimming program. Day camps also are open to youth of ages four to 14.
For special events, Cal Adventures offers a new 24-foot mobile climbing wall that can be transported and set up at fairs, parties or parks. Trained instructors lead climbing classes and supervise recreational climbing at social events.
Guided tours hosted by Visitor Services will draw more than 12,000 visitors interested in this academic metropolis. Another 20,000 will take an elevator ride up the historic Sather Tower, called Campanile, a 307-foot-tall bell tower housing a 61-bell carillon. Far above the university's tallest buildings, guests delight in this spectacular bird's eye view of the campus and the entire San Francisco Bay.
Some may spot an unusual sight as they look to the east of this sprawling mecca. Herds of goats, about 750 of them, are grazing near the Haas School of Business, courtesy of a Berkeley company called "Goats R Us." They're part of the seasonal help, here to keep the grasses, shrubs and trees in more remote parts of the campus trimmed back during the summer fire season.
"We ship them in from L.A., Texas and other states each summer to graze Berkeley's hillsides and keep the campus and surrounding neighborhoods safe from fires," said Maria Morales, a consultant to Berkeley's fire mitigation program and a 1994 Berkeley graduate in wildland resource science. "They get a lot of frequent flyer miles."
Most of the goats will be grazing hillsides near the Lawrence Hall of Science, Grizzly Peak, the Botanical Gardens and borderlines to the north and south of campus. By August, with their landscaping job complete, the goats will depart for other cities, having become a rare treat on campus that only the summer crowd was allowed to behold.