Cal Culture

Mills College Closes, but Opens Its Doors to Berkeley Students

In early March, the leadership of Mills College announced that the institution would discontinue its enrollment for first-year students after fall 2021. By 2023, the small private college in Oakland, established in 1852 for the education of undergraduate women, will be officially closed.

From the Summer 2021 issue of California.

Blockeley 2.0: A Virtual Commencement, 19th Century Style

UC Berkeley’s campus is a shrine to an ever-changing architectural aesthetic. The original 1868 campus plans called for the buildings to be created in the Second Empire style, a Victorian era architectural movement that modeled itself after the French Renaissance. (Think: mansard roofing and French oeil-de-boeuf windows.) Only one of those original buildings remains: South Hall, finished in 1873, still stands alongside Doe Library.

The Editorial That Split the Daily Cal (And May Have Provoked a Riot)

Editor’s note: The Daily Californian, Berkeley’s student newspaper, marks two momentous anniversaries this year. The first is its founding, 150 years ago. Since 1871, the paper—originally called the College Echo—has been published continuously, reporting on the campus and community through world wars and loyalty oaths, depression and recessions, student rebellions and global pandemics.

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

Chancellor’s Letter: COVID and the Arts

Since the pandemic began, Jeremy Geffen, director of Cal Performances, has been sending a weekly email to patrons, a play­list of half a dozen or so performing arts videos, entitled “Now, More Than Ever.” The title resonates. At a time of great crisis, like the one we are experiencing, we need the arts, to bring us moments of beauty, of profound reflection on the human condition, of heightened emotion captured in the symmetries of form.

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

Meet Cal’s New Changemaker in Chief

RICH LYONS SPENT TEN YEARS (2008–2018) as dean of Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where he himself studied as an undergraduate, before being appointed the University’s first-ever chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer in January 2020.

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

Plants for the People: The UC Botanical Garden Is Blooming and Ready for Visitors

ON JULY 14, 2020, THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BOTANICAL GARDEN at Berkeley welcomed visitors for the first time since its closure four months earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic. The garden’s executive director, plant biology professor Dr. Lewis Feldman, stood by the gates, greeting the first arrivals. “When people came in, [they] burst into tears,” says Feldman. “It was, for them, as if something normal had been returned to their lives. … I think the garden here represents a return to what life was like. … It’s very renewing.”

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

Warm Hearts and Feet: Students To Distribute Sleeping Bags to Homeless

The December chill that proved frigidly fatal to several homeless people in the Bay Area also has spurred a team of students at UC Berkeley and San Jose State into action. They helped launched the Sleeping Bag Drive—which on Friday will begin distributing 300 pairs of wool socks, beanies, and zero-degree sleeping bags to the vulnerable communities.

“It’s a scary thing that people are dying,” says Taliah Mirmalek, a Cal senior majoring in political science and rhetoric. “We were just happy to be able to share the opportunity to do something about it.”

Online, Offline, On Life: A Berkeley Student In the Time of COVID

“If I avoid the online, I’m avoiding the things that are gonna be important to me in the future. But if I stay online, I’m avoiding the things that are important to me now. I don’t wanna give up on either, but it’s also like, there’s only so much time in the day that you can be on a laptop.”

In March 2020, UC Berkeley joined the ranks of other universities moving to entirely virtual learning. Undergrad Carly Tran takes us into the life of a student, reflecting on a year of endless Zoom calls and surprising joys.

How to Make Black Lives Matter at Berkeley

On Nov. 10, 2020, California magazine assembled a select panel of Black faculty, students, administrators, and alumni to discuss, via video conference, the question, “How do we make Black lives matter at Berkeley, and beyond?” 

From the Winter 2020 issue of California.

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