As final exams have come to a close and students finally find their way home for summer vacation, Sproul is left as a ghost town for the long summer months. The plaza is barren with only the remnants of a few fallen club handouts blowing in the warm summer breeze. In the dead of June, one can only hear the ghostly echoes of the countless a capella groups whistle through Sather Gate.
Memories of Sproul filled with ASUC campaigners, protesters, dancers and the occasional stressed-out student haunts every step through this deserted walkway. Just as the great towns of the Wild West were suddenly abandoned at the blink of an eye, Sproul seemed to empty as quickly as the Campanile struck 10 p.m. on Friday, May 13th. During the summer, although Sproul experiences the occasional passerby, it doesn’t bask in its school year glory.
Although the emptiness of Sproul during the summer season does have its benefits for some, (like being able to peacefully walk from Telegraph Ave. to Dwinelle Hall without dodging a single “Sproul-er”), others suffer catastrophic consequences. The ever-growing squirrel population experiences traumatic food shortages in the summer months due to the reduction of Golden Bear Cafe-goers and the disappearance of weekly Krispy Kreme fundraisers on Sproul. They lack the crumbs vital to their survival during these demanding months and often migrate to more affluent regions like the Berkeley Hills or Palo Alto (with more substantial and higher quality crumbs).
With no people, no squirrels and no Golden Bear spirit, what is even left of Sproul? Sproul Plaza without students is like going to a Costco without samples — simply unexciting and monotonous. As much as the daily chaos of Sproul can really piss you off on your rush to Valley Life Science Building for your 9 a.m. midterm, summertime Sproul just isn’t the same. A walk through this lonely plaza, with only tumbleweeds and a few loose fliers in sight, seems to only serve as a simple reminder of how much we miss the school year (obviously not because of class).
It’s not even as though the city of Berkeley is completely abandoned during the summer months. With the many people who stay in Berkeley over the summer to take classes and do internships, one would think that Sproul Plaza would remain a bustling hub for summertime residents. Despite the presence of UC Berkeley summer session students, Sproul still remains empty and unkempt, and longing for signs of the fall 2016 semester.
Contact Allison David at [email protected].