UC Berkeley ranked in top 10 most hipster college campuses

Jan Flatley-Feldman/Staff
A cross-processed and heavily vignetted photo of UC Berkeley's iconic structure, the Campanile.

College Magazine says UC Berkeley has a new crowning achievement: a place in the top 10 as one of the most hipster college campuses in the country.

The magazine’s ranking, released in December, rated New York University as the number one hipster campus. UC Berkeley placed seventh between UCLA at number six and Yale University at number eight. UC Berkeley also received a high rating for hipster shopping opportunities, with the shops on Berkeley’s Fourth Street considered a selling point for students.

The magazine researched dozens of schools and rated colleges’ hipster credentials based on criteria that included location, awards received by the campus radio stations, fashion, liberal arts and fine arts programs, the number of thrift stores and boutiques in the area and whether or not there are sustainable and vegan-friendly eating options.

Unlike other accolades the campus has received, the title of hipster campus is one that students and business establishments debated or pondered quietly when asked what it means to be hipster.

Urban Dictionary defines “hipsterism” as “a state of mind often intertwined with distinct fashion sensibilities,” and states that “hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers.”

“It has such a wide array of meanings that ultimately I’m not sure if it really means anything anymore,” said junior English major Mary Goss, who also works for Urban Outfitters. “It’s all an attitude as well, a holier-than-thou type of thing.”

Most hipsters think of themselves as trendsetters, according to Jessica Feng, a freshman media studies and intended business major.

“Hipsters are people who dress like artists but don’t actually make anything and who like to do things that no one else likes because no one else likes it,” Feng said.

Goss and Feng said they would not necessarily consider UC Berkeley a hipster campus. They added that there may be a small percentage of people who describe themselves as hipster, but for the most part people do not admit to it.

“It’s all about not trying and about appropriating the style of the working class without being the working class,” Goss said. “It’s about being effortlessly cool, which is silly because it takes more effort to try to look effortless.”