An expected 40,000 visitors converged on the UC Berkeley campus for Cal Day Saturday, including prospective students and their families as well as a handful of Occupy protesters.
While visitors had free access to campus museums, exhibitions from various academic departments and a concert by Dr. Dog on Memorial Glade at 4 p.m., various groups of organizers and protesters seized the day as an opportunity to spread the word about topics ranging from minority enrollment at the university to education cuts.
Cal Day saw a few notable changes this year. Campus spokesperson Gretchen Kell said in an email that there were 370 unique events, a new record for Cal Day. Much of this increase came in the form of “activities geared toward young children” in order to entice locals and alumni to visit along with prospective students.
“While it is a great day for prospective students, Cal Day is designed for and attracts people from all over the Bay Area and beyond,” said Kell.
Among the visitors to campus was an array of protesters and activists. BAMN organizers and the ASUC Defend Affirmative Action Party distributed literature throughout the day to spread awareness about university minority enrollment.
“(At an event like this,) we can really get the word out,” said BAMN organizer Caroline Wong.
Around 12:30 p.m., about 30 activists with Occupy Education Northern California began a general assembly, during which activists discussed the California state budget and cuts to education in general.
Beezer de Martelly, a graduate student in the music department and an Occupy organizer, said that Cal Day presents an opportunity for outreach to prospective students and their families.
“Working with incoming parents and talking with them about some of the work we are doing would be an interesting way to expand the conversation,” said Martelly.
The general assembly, held on the steps of Sproul Plaza, attracted only a handful of prospective students.
Liliana Castro, a prospective student who sat in on the general assembly, said that the Occupy Movement was part of what attracted her to UC Berkeley.
“Out of all the schools we visited, people (at Berkeley) seem like they’re involved and passionate,” said Castro.
However, the vast majority of prospective students did not participate in the general assembly and instead focused on the various information booths and presentations.
Connor Brooks, a prospective freshman in the College of Engineering, said that controversies over education cuts and the Occupy Movement had little impact on his decision to come to UC Berkeley.
“(The Occupy movement) hasn’t really factored in that much, actually,” Brooks said. “I just want to come to Berkeley because it’s a really good school.”