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Trivia Quiz: How well do you know Berkeley?

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DECEMBER 08, 2014

1. How many books are in the Bancroft Library holdings?

a) 100,000

b) 10 million

c) 1 million

d) 20 million


2. How many foreign languages does UC Berkeley offer?

a)   11

b)   213

c)   more than 50

d)   about 100 


3. How many current and former UC Berkeley athletes earned medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London?

a)  17

b)   35

c)    2

d)   None yet


4. Why were the university colors of blue and gold chosen?

a)   They were flashier than red and white

b)   Color photography in 1873 picked up these shades best

c)   Blue was for the sky, the sea and the Yale graduates, and gold was for the “Golden State,” the bridge and the wildflowers

d)   To commemorate a founding father of UC Berkeley who had chosen these as his favorite colors


5. What year did “card stunts” at games begin?

a)   1985

b)   1869

c)    2000

d)  1908


6. True or false: There used to be an annual Freshmen-Sophomore Brawl on campus.




7. Where did our mascot, the Golden Bear, come from?

a) The golden bear was a relative of the grizzly that went extinct just before the founding of the university

b) Gold was chosen as a symbol of wealth, and bears were chosen as a symbol of strength and power

c) A university professor composed a song naming “Golden Bears” in his lyrics

d) Nobody knows — maybe because of the school colors, it slowly gained use and was accepted


8. From about 1900 until 1932, Labor Day was a day of labor donation by the students of UC Berkeley. This three-decade tradition led to the building of:

a)   The Campanile

b)   A clearing for Memorial Glade

c)   The Big C trail

d)   Not much — nobody wanted to participate


9. True or false: Live bears have never served as UC Berkeley mascots.




10. Where did Oski get his name?

a)  His name was part of a cheer that began, “Oski wow wow! Whiskey wee wee!”

b)   Students at UC Berkeley who loved wintertime sports put a stuffed bear on skis as a prank in 1943

c)    Before finals, students used to run through campus shouting a string of nonsensical words as a good luck charm, and Oski was the most popular

d)   Nobody knows precisely why — the name was stitched on the chest of yellow-sweatered, blue-trousered bear left on the steps of the administration building, and it stuck











1) b

Bancroft Library – Holdings: The Library has over 10 million book volumes, 90,000 current serial publications, 415,900 pamphlets, 5 million microform items, 410,000 maps, 109,000 government documents, 60,000 sound recordings, and 6,350 videos.

2) c

3) a

4) c

The university colors of blue and gold were chosen in 1873 shortly after the first class organizations (then called “unions”) were formed. A committee made up of representatives from each class was appointed to make the selection. Blue was heavily favored for a number of reasons: the turquoise California sky and deep-blue Pacific ocean, the navy of the student cadet uniforms, and because of the number of Yale graduates who were instrumental in the founding and administration of the university (Yale’s color is bright blue). Gold was considered because of the Gold Rush and California’s designation as the Golden State, the view of the “Golden Gate” from the campus, and the color of many of the native wild flowers. The committee was unable to choose between them, and turned over the decision to the women of the classes. Rebekah Bragg (later Cummings) ’76 suggested to combine the two, which was accepted by the committee.

5) d

Card stunts began with the Big Game of 1908, when California and Stanford fans wore white shirts and “rooter” caps with one color on the outside and another on the inside.

6) True

7) c

1895 professor Charles Mills Gayley to compose the song “The Golden Bear.” It ended, “Oh, have you seen our banner blue? / The Golden Bear is on it too. / A Californian through and through / Our totem he, the Golden Bear!” From then on, the Golden Bear became the mythical guardian of the university.

8) c

The fruit of their labor included the trail up to the “Big C,” complete with drains and culverts, which was built in the course of three hours on February 29, 1916.

9) False

Originally, various real bear cubs served as Berkeley mascots, but their growth posed obvious problems.

10) a

Beloved school mascot Oski was named for a popular cheer that began, “Oski wow wow! Whiskey wee wee!” William Rockwell ’43 brought to life Oski as we know him, sporting a size 54 yellow sweater and blue trousers, at a 1941 freshman rally. A few years later, a secretive committee of unidentified, 5’2″-5’4,” gymnastically skilled students took over Oski’s schedule and took turns assuming the character.


Contact Nina Djukic at 


DECEMBER 11, 2014

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