We all know that time of year: The big tents go up in front the Campanile, the cries of the University of California Rally Committee and the songs of Cal Band echo throughout campus. The whole place is abuzz for one quintessential collegiate reason: homecoming. As Cal prepares to take on UCLA this weekend, there is a host of events to check out that are special to the homecoming season. So grab your friends or visiting family and take to campus for this bustling time of the year.
Although some might say the homecoming spirit is always with you, most people’s homecoming experience is centered around the weekend, from Friday to Sunday. Start your homecoming celebration with a tour of the University and Jepson Herbaria in 1001 Valley Life Sciences Building. Tours go from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and later in the day from 1 to 5 p.m. The herbaria is home to nearly 2.2 million specimens and is surely a sight to see.
Next, head over to the Free Speech Movement Cafe, where there will be an informal “Coffee with the Class of 1968” from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. While this event is geared toward alumni, it could be a great chance for you to grab a coffee and mingle with former students who were on campus at a pivotal time.
For something to complement your class schedule, or to prove to your visiting parents that you’ve actually been learning, campus computer science professor and meme icon John DeNero will give a lecture called “Using Programming Languages to Understand Human Languages” at 11:30 a.m. If you’re more in the mood for something in the social science arena, check out campus political science professor Darren Zook’s talk titled “Crossing the Line: Refugees, Migrants, and Immigrants in Global Politics,” also at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
If you’re feeling famished, check out one of the many barbecues and tailgates happening Saturday and Sunday, most of which are open to students (though some are ticketed). On Saturday, the Gender Equity Resource Center will host the Cal LGBTQ Alumni Reunion Brunch, and on Sunday, International House has its annual Global Homecoming. The Cal Café in the Alumni House will also have “complimentary refreshments and light snacks” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and before the game from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
For the bookworm in you, stop by the University Library Book Sale. This is a perfect event if you’re interested in picking up some fresh tomes for your in-house library or finding some literature that’s an alternative to your course reading list. And a budgetary bonus: All books at the sale, both paperback and hardcover, are only $1! So dig in and use your bargain-hunting savvy to pick up some gems.
With many parents and family members coming into town, you may have campus tours on your mind. Campus walking tours are offered throughout the day both Friday and Saturday, and Spanish- and Mandarin-language tours are sometimes available. After a tour around your regular campus haunts, consider heading into the hills for a tour of the UC Botanical Garden. You can check the garden’s website to see what’s in bloom, and tours will be happening throughout the day Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Another can’t-miss event is a talk led by Allen Fish, director of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, on a topic near and dear to all Cal students’ hearts. From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Fish will discuss the presence of peregrine falcons on the UC Berkeley campus in “Iconic Bird, Iconic Tower — Peregrines on the Campanile.”
Homecoming is a great time to tap into school spirit or to flex your Cal pride in full force. As we get ready for the game against our Southern California rivals, be sure to maximize your homecoming weekend and take advantage of these events the campus has to offer.