Homecoming events to boost your love for UC Berkeley

Gisselle Reyes/Staff

Homecoming weekend is here, and we want to make sure you are prepared to experience some of the very best that UC Berkeley has to offer. Impress your family with museum tours and exhibitions, lectures from top scientists and spirit rallies sure to pump anyone up. The cost is low (and sometimes free!) to see what makes UC Berkeley the sometimes-rated No. 1 public university in the world. Read on for some highlights to add to your homecoming itinerary. 

Museum tours and exhibitions

Campuswide celebrations offer admissions and tours to on-campus museums that are not normally accessible to the general public or the broader campus community. 

  1. Learn about the dinosaurs that once roamed California — no, we don’t mean the class of 1969! The UC Museum of Paleontology is hosting an exclusive tour of its facilities, which contain about 5 million specimens of invertebrate fossils and microfossils, ancient North American mammals, crocodilians, turtles, marine reptiles and dinosaurs that roamed California. The tours will be happening in the Valley Life Sciences Building on Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to noon. You must hurry, though, as spots are only available for 25 people!
  2. We know that you love to party! UC Berkeley students are known to be studious in every aspect of their lives, so why not study up on party culture? The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology is offering free admission for the entirety of homecoming weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Explore its latest exhibit “Pleasure, Poison, Prescription, Prayer: The Worlds of Mind-Altering Substances,” which highlights tools used to process, consume and transport mind-altering substances, such as early 20th-century opium pipes and ancient Egyptian beer cups. You’ll be a hit at cocktail parties!
  3. The Bancroft Library will have its “Egyptian Collections of UC Berkeley” on display during homecoming weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Explore the daily lives of the ancient Egyptians and learn how these artifacts came to rest at UC Berkeley. 
  4. You’ve all been to the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, but your family and friends probably haven’t because they actually have to pay for admission. But they are in luck! This homecoming weekend, BAMPFA is hosting an open house from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., free to all with a class pass. Visit the latest surrealist exhibit “Strange” and the acclaimed “San Quentin Project.”
  5. There is more to botany than the glorious redwoods on campus. This homecoming weekend, you have the opportunity to see more than 2.2 million species of plants from around the world — who knew so many existed? The University and Jepson Herbaria is offering an open house from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tours at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. will be showcasing the largest collection of its kind at a U.S. public university. 

Cal Spirit

We definitely got spirit! This weekend is jam-packed with rallies and school pride!

  1. The Cal Spirit Noon Rally kicks off early! This school pride event will take place at Sproul Plaza on Oct. 18 from noon to 1 p.m. It will feature all of your favorite UC Berkeley school pride performers: Cal Band, dance teams and, of course, Oski.
  2. See Carol Christ, the one and only, in person during the Chancellor’s Homecoming Reception at Memorial Glade on Oct. 18 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Register on-site for the event. This is the best deal because the $40 tickets include snacks and class passes, which gives you unlimited access to lectures and other campus events. It’s a mostly free weekend extravaganza!
  3. How do they do that?! You have probably wondered this as you watched pieces of paper magically form words and pictures at a Cal football game. Now you can learn the secrets during “Spirit of California — Card Stunts at Cal” event. This will be at the Maude Fife Room on the third floor of Wheeler on Oct. 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Join the UC Rally Committee’s directors of tradition and learn about UC Berkeley’s most festive creation (yes, that was invented here too)!
  4. Homecoming Rally at Memorial Glade is THE pep rally to attend. Gather ‘round with alumni, students, family and friends to see performances by Cal Band, Cal Dance and Cal Cheer. Make sure to be out on Memorial Glade on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. You might even shed a tear to hear students of years past belt out “Fight For California,” a song you’ll feel guilty about not knowing. 

Talks and lectures

  1. Climate change is such a hot topic right now. California has started burning every October seemingly like clockwork. So what can we do? The first step is knowledge, which you can acquire at the Banatao Auditorium in Sutardja Dai Hall on Oct. 18 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Why not learn more about it from UC Berkeley’s best during “Climate Change and Wildlife in California,” a special talk hosted by local scientists and researchers. 
  2. Every time I tell my Uber driver that I’m a journalist, they start warning me about producing fake news — as if we take courses in “How to Deceive the Public 101.”
    During homecoming, however, you can have an intelligent discussion about fake news, why we feel victimized by it, why we feel the need to protect others from it and whether or not we can truly spot it when we see it. Check out “Fake News. What’s New?” at the Sibley Auditorium in the Bechtel Engineering Center on Oct. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Bonus round: During homecoming weekend, the Campanile and the UC Botanical Garden waive entry fees, according to UC Berkeley’s website.

Contact Vanessa Arredondo at [email protected] .