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Photo Essay: 2020 in 20 Photos

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The Grateful Dead nailed it with the album title, What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been — and by it, we mean the year 2020. The past 343 days have been bizarre, rough, inspiring, bittersweet and, perhaps more than anything, worth reflecting on. To help you ponder, here are 20 photos to illustrate the year and encapsulate Berkeley, the town and gown, in all of its 2020 glory and everything else in between.



Addison Briggs/Staff
Josh Kahen/File

Feb. 24

A little more than a month into the spring semester, students make their way around campus and settle into college life.

Ireland Wagner/File
Ireland Wagner/File

March 5

 Swaths of students flood the steps of Doe Memorial Library and other parts of campus, showing out for the UC systemwide cry for a cost-of-living adjustment for UC graduate students.

Photo of an FSM newspaper
Lisi Ludwig/Senior Staff
Sakura Cannestra/File

March 13 and May 21

With a campuswide email from Chancellor Carol Christ, March 9 marked the suspension of most in-person classes and, later, the larger question of when campus would welcome back students again. In the months after, many students left Berkeley, leaving campus with an unfamiliar emptiness.

Sunny Shen/File
David McAllister/Staff

June 6

Twelve days after the death of George Floyd on May 25, Berkeley residents stand in front of Berkeley City Hall protesting in support of the national Black Lives Matter movement. The Berkeley community joined thousands of others within the state in active demonstrations calling for systemic change.

David McAllister/Staff

July 30

Hikers return from an adventure at Mount Tamalpais in Mill Valley. Like the rest of the country, students took to the outdoors in light of quarantine.

Photo of a computer open with zoom on a desk
Sunny Shen/File

Aug. 20 

On Aug. 26, UC Berkeley launched its “semester in the cloud,” a semester initially hoped to be hybrid that later became entirely remote by the end of the summer.

Photo of the Campanile in an orange haze
Josh Kahen/File

Sept. 9

A product of the 600 fires that ravaged California this fall fire season, the sky’s apocalyptic orange tint greeted Berkeley residents the morning of Sept. 9. Continued weeks of poor air quality only intensified the reality of climate change for Californians.

Gisselle Reyes/File

Oct. 14

Almost unrecognizable, the Recreational Sports Facility transformed into one of two campus surveillance testing centers. Throughout the fall, COVID-19 testing has been offered free of cost to students, staff and faculty.

Katie Lee/Staff

Oct. 17

While some students returned to campus for the fall, the dual punch of a lack of student customers and the pandemic has left Telegraph Avenue and the rest of Berkeley looking and feeling a little lonely without its usual bustle. Fan favorites, such as Daiso and Au Coquelet, were unfortunately among the shops that closed their doors this summer and fall.

Josh Kahen/File
Lisi Ludwig/Senior Staff

Nov. 3 and  7

Ears before eyes: A chorus of pots and pans traded off among Berkeley residents Nov. 7, celebrating the long-drawn-out news declaring Joe Biden the next president of the United States. Four days earlier, Californians took to the polls to determine Donald Trump’s stay in office as well as the fate of many hot-button state propositions and local measures.

Photo of someone taking a picture of halloween decorations
Gisselle Reyes/Staff
Photo of a turkey
Maddie Fruman/Staff

Halloween and Thanksgiving

November marked the ninth month since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Zoom to the dinner table, holidays pressed on but in a variety of fashions and reimaginations of seasonal traditions.

Photo of the football game, Cal vs. Oregon
Celine Bellegarda/File
Josh Kahen/File

Dec. 3 and 5

By early December, UC Berkeley’s basketball and football teams had made a comeback. Without fans or crowds, Memorial Stadium has seen the Golden Bears twice in a season which, more than anything, has been steered by the pandemic. A reflection of the time and tradition, the women’s basketball game against Washington State was canceled due to the lack of eligible (coronavirus-free) players on Washington’s end while the football team miraculously pulled out an upset victory against powerhouse Oregon.

Photo of the Campanile against a pretty sky
Celine Bellegarda/Senior Staff

Dec. 5

The Campanile, stands under a pastel sky, waiting to ring in a new year.

Contact Lisi Ludwig at 


JANUARY 02, 2023