University of California-Berkeley Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Coral

A student group that is very popular is ASUC, which is the Associated Students of University of California. This is our student government at Cal. People are elected to make change on campus. I never lived in the dorms (I am a transfer student and was not required to), but a few friends of mine did. People are generally very friendly and leave their doors open, but it is not necessary. The dorms struck me as fun in that it was a microcosm of culture and family on one floor. Athletic events are very popular here at Cal. An Olympian swimmer was just admitted to Cal, and we love our football. Football games are a big deal, especially the Big Game (the game versus Stanford every year!). The rivalry with Stanford makes for a lot of school spirit and fun. If I'm awake on Tuesday at 2am, I am studying or writing a paper! I do not stay up that late, so I must be cramming and trying to finish a paper.

Trevor

I'm going to use this section to talk a bit about the dating scene. I did the Berkeley overnight stay program to get to know the campus before actually going up there and stayed with a couple of guys in Bowles - the all-boys freshman dormitory that is said to look like Hogwarts from Harry Potter (and indeed it does - on the outside at least). On the inside it looked okay, just sort of plain and dungeon-like. Anyways, I went in there with a few others carrying our sleeping bags and backpacks. Whooh! What a walk! Uphill too! This was my first taste of what it would be like having to walk everywhere around Berkeley. What a pain in the ass! I wasn't too exhausted or anything, but what really made things miserable was that it was raining. It was raining during the orientation, and now it was raining during my overnight stay experience. Coincidence? Not really. I should have gotten the hint at that point that in Northern California - at least in the "Bay Area" (they call the area around Berkeley and San Francisco the "Bay Area") it rains ALL THE TIME. Some seasons it seems like it rains like every other day. On the days that it does not rain, it is often really muggy, cold, and depressing out - quite a change from having lived in beautiful Southern California! (Or "SoCal" as they like to abbreviate it. I guess everybody up there is too lazy to say "California," lol). I remember that on the days that I visited home after attending Berkeley, the rain would actually seem to follow me to SoCal EVERY TIME. It was so uncanny - like I had brought a curse back with me. On the warmer days, I noticed that just walking around campus in the humidity made me feel all sticky and gross - perhaps I was just used to the fantastic Southern California weather, but for me, the weather in Berkeley was not something that I found to be pleasant. Oh, some other slang words from the area that people like to use are "hella" and "sketchy." The "Asian Ghetto" is a food court near campus. "Frat Row" is a street where most fraternities are located. "Bart" is some train thing that takes you places out of town. "Telebears" is what you use to sign up for classes online. "Ninjacourses" is what you use online to compile class schedules. When people say "Cal," they are usually referring to UC Berkeley, (initially I was confused about this) not California. "Dwinelle" is a building that is said to be like a big internal maze by "Sproul Plaza.” "The Campanile" is the big clock tower. "Sather gate" is the big rustic looking gate on campus which is also by "Sproul Plaza," and "Berkeley Goggles" are, well... I'll get into that in a minute... Anyways, back to my experience. So I roll out my sleeping bags, hoping to have a nice conversation about Berkeley with these guys that I was staying with. They were all doing homework and studying ALL NIGHT. I did some all-nighters in High School, but man, from the looks of things, Berkeley was intense! They still managed to chat a bit and give us a few pointers - they were pretty nice guys from what I could tell. The first thing they told us straight off the bat was "don't choose Bowles!" They all had girls on their minds, like any college-aged group of guys. They complained that the dating scene was pretty horrid, especially for engineers (I would soon find out myself) - choosing BOWLES the ALL GUYS dorm, no doubt, would make socializing with girls even more difficult. They warned us guys about some other things like "beware of Math 1B and skip it if possible since it was the most failed freshman class (I actually ended up taking it, and both my roommate and I failed it on our first go)" and "don't take classes with Ratner, Speliotopolous, or Hilfinger" and ranted about having "Berkeley Goggles. "What are "Berkeley Goggles?" I asked. They gave a brief explanation. Essentially, in Berkeley, one has to lower their standards due to the options available and one gradually learns that people are often not as attractive there as were in one's hometown. I have my own theories for why this phenomenon exists. Perhaps Berkeley college students are too obsessive about academics to put much effort into dating or appearance, or the weather is so dreary that they don't expose their assets, or perhaps the dorm food is too fattening, or perhaps things there are so stressful that people don't exercise as much, or perhaps the more attractive people are the ones who are less likely to be super smart and get into a top-tier school like UC Berkeley, or perhaps due to the "diversity," students there find that the ethnic group that they identify with or are most attracted to is not as prevalent as was in their hometown. Whatever the reason, I found this to ring true for me as well. I didn't really care though. I had a cute girl back at home that I really cared about! Plus going to Berkeley would basically make me a badass, right? Well, my girlfriend and I broke up - I won't go into the details because it's not really too relevant here, but like any long-distance relationship, things were strained (plus she was emotionally needy and blamed me for not being around and even became suicidal at some points!!). I went to Berkeley for a year and during the Summer we got back together, but guess what - at the beginning of my second year, we broke up again. This means that virtually the entire time I was in Berkeley I was single. It was hard finding cute girls to get to know. I would say that most girls there aren't around to date or get to know guys - that's the last thing on their mind. They are there for academics and to make a difference in the world. That's great, but it's sort of hard to date if all you do is study and further your career (me included). Also, these aren't the type of girls that are easily impressed by guys or care too much about how they look (or perhaps don't have the luckiest genes) - they are really smart. It's sort of intimidating to be honest, and it's hard to fill the dominant male gender role that females are generally attracted to like that. Many of them tend to look down on you. In my systems and signals class, there were only like 3 or 4 girls in the class out of a lecture hall of several hundred!! The best place to meet girls would probably have to be in the dorms - but there, it's pretty hit-or-miss. There were about two or three sort of cute girls on my floor. Two had boyfriends and one was a lesbian, political extremist, and studied in the library 24/7. I know it sounds like I'm making a big deal over this little issue, but I believe that in today's society, college is a pretty important time for dating and finding that "special someone" to start life's journey with - afterwards, it becomes a bit difficult with work and it's harder to find places that adults congregate besides bars - plus, I don't want to wait until I'm like 30 or something where most of the available girls have been with like 10 guys already by that time, lol. Let me say that everyone has features that they find make people more cute or attractive - that just makes people human. Unfortunately, I would say that I'm attracted to people who are fit, artsy/creative, not too political, down to earth, family oriented, redheads, care about their appearance, and have freckles (I don't know why, just find it cute, lol). I'm not saying that I care only about appearance or that I couldn't love someone else, I'm just saying those things are like bonuses to me. Unfortunately, it was EXTREMELY hard finding someone who had any of those things!! Most of my friends in Berkeley had similar difficulties or just continued dating whoever they were dating before coming to Berkeley.

Trevor

I'm going to use this section to talk a bit about the dating scene. I did the Berkeley overnight stay program to get to know the campus before actually going up there and stayed with a couple of guys in Bowles - the all-boys freshman dormitory that is said to look like Hogwarts from Harry Potter (and indeed it does - on the outside at least). On the inside it looked okay, just sort of plain and dungeon-like. Anyways, I went in there with a few others carrying our sleeping bags and backpacks. Whooh! What a walk! Uphill too! This was my first taste of what it would be like having to walk everywhere around Berkeley. What a pain in the ass! I wasn't too exhausted or anything, but what really made things miserable was that it was raining. It was raining during the orientation, and now it was raining during my overnight stay experience. Coincidence? Not really. I should have gotten the hint at that point that in Northern California - at least in the "Bay Area" (they call the area around Berkeley and San Francisco the "Bay Area") it rains ALL THE TIME. Some seasons it seems like it rains like every other day. On the days that it does not rain, it is often really muggy, cold, and depressing out - quite a change from having lived in beautiful Southern California! (Or "SoCal" as they like to abbreviate it. I guess everybody up there is too lazy to say "California," lol). I remember that on the days that I visited home after attending Berkeley, the rain would actually seem to follow me to SoCal EVERY TIME. It was so uncanny - like I had brought a curse back with me. On the warmer days, I noticed that just walking around campus in the humidity made me feel all sticky and gross - perhaps I was just used to the fantastic Southern California weather, but for me, the weather in Berkeley was not something that I found to be pleasant. Oh, some other slang words from the area that people like to use are "hella" and "sketchy." The "Asian Ghetto" is a food court near campus. "Frat Row" is a street where most fraternities are located. "Bart" is some train thing that takes you places out of town. "Telebears" is what you use to sign up for classes online. "Ninjacourses" is what you use online to compile class schedules. When people say "Cal," they are usually referring to UC Berkeley, (initially I was confused about this) not California. "Dwinelle" is a building that is said to be like a big internal maze by "Sproul Plaza.” "The Campanile" is the big clock tower. "Sather gate" is the big rustic looking gate on campus which is also by "Sproul Plaza," and "Berkeley Goggles" are, well... I'll get into that in a minute... Anyways, back to my experience. So I roll out my sleeping bags, hoping to have a nice conversation about Berkeley with these guys that I was staying with. They were all doing homework and studying ALL NIGHT. I did some all-nighters in High School, but man, from the looks of things, Berkeley was intense! They still managed to chat a bit and give us a few pointers - they were pretty nice guys from what I could tell. The first thing they told us straight off the bat was "don't choose Bowles!" They all had girls on their minds, like any college-aged group of guys. They complained that the dating scene was pretty horrid, especially for engineers (I would soon find out myself) - choosing BOWLES the ALL GUYS dorm, no doubt, would make socializing with girls even more difficult. They warned us guys about some other things like "beware of Math 1B and skip it if possible since it was the most failed freshman class (I actually ended up taking it, and both my roommate and I failed it on our first go)" and "don't take classes with Ratner, Speliotopolous, or Hilfinger" and ranted about having "Berkeley Goggles. "What are "Berkeley Goggles?" I asked. They gave a brief explanation. Essentially, in Berkeley, one has to lower their standards due to the options available and one gradually learns that people are often not as attractive there as were in one's hometown. I have my own theories for why this phenomenon exists. Perhaps Berkeley college students are too obsessive about academics to put much effort into dating or appearance, or the weather is so dreary that they don't expose their assets, or perhaps the dorm food is too fattening, or perhaps things there are so stressful that people don't exercise as much, or perhaps the more attractive people are the ones who are less likely to be super smart and get into a top-tier school like UC Berkeley, or perhaps due to the "diversity," students there find that the ethnic group that they identify with or are most attracted to is not as prevalent as was in their hometown. Whatever the reason, I found this to ring true for me as well. I didn't really care though. I had a cute girl back at home that I really cared about! Plus going to Berkeley would basically make me a badass, right? Well, my girlfriend and I broke up - I won't go into the details because it's not really too relevant here, but like any long-distance relationship, things were strained (plus she was emotionally needy and blamed me for not being around and even became suicidal at some points!!). I went to Berkeley for a year and during the Summer we got back together, but guess what - at the beginning of my second year, we broke up again. This means that virtually the entire time I was in Berkeley I was single. It was hard finding cute girls to get to know. I would say that most girls there aren't around to date or get to know guys - that's the last thing on their mind. They are there for academics and to make a difference in the world. That's great, but it's sort of hard to date if all you do is study and further your career (me included). Also, these aren't the type of girls that are easily impressed by guys or care too much about how they look (or perhaps don't have the luckiest genes) - they are really smart. It's sort of intimidating to be honest, and it's hard to fill the dominant male gender role that females are generally attracted to like that. Many of them tend to look down on you. In my systems and signals class, there were only like 3 or 4 girls in the class out of a lecture hall of several hundred!! The best place to meet girls would probably have to be in the dorms - but there, it's pretty hit-or-miss. There were about two or three sort of cute girls on my floor. Two had boyfriends and one was a lesbian, political extremist, and studied in the library 24/7. I know it sounds like I'm making a big deal over this little issue, but I believe that in today's society, college is a pretty important time for dating and finding that "special someone" to start life's journey with - afterwards, it becomes a bit difficult with work and it's harder to find places that adults congregate besides bars - plus, I don't want to wait until I'm like 30 or something where most of the available girls have been with like 10 guys already by that time, lol. Let me say that everyone has features that they find make people more cute or attractive - that just makes people human. Unfortunately, I would say that I'm attracted to people who are fit, artsy/creative, not too political, down to earth, family oriented, redheads, care about their appearance, and have freckles (I don't know why, just find it cute, lol). I'm not saying that I care only about appearance or that I couldn't love someone else, I'm just saying those things are like bonuses to me. Unfortunately, it was EXTREMELY hard finding someone who had any of those things!! Most of my friends in Berkeley had similar difficulties or just continued dating whoever they were dating before coming to Berkeley.

Emily

There are a few different groups that claim to be the most popular on campus, depending on how it's measured. The Asian American Association attracts a huge number of students, asian and other. The two big political groups—campus Democrats and Republicans—have a lot of members as well. Other popular clubs include business associations and charity events. The various musical groups are also popular; the members of the UC Men's Octet, our men's a capella group, are basically rock stars. They're probably more respected than the football players, who are definitely popular in their own right. Myself, I've been really involved in CALPIRG, an activist group on campus where I met my closest friends.

Alyssa

There is a strong Greek life presence on campus of fraternities and sororities. Many first and second years spend their time on Greek Row on the weekends. A Capella groups are also popular on campus. There are many student groups with a focus on identity be it race, sexual orientation, political views and so on. I worked as an RA on campus, and prefer to spend time exploring Berkeley and San Francisco.

Marston

There are hundreds of organizations on campus. All you have to do is think about what you want to do, and more than likely, it exists. I am involved with the credit union on campus. I see myself in finance in a few years, and have taken the steps to begin a practical approach to my experience. Students leave their doors open if the floor is social. My floor did, and it encouraged a very friendly atmosphere. Athletic events and guest speakers abound, while theater has a presence, but much less so. I'm never awake at 2 AM on a Tuesday. These classes will take something out of you, so you'd better get some sleep! People party every weekend, excluding finals and midterms seasons. Fraternities and sororities have a presence, and you will find most people partying at fraternity houses. If you don't like drinking, you can go to the movies, hang out with your club members, go to San Francisco, and so many cool niche places.

Lauren

There are so many things to get involved in that not one particularly sticks out to me as most popular. I personally am involved in greek life, intramural volleyball, the Republican club, and the Relay for Life planning committee. Greek life is pretty important to the social scene at Berkeley. The frats have parties every weekend and its usually pretty hard to get in if you're not a member of the greek community yourself. So if you want to party, especially if you're a guy, I would strongly suggest going greek. If you're on an athletic team, that will also suffice. Cal athletic teams act as their own little fraternity and sorority houses. There is a baseball house, a crew house, a water polo house, etc, and they all throw parties. The athletes form their own little community since they spend so much time together. They all become really close. If you're not a greek or an athlete, you will probaly be going to smaller apartment parties. Or you can go to parties at the co-ops. Co-ops are really cheap student housing. The co-ops are an entirely different social scene that I personally am not too familiar with. But from my understanding, they consist mainly of of: drugs, orgies, and hippies. If you're not looking to party, there is plenty of other activities to do!! I have friends from the dorms freshman year who never drink. You can go to movies, poetry slams, plays, etc. The coolest thing is that we have San Francisco so close which is only a bart ride away. If you can't find anything to do in Berkeley there is a whole other huge city that awaits you.

Michelle

SSC (Ski and Snowboard Club), UCCE (University of California Choral Ensembles), Club sports, Asian clubs, Co-ops, Greek life, ASUC (Associated Students of the University of California, who put on many free events and concerts), religious clubs, other ethnic clubs, Dance clubs, and many, many, many, many others.

Davin

It's the only thing I can vouch for. I started up with Wushu (Kung Fu) my first semester here, and it quickly became my family. While some of my dorm-mates might have partied on weekends, I found practice much more enjoyable. There are a lot of on-campus events: concerts, sports, performances. It isn't hard to get involved.

Rachel

student government is big here, as are other political clubs. the campus is very political! Athletics and rally groups are also quite popular.

Sherry

Political/social changes.

Alanah

There are so many groups on campus for so many different things it is hard to rank what is popular and what isn't. There are several philanthropy, culture, sports, and business clubs. If you are into something chances are you can find a club on campus with likeminded people, and if it doesn't already exist, I encourage you to start your own. During football season school spirit is at its highest and on game days the whole city is blue and gold. Greek life is pretty big here, but there is no real hierarchy of greeks to non-greeks. I met my close friends in our dorm, the socializing generally revolves around all the delicious restaurants around Berkeley. Off campus I love shopping in San Francisco, checking out the Berkeley Art Museum, and lounging in Willard Park.

.

While the Greek community and athletic events (football particularly) seem to draw the biggest crowds (on game day there is a constant stream of blue-and-gold garbed spectators traveling from the downtown Berkeley BART station to Memorial Stadium), "popularity" is relative in that it depends on who you spend your time with. Because I am not involved in the Greek community, it is a quiet aspect of campus life for me, even though on weekends frat row and most of campus' south side (where the dorms are located) are a buzz of activity. It's like one big party some of the time. However, the later it gets, and the farther you get from Berkeley's south side, the quieter Berkeley grows. Still, there are all kinds of events, though, from Cal Performances, which features orchestral and theatrical works, to The Holloway Poetry Reading Series, to Story Hour, to Cal TV and Berkeley Art Museum fundraising parties, readings, exhibitions, and get-togethers.

Patricia

Asian American Associan, Circle K, PBL, the list of clubs to join go on and on. walk on upper sproul and ull leave with a handful of flyers recruiting you to frats and clubs. there is no shortage here. dorms' social levels depend on the floor but most are pretty social and well bonded. people leave their doors open, its all fun. parties on weekends and sometimes even weekdays, but if youre not a drinker, dont worry theres still plenty to do. religious groups always have events, so if youre christian, join one of those and they will keep you entertained for most of the week for if not, hit up downtown berkeley, there are theaters, even ones that show indie movies, excellent restaurants, and much moree

Andy

You will not run out of things to do or ever be bored. There are clubs and organizations for everything. But some people are so focused on their studies, that they do not get out much and they may have trouble meeting others.

Rory

If you're premed be prepared to not have a social life.

James

There are plenty of student organizations and activities both on campus and nearby in the Bay Area. Being in a university with tens of thousands of students as well as next to a liberal metropolitan area gives you more options than you can probably explore in 4 years. But don't let that stop you.

Ryan

My social life was limited primarily to hanging out with other grad students, but since I lived in the co-ops, I was "exposed" to lots of undergrad social events. I'd say living in a co-op is great if you want to have an opportunity to have people around almost all the time. There were always people hanging out--studying, watching t.v., talking over dinner, etc. Privacy is harder to come by, though. There are Greek houses on campus that do lots of socializing, as well as campus events. The weather is conducive to hanging out on the lawns and steps all around campus, so that's another place were people tend to hook up. There are also numerous eateries and coffee shops within walking distance (and there's a campus shuttle if you're not inclined to walk) where people meet up. My fellow grad students and I frequented some of the great Thai, Korean, and Indian restaurants in the neighborhood.

Jordan

The most popular groups/organizations/clubs on campus are...um...I can't think of any. I guess the most popular team would be the football team. Yes, students in dorms often leave their doors open. Athletic events are popular, particularly among certain student communities, like those in the Greek system. There are tons of interesting lectures/films/musical events happening nightly at Berkeley, but many of these events are not that popular. Most of the events I went to (with the exception of musical events and the occasional big-name political commentator) had low student attendance, which was sad. The dating scene seemed to be pretty nonexistent. Most of the people I knew who were in relationships had met their significant other before coming to Berkeley or outside of school. The dating scene is simply a symptom of the larger awkward social climate at Berkeley; it often takes people a few drinks to interact with each other and be friendly. 2am on a Tuesday? I'm reading/working on a paper/writing a reading response. Some people party pretty frequently, while others not so much...it depends on the person. Like I said before, Berkeley is a "choose your own adventure" school, and if a person wants to party, the opportunities are there, mostly from Thursday night until Saturday night. Parties range from co-op themed parties and frat parties to your everyday (or "everynight"), red-cup-style house party. A Saturday night without drinking could be spent doing something in San Francisco, seeing a movie, going to a concert, going out to dinner, hanging out at home in your pajamas (and watching a $1 movie rental from Elephant Pharmacy), going to Yogurt Park, going to a party and not drinking, or, unfortunately studying.

Chris

Greek life is pretty popular, but i'm not a huge fan of it. Dorms are a great idea for the first year as it forces you to be social and make some really close friends right from the start. There are always concerts, free movies, and different kinds of shows on campus during the weekends that are either really cheap or free. Footballs games are also very fun, even when our team loses.

sara

i met my closest friends in my building. they are the people i see the most so i get to know them faster,then i meet friends through them and so on. most people keep their doors open unless it is finals or midterms week. thursday night is the night that most of the people i know go out and party, thats when the halls are empty and the frats are full. the co-op parties are way better though. there is not much to do besides drinking, everything here closes really early, you can however, go into san frasisco it is only a bart ride away.

Jerry

Again, the campus is large enough that you can find groups that suit your interests. Go to school-run events like "Caltopia" to see all the clubs that set up tables.

Felicia

Mission District is the best place in the city to go dancing. Laid back and everyone is friendly and eager to meet new people.

Dylan

Berkeley is pretty boring in regards to nightlife. If you want a good night of dancing, drinking and crazy fun then you head to the city. Basically the hotspot here is Triple Rock on thursdays where they serve their own brew of beer for a very cheap price and people flock. Mostly going out in Berkeley will consist of bars on Shattuck. There is a very cool pool hall on shattuck where you can share some drinks and play some billiards, or just do one of the two. In Berkeley the party scene is mainly small parties where you have to know someone to go... you cant just walk around and show up to parties (like in UCSB or UCSD). Frat parties are okay, but after a couple of times they were just annoying because some of the guys there are just gross. The co-ops will have some large themed parties now and then but I find them flooded with freshman who are just ready to get plastered and be obnoxious.

Devin

Students can be sociable (a wide range...). Football games are a must and that is the biggest social event in my opinion on Berkeley. People are up late in my hall, we hang out with each other. However it is difficult to get off campus because people often have to study or do homework. I go to SF once in a while for a change in scenery to go shopping or to just walk around. I party a couple times a month at the frats but there isn't much else to do on Fri/Sat nights that doesn't involve partying/drinking.

Rosette

i chose Cal over Stanford not only because i wanted a challenge and i wanted to earn my degree, but also because of the environment. Berkeley is alive - there is no denying that. we are so close to SF and our town has so much life and character. if you are bored in Berkeley, you must be a boring person.

Ryan

it's great to see some awesome speakers and respectable and prominent people come to visit Berkeley. also, i met my closest friends from clubs/organizations, specifically christian fellowships. if i am awake at 2 am, i am usually on my computer surfing the web or reading for the next day's class. i do not drink so Saturday nights are when i just hang out with friends. we watch movies, go karaoking, have dinner, or just hang out in someone's apartment.

Kendall

I'm a writer at the Daily Cal and a writer for a campus publication called THE WIRE. I used to be involved with the Undergraduate Mass Communications Association. My dorm experience was amazing - my entire floor was friendly and so, yes, we did leave our doors open. But that's subjective to the floor. Athletic events are extremely popular, especially football, although I personally don't go to the games. i went freshman year, because the tickets were free, but I prefer basketball. The dating scene is a joke. People don't "date" - they hook up or latch onto each other. I blame facebook, alcohol, and the general decline of romanticism. I love going to concerts.

Mary

You can be as social as you want to be. Only the freshman live in the dorms; after that it's up to you and your friends to have fun. Football games are a big deal but frats aren't. As a Chemical Engineer we mostly study on the weekend, or go to co-op parties. The co-ops are more popular than the frats. A lot of bands and speakers and events come to Berkeley because it's so well known so there is always something to do.

Jordan

My friends and I go to shows and house parties and get super fucked up. It's the life.

Julia

Pretty much the only lasting friends I've made have been from the dorms and University Chorus. I lived in Unit 3 for my first two years, and I had some really great floormates both years, several of whom I still keep in touch with. Note: leave your door open, and they will come. My roommate and I got a lot of visitors simply because we kept our door open all year. This could have been bad if our floormates sucked, but they didn't. I'm pretty sure I had the best RA in the history of RAs my freshman year, and we still get together to catch up from time to time. I also had the good fortune of being paired with an awesome roommate freshman year, and she's become one of my dearest friends. University Chorus was the only extra curricular I've really participated in at Cal, and it's been such a positive experience. Everyone is there because they love singing choral music, and it gave me a chance to meet like-minded people who share one of my passions. I regret that I never got the chance to sing in one of the a cappella groups on campus, because I LOVE them. I highly recommend that prospective students who like vocal music should look into groups like the UC Men's Octet, the Golden Overtones, and Artists in Resonance. Watching these groups sing at Sather Gate are one of my fondest memories of Cal. Language classes are another great place to meet people. Well, Japanese was, anyway. You spend five days a week with the same people, and are basically obligated to spend the class period talking. You have group skits, which allows you to get to know some of your classmates a little better. The senseis are super encouraging and adorable, which helps create an even more comfortable and social setting. As a freshman, you have to take advantage of free home games! I still don't get how to play football, but I remember having such a blast sitting in the student section and cheering on our team just the same. Even if you aren't into sports, you'll love the experience of the frenzy. The Cal Band is also pretty prolific, and they always put together an awesome halftime show. I hear Cal also has a good basketball team, and the ticket prices for those games are pretty resonable. Other sporting events, like gymnastic and swim meets are free, if I remember correctly. All good things to look into. If you're a fan of free or cheap entertainment, you'll love all shows put on by student groups and performing arts departments. There are theater groups like Theater Rice, Theater Charity, and BareStage that put on skits and plays and have fairly cheap ticket prices. The Dance department puts on a free show each semester in Hearst Gym. The Music department has free concerts at noon in Hertz Hall. On Fridays at Wheeler Auditorim, Superb has cheap showings of movies that are no longer running in regular theatres. There's stuff like that going on all the time; you just have to look into it. Again, if you're into SWAG, don't miss out on the vendors that fill the RSF for Caltopia. This event, held at the beginning of each fall term, is a great opportunity to stock up on free office supplies and snacks. Even though this event is generally for freshmen, I never miss it. It's the reason I haven't had to buy a single pen or pencil since coming to Cal. Every year during finals week a bunch of students go streaking through the library at midnight. Don't let it catch you unawares. I found out about this tradition when I got caught in the corridor between Moffitt and Doe libraries as this mass of sweaty, smelly, naked kids came running through.

Torry

-There are so many organizations and teams it is hard to say! I am just going to say Cal Band, Rally Comm, and the Asian American Business Association. Plus all athletic teams, of course. -Cal Band is amazing, but a big time commitment. I am so glad I did it. -I never lived in dorms -Athletic events like football, basketball and Rugby are very popular, the others have scarce attendance. More people come when we are playing Stanfurd. -I met my closest friends through band and through classes. -If I am awake at 2pm on a Tuesday I am either cramming for an exam (because I never stay up that late to do homework), or goofing off watching tv/hanging out with friends. -Too many to name! Big game week is a big deal though. -Partying? I think it happens more in the fall because of football. Hard to say, i don't party. -To me, Frats and sororities are not important at all, but for others they may be. -Last weekend I had some friends visit from my hometown. I showed them the campus (including the tree people and memorial stadium) and we also went to San Francisco for a day. -You can do a lot on a Saturday night that doesn't involve drinking. Go get food, stay in with friends, go to SF...i wish more people would realize this. -Off campus: shopping, eating at any of Berkeley's awesome eateries, go to SF, hiking, swimming, exploring the city...so many things...

Sherry

Berkeley is a school that never sleeps. From “chalking sidewalks” early in the morning to Taiko drum practices which run late at night, there are student groups ranging from the Freshman Sophomore Business Club to Danceworx holding meetings and events at every hour of the day. While most clubs and student organizations hold events on campus, there is the thriving night-life of fraternities and sororities off campus as well. A stroll down ‘frat-row’ on any weekend will turn-up more than a few themed frat-parties, planned to help fellow students distress or just to get the partying out of their systems. Thus, Greek life is a huge part of the academic and social life at Berkeley, with more than 30% of the student population at Berkeley involved with the Greek system. Although exclusive, benefits of the Greek system include guaranteed housing, a strong support system, and a great way to network and meet alumni. However, if social fraternities or sororities aren’t your thing, there are professional fraternities and sororities as well. Although professional fraternities and sororities do not offer housing for its members, many of the other benefits are included. Housing for students is generally dispersed through five residence halls. However unlike other college campuses, the Berkeley campus does not include on-campus housing sites. This is one aspect of Berkeley that I really enjoy, because it removes definitive campus boundaries, and instead, extends the Berkeley campus into the surrounding neighborhood. This unique characteristic of the Berkeley residence halls allows for greater interaction between students and the surrounding neighborhood, further incorporating the Berkeley community into the college campus. Although some students might find the neighborhood intimidating, as part of the Berkeley city community, learning to respect and interact with the diverse members of the surrounding neighborhood is a priceless experience. The residence halls are a wonderful way to meet people and a great transition between life at home and life on your own, and the wide range of residential options available to students takes into consideration academic vocations, studying habits, and social habits. While there are the residence halls infamous for residents big on partying, there are also residential options directed towards those who prefer studying on the weekends. For them, there are the options of the dormitories further detached from campus, which allow for quiet and privacy, or the entirely substance-free building in one of the residential units where any sort of alcohol or drug is prohibited. Now, if anyone knows anything about college students, it is their largely abnormal sleep cycle. Just as the Telegraph shops are closing up and the restaurants are cleaning up, the night life of the Berkeley students begins. Even at odd hours in the morning, you are bound to find people relaxing after a long night of studying in the main lounge, or crazed-midterm-crammers stressing out in their rooms. For those who develop midnight cravings, or were too busy to grab a bite to eat for dinner, late night meals are available at the dining commons until as late (or as early) as two o’clock in the morning. Many of the neighborhood diners are open twenty-four hours a day to cater to hungry college students as well.

Kendall

berkeley has so many things going on at once.

Evan

Joining Theater for Charity was one of the better decisions I made toward the end of my stay at Berkeley. I did a lot of extracurricular stuff, a lot of writing clubs, etc., and they were great, they pretty much made me who I am. On the flip side, I am no where near as good at Tekken Tag Tournament as I could have been.

Bob

Cycling: Take a bike ride in the Berkeley hills or in the city. Berkeley is filled with bike paths that make it very easy to get around. COOPs: Check out the COOPs as a place to live after your freshman year (www.USCA.org). It is communal living with your fellow students. It's a great time. Berkeley has many other great things: Restaurants, Greek Theatre, Marina, Tilden Park, discovery, etc.

James

I'm in a Christian fellowship group, but I don't want to mention our name because I, unlike the rest of my fellow members, am a jerk. I don't want to give you an unfair representation of my group. My fellowship has its share of problems, but for the most part, we're dedicated to knowing God through our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Yeah, most students seem to leave their doors open. (I didn't. Why? Because this one time, this drunk guy came into our room to ask if it's okay to put water on a laptop keyboard.) Football games are crazy. Sometimes, concerts at the Greek are crazy. (REM + The National + Modest Mouse this spring! YES!!) If I'm awake at 2 A.M. on a Tuesday, I'm probably cramming for a test on Wednesday. Wow, I can't believe I'm being asked this question: "What can you do on a Saturday night that doesn’t involve drinking?" People are pretty uncreative to have to resort to getting drunk to have fun. Meh. One man's opinion. Going to San Francisco is awesome. There's lots of stuff to see and do: Pier 39, Union Square, Chinatown, Yerba Buena Gardens, the Exploratorium, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, Haight and Ashbury, and lots of good food. The best part is the public transportation: you can pretty much get anywhere you want via BART and MUNI.

Anton

The Greek system and the Co ops are huge. The student government is popular. The frats and sororities are filled with nice people, contrary to the negative sentiment toward them from the rest of the community. Sure, both include some drunk rapists, as does every apartment and other living establishment. They are important in that they run the student govt and connect many people. I was a Co Op kid. I was a hippie and I ate vegan dinners and lived with a bunch of people that thought that they were unique. I made friends for life, and did not catch a single dangerous disease or STD. Do not fear the co ops. The football team is really popular, as is the rugby team. I do not like sports. The dating scene...I am a heterosexual male and was very satisfied with the hedonistic exploits that are possible here. In fact, there was just not enough time to ask everyone I wanted out, largely because I kept getting girlfriends I wanted to stick with. If you want a smart girlfriend, you will find one. A cute one, too, don't let these rumors of Berkeley goggles screw you up. The campus got cuter every day, and now that I am back in Socal I still find the girls I found cute in Berkeley attractive. Girls often complain about the lack of hot guys. They are probably right, but that's because our guys are smart. If you date a hot guy from SF, you will probably bitch about how dumb and pointless he is. Yes, I speak from experience. If you are gay, then you are envied for the sheer joy that is the gay life here. The rumors that SF is gay are usually understatements. I met my closest friends through extracurriculars, co ops, and dorms. My dearest friend I met on the first day of class, and I love her to this day. Never ever ever not talk to someone you find will listen to you, because the energy that unites human beings in friendship is beyond your understanding. If I am up at 2AM on a Tuesday, I either have a paper due at 9 am, or I am at a party. Often I am trying to get food at 1:30, and get out of the line as the last place closes at 2. If I fail to get real food, I am at kingpin. Probability of drunkenness- 70%. What did I do last weekend? If I were at Cal, I probably worked in the morning, then did things I do not want to attach my name to the rest of the day. Or cuddled my girlfriend, who purred drunkenly in torn fishnets. Sunday night was party night, because no fool goes to Monday morning class after freshman year.

christopher

many student groups are popular but at varying levels of involvement. A student can be a member of one hundred student groups but what really matters is the activities which require a lot of time and commitment. which groups that a student is involved in largely constitutes their social circles for the most part. This is a partying town as much as it's a studying town. Parties occur on tuesdays, thursdays, fridays, saturdays, and sometimes sundays. studying occurs everyday except friday i would say. All last weekend I rehearsed with my dance company in san francisco.

Josiah

Q. If you're awake at 2am on a Tuesday, what are you doing? A. browsing the internet. Q. What can you do on a Saturday night that doesn't involve drinking? A. go to san francisco and drink.

Lisa

The most popular groups and organizations on campus seem to be those that are either racially/ethincally affiliated, or those that are political. I was involved with a Sexual Health Education Group run out of the Berkeley Student Health Center. It was a great experience. We provided students with the opportunity to get their sexual health questions answered by means of appointments or drop-ins. We also did outreaches to interested groups. Stedents in the dorms do tend to leave their doors open when they're in their rooms and not studying. There is great interest in just about all activites UC Berkeley offers, including atheletics, guest speakers, and theater. The dating scene seems to be good. I met my former boyfriend in the dorms and dated him for over two years. Many of my friends are happy in their relationships. If I was awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I would be hanging out with my roommates probably. Every year there is a big bonfire before the Big Game against Stanford. Also, during finals week there is a "naked run" through the undergraduate library in which people literally run naked through the building, and people come to watch. People party every weekend (Thursday through Saturday usually). I don't think fraternities and sororities are very important, but I guess to some people they are. They're kinda lame in my opinion. Last weekend I hung out at the campus pub with friends, had a friend come over to hang out, and studied because I had two midterms this week. Next weekend should be more fun, because I'm done with midterms for now. On a Saturday night, you can hang out with friends, go to the movies, go to the city...you can pretty much do anything and have a fun time without drinking.

Allison

Many students here live in the dorms their first year. I am so glad that I did because I met my group of friends I have to this day. I've known people who hated the dorms because they found it overwhelming, because they hated their roommate, and hated the small spaces. I, however, got extremely close with MANY people as a result of the dorms. Living in the dorms a second year is usually for nerds...because who would want to pay for an overpriced room when you could find a cool place to live in the city of Berkeley? In my third year, I moved into the University Student Coops, which are AMAZING! They are houses varying in size - close to Berkeley's campus - that emulate the cooperative funky ethos of Berkeley. I lived in the largest coop, which was an old hotel converted into a coop. The housing in cheap, the people are fun. It is a place of belonging and a place to collectively make decisions about the house. Also, everybody knows coops have the best parties...Coops have events like house bbqs, casinos night, room to room parties, bounce houses, intramurral sports teams.

Ryan

Asian-Christian Clubs are the most dominant clubs on campus. I am not asian or christian, therefore i do not belong to a club. I left my door open, but that's because I was dealing drugs. Athletic events are too popular. What other events? Dating usual occurs between a man and a woman when they love each other. At least that was what my parents told me right after I got my girlfriend preggers. Too little, too late *sigh*. I met my closest friends in the dorms. Probably have sex at 2 am on Tuesdays (sex on tuesdays, duh). My birthday is traditionally every year. 12.16.1985. Thanks for asking. People party a lot. You just have to find them. Frats and Sors are not important. In fact, I'm disgusted that I even wasted the time to type about them. Last weekend: Studied, got hella wasted, smoked too much, drank too much coffee, made breakfast. I cannot do anything on Saturday that is not involved in drinking. What if I got dehydrated. What do you mean 'what do you do off campus'? How do I turn campus on and off?

Royce

Berkeley is situated in the middle of a cultural hub (Greek Theater!) and is very close to San Francisco and offers plenty of opportunities for theater performances and concerts. Last weekend, I attended "A Cappella Against AIDS Benefit Concert" and will be attending the University Symphony's spring concert this Friday. Other than performances, many clubs host social nights throughout the week. Football season is very important during the fall semester, and school spirit is apparent whenever Stanford is involved. Berkeley offers many opportunities for athletes. Guest speakers come to speak at Berkeley often, from academicians to politicians to movie stars to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Sometimes these events are advertised; more often they're not. Some effort is required to stay in the loop. The Berkeley bubble can be quite powerful. Greek life on campus is not very prominent, except for rush season. The most prominent of fraternities and sororities are the pre-professional ones, which speak to Berkeley students' concern about job security and the future. Many of these pre-professional organizations hold forums and fairs throughout the year for employer-potential employee networking opportunities.

Devin

There are enough people on this campus that just about anything is popular with somebody, and you could easily go through your college career without *really* noticing. I'm not really the right person to ask, unfortunately, as I've done most things here on my own terms; I was part of the Men's Chorale for a while, I've hung out with the mock trial team and the writers of the humor magazine, I know less about the Greek scene than my friends but have been to most of the co-ops on campus, I've managed to totally miss out on the extremely popular athletic scene here and been just fine for it, I've taught classes and taken classes from other undergraduates on everything from hip-hop dance to medieval Chinese epics, and each time I've come back to my own personal passions. The campus is big enough that you're able to do that. That's all I wanted -- the space to do my own thing, and the opportunities present to do it in all kinds of ways -- and I got it. And if you can't find it in Berkeley, there's always San Francisco, man. It's freaking fifteen to twenty minutes on the subway. Awesome. If you see a tall effusive white guy, a shorter slender white guy (or is he Asian?), a Korean guy in a sweet Admiral Ackbar hat, and a middle-aged Indian father of two (or so he appears) freestyle rapping on the BART, though, it's probably my friends and I. You should say hello. And join in. You'll be better than me at it, I assure you. We're on Youtube, though, you know.

Mary Claire

In my experience, people don't leave their dorm room doors open. It depends where you live, though. If you live in a suite or mini-suite, you are more isolated so those buildings tend to be less social. If you are a freshman and want to live somewhere social, I would suggest the Clark Kerr campus. It's really easy to meet people there, but it's far from campus. Football games are really popular, and people get pretty into them. There are a lot of keg parties at frats beforehand, and things tend to get crazy. The town is pretty crazy on game days. Greek life is only big for the people involved. They have lots of parties and invites and exchanges. People tend to get ridiculously drunk and often do stupid things they regret the next day. It's pretty much just a social network for people that like to party and get drunk. The Asian fraternity/sorority scene is a bit different, though. Rush is REALLY intense for girls. I've heard of pledges having to line up and strip down to their underwear only to have the guys in the asian frats tell them what's wrong with their bodies. Everyone I know who's gone through it says that it's horrifying and traumatic. A lot of people stay up late on weeknights. They're either studying or procrastinating. If you don't want to drink on a Saturday night, you can go out to dinner or to a movie. A lot of people are tight with their floormates, so sometimes a floor activity will be planned. You can take the bus to Emeryville, which is like 20-30 mins. away to go to CPK or P.F. Changs, go shopping, or see a movie. You can also take the BART into San Francisco. There are often concerts and shows in the area, so that's a pretty popular thing to do.

Ryan

not sure. movement seems pretty happening. some leave their doors open. i've only been to football games--crazy. only 1 concert-joshua bell @ zellerbach was amazing. i met my closest friends at church and through various classes/living arrangements. i've only been awake once at that time--it was due to prepping my board for a trip. i went to 1/2 moon bay last weekend. usually cooking and doing hw or playing guitar hero can be done w/o inebriation.

Ryan

I personally think the coop system is one of UCB's greatest assets. The BSC, as it is called, is comprised of about 20 rooming houses, which in total house about 1000 people in turn. Each house largely makes its own decisions by vote and has its own feel, but food supply and general house maintenance is run by a central office. The houses range from Acid Trip to 1950s Women's College, from 11 to 160 inhabitants. In a typical semester, a house will throw two parties, one open to coopers, the other to everyone. Everyone comes and has a good time. A coop party is the perfect alternative to a boozy fratfest. Most everyone in a coop meets people in other coops and its a big network of people. It's not for everyone, but people who are there are happy. Basically, if you live in a coop, you know of a party to go to every weekend, and have people to go with. But its definitely a no-pressure situation - if you wanna stay home and study, you do. That's the other thing - a coop feels more home-y than a rented apartment you can't paint your favorite color. You can amble around in your pajamas if you want. You can make cookies at 3 AM and find someone to eat them with you. Also, its not hard to ignore the frats/sororities - they don't monopolize the social scene by any means.

BenH

The most popular student groups, for me, were the not the best. There are so many organizations, and so many opportunities to develop your own organization, that there is no reason to feel left out. I witnessed the genesis of Berkeley's now prolific student filmmaking club and an arts/culture journal specializing in semi-serious discussion of popular/semi-alternative culture. I can't say the same for the dating scene because I avoided that for the most part, but I will say that it's an option - maybe an alternative to the uber-extracurricular life.

Zoe

I feel like there is a social scene for every type of person at Berkeley.