Best of Berkeley: Campus

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Best Library: C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Overlooking the verdant landscape of Memorial Glade, it's impossible to ignore the majestic exterior of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library. Opened only in 2008, it is the newest addition to Cal's already extensive system of libraries. Built with elegant bronze screens and a minimalist form, the building boasts a modern aesthetic when contrasted with the more classical Doe Library from across the Glade. But for all its novelty, the East Asian Library contains some of the world's oldest manuscripts, maps, and records in its roughly 900,000 volumes of original Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other East Asian documents.

Sadly, I lack the skills to read any of those records. But a knowledge of East Asian languages isn't necessary to appreciate the library. There's sofas too, and a spotlight. It's the perfect place to nap or peruse a periodical, but why would you? The East Asian Library is perfectly equipped for the more studious person but the view of the study nook can only be so pleasing. Instead, the library's sophisticated design and expansive contents are enough of an excuse to visit a building that manages to meld both intellect and beauty.

-Jessica Pena

Best Place to Have Sex: Top of the Campanile

I had underestimated you, Best of Berkeley voters. Your usual taste in pizza, ice cream and Italian food made you seem like a bunch of, well, freshmen. But for deeming the top of the Campanile the best place to have sex in Berkeley, I applaud you (and your adventurous lovers.)

At first thought, the Campanile seems like an absurd setting for fornication. But I guess it's the pride and glory (and phallus) of UC Berkeley. (You can see it from the Golden Gate Bridge!)

How many people even have access to it? Maybe this explains why anyone would want the elevator attendant. Or maybe the Learn to Play the Sather Tower Carillon Decal is simply a front for the Sex With a View Society. Bunch of musical nymphos.

But truly, sex atop the Campanile has to be more about the grandeur of the act. I like to imagine our suspects bent over with the whole world spread out before them. This is what it's all about. Being young and naked and having sex at the top of a bell tower. Bravo, voters. I hope to meet one of you some day. You've reached the pinnacle of Berkeley romance.

-Hannah Jewell

Best Place to Print: Moffitt Library Microcomputer Facility

The microcomputer facilities on campus are quite a useful resource for printing on the go, and the one in Moffitt Library, being as it is quite large and has the most extensive hours, is undeniably the best. For six cents to print a single-sided sheet and nine cents for a double-sided sheet, you can avoid owning a printer and still easily make hard copies of all of your assignments for a couple dollars a semester. Credit can be loaded onto your Cal 1 Debit card and the printers automatically run double-sided pages, so you can save paper without any extra effort on your part.

But there is another reason why the place is so well loved. It so happens that the computers down in the bowels of Moffitt come loaded with Microsoft Word, complete with spelling and grammar checkers in many different languages. A little rusty on your conjugations? What about your noun genders? Handled. Or at least rendered a little better. It's not magic (ask any computational linguist why). Nonetheless, the Moffitt Microcomputer Facility is likely to serve your printing needs well.

-Valerie Woolard

Best Place to Relieve Yourself: Doe Library, 3rd Floor Men's

You might ask why this is even a category. Aren't all bathrooms created equal? Were they not all endowed with the same stalls, urinals, sinks and Cal-emblazoned soap dispensers?

But then you stand inside room 306 of Doe Library, unzip your fly and look to your left - you see the American flag unfurling above California Hall, flapping in the wind as you gaze through large, schoolhouse-style windows. You realize that, "No, not all bathrooms are created equal."

The rickety doorknob provides a good enough hint to the humble interior. There are no marble bathtubs or velvet armchairs here, but America was not founded on pamper and luxury.

The pale walls, tinged with the yellowing stains of time and mildew, speak to an era of boarding school austerity. Unlucky freshmen may have very well once been hung from the out-of-place coat hooks which adorn the west wall. And they, perhaps, helplessly stared up at the sky-blue paint above the stalls, wishing they could instead rest their eyes on the view of the bay behind them.

-Jack Wang

Best Campus Eccentric: Yoshua

On May 21st, Dave Temple - known to most as Yoshua - will be planted on Sproul Plaza, just as he has been nearly every day since 1977.

For the unenlightened: Temple stands with a small, smudgy blackboard that enumerates - in simple script - the days left (today, 37) until there will be none left to count.

With a free arm, he thrusts Judgment Day flyers under the noses of hapless passers-by and under the other, cradles a battered copy of the Bible, sticky and duct-taped together. A yellowed horoscope is part of the clipped collage that makes up its decidedly (un-holy) front cover.

Apart from a brief foray into law and a jaunt during which the preacher was pummeled from the University of Arizona ("The Wildcats didn't like me much," he admitted), Temple has been a longtime fixture of the UC Berkeley campus' main thoroughfare. He's so highly recognized that he was used to demonstrate a "salient exemplar" of evangelism by GSIs in Linguistics 105.

While Yoshua has been taunted, knocked out and spat on, he said he will keep spitting his tradition - however cracked - until the end of the world.

-Noor Al-Samarrai

Best Professor: Robert Reich

It's easy to see why Professor Reich, of the Goldman School of Public Policy, would scoop this distinction.

There are so many things to love about him. He's an old-fashioned storyteller, and his lectures are always something of a performance. Often he will take on a devil's advocate character and shout at an unsuspecting student, arms flailing, eyes wide. He can draw a laugh making fun of himself, his students and public figures.

His voice is that of an old-timey radio host. It's comforting, which is a benefit when he's teaching you about the myriad ways that the future of the American economy (our future) is doomed.

But maybe the best thing about Reich is that he's totally freaking famous. He served on the administrations of Presidents Ford, Carter and Clinton, and was an economic transition advisor to Obama. (That's still something to be impressed by, right?) Seeing him on campus or at a cafe is always an Event.

Truly, no other Berkeley professor packs more charm into so little a frame - I thought I could avoid a height reference in 200 words, but damnit, this man is fabulously small, and we love him all the more for it.

-Hannah Jewell

Best Class: Astronomy C10

Best Performance Group: Theater Rice

Best Kept Campus Secret: Student Learning Center

Tags: CAMPANILE, DOE LIBRARY, C.V. STARR EAST ASIAN LIBRARY, YOSHUA, ROBERT REICH, MOFFITT LIBRARY MICROCOMPUTER FACILITY, ASTRONOMY C10, THEATER RICE, STUDENT LEARNING CENTER






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