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If you visited UCI on Saturday, you would have noticed that the campus wasn’t in the usual barren and desolate state that it is in on weekends.
Despite the pouring rain, many UCI students, faculty, staff, newly admitted students and their families came to participate in the festivities of Celebrate UCI.
Celebrate UCI is the campus-wide open house that has been running for 26 years, which also encompasses ASUCI’s Wayzgoose Medieval Faire, the Earth Day Celebration and the Annual Car Show. Every year, the Celebrate UCI committee attempts to incorporate new and eclectic activities for this event.
Jill Halvaks, director of New Student Programs and the chair of the Celebrate UCI committee, helped to organize and coordinate the different programs for the open house.
‘We hope that people will come to the campus to learn more about it, especially students who have been admitted and need to submit their statement of intent to register, as well as alumni to see what’s been happening on campus,’ Halvaks said.
Every year, they expect about 15,000 visitors on the day of Celebrate UCI.
The Wayzgoose Medieval Faire in Aldrich Park was cancelled due to the rain and those who arrived found many of the booths packing up and shipping out of Aldrich Park.
Some clubs tried their best to stick out the rain, selling their food on Ring Road, but many of the clubs cancelled their plans.
Rose Singh, a second-year biological sciences major, is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and was supposed to work her sorority’s booth, but did not attend after hearing that it was cancelled.
‘It was disappointing and unfortunate because my organization and other organizations were all planning for the event and we were excited. Also, because all the visitors weren’t able to experience Wayzgoose,’ Singh said.
The Annual Car Show tried their best to keep it going. Some community members continued to drive along the inner ring of Aldrich Park, but by the afternoon, not only were there no viewers, but only one or two classic cars left in Aldrich Park.
Even though Wayzgoose, the Car Show, and Earth Day were cancelled, students, faculty, and staff all worked together to keep Celebrate UCI’s campus-wide open house going.
Because it is the campus-wide open house, UCI offers tours of the different areas on campus. Visitors had the option of taking an hour-long walking tour, tours of the different housing areas, such as Middle Earth, Mesa Court and Arroyo Vista and tours of the library and the Anteater Recreational Center.
Also offered were special 20-minute long tram tours led by comedic and enthusiastic UCI students. Not only was it informative about all the different schools on campus, but visitors also learned fun facts about the campus, such as how the anteater came to be UCI’s mascot as well as about the different movies filmed on campus.
Amy Tran, a first-year civil engineering major, offered her services by helping to give housing tours of Middle Earth and was one of the many students who contributed to making Celebrate UCI possible.
‘I’ve been to Celebrate UCI for the past couple years and it was informative, so I decided to get involved this year by returning the favor by helping others who are visiting,’ Tran said.
Aside from tours, Ring Road was also scattered with information booths for each of the schools on campus as well as booths about financial aid, the Education Abroad Program and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
Many of the schools were also kind enough to open their doors to give visitors an inside look of their facilities.
The School of Information and Computer Science held a Starcraft computer game tournament, which is usually only held twice a year, during Welcome Week and Celebrate UCI, as well as a Palm Pilot-Technology demonstration. Visitors not only had the opportunity to see the computer lab, but also a chance to win prizes and learn about some advanced computer technology.
Claire Trevor School of the Arts also opened their different departments to visitors, opening up the Arts Instruction Technology Resource Center, their Production Studio and Costume Shop, and they even held a master ballet class with Professor Israel ‘El’ Gabriel.
The climax of Celebrate UCI was probably when KIIS FM’s Commander Chuck Street flew into UCI and landed on the lawn by the Administration Building at noon. Crowds of people gathered and cheered as the helicopter landed.
Later KIIS FM had music trivia games, offering prizes to participants.
Many of the newly admitted students also couldn’t resist stopping by the bookstore to purchase a UCI sweatshirt or two. The bookstore had an anteater toss game offering special prizes and discounts. Not only did they have a DJ, but they also had a booth featuring Tibetan Arts and Crafts from the Dalai Lama’s visit on Friday.
The goal of Celebrate UCI is to inform newly-admitted students about UCI and many agree that Celebrate UCI is beneficial, as well as an important event.
William Layne, a newly admitted criminology, law and society major came to Celebrate UCI to learn more about the campus.
‘I wanted to check out the different organizations and opportunities on campus. It’s a good opportunity for new freshman to come and learn about the campus and see where they’re going to be staying,’ Layne said.
The day of Celebrate UCI isn’t just an ‘educational’ opportunity, but it’s also a day for community members and family to visit.
Kristine Stanton, a newly-admitted mathematics major, will be attending UCI as a freshman in the fall.
‘I really wanted my family
to see the campus. I came to Explore UCI and I really enjoyed and loved the campus and I thought it would be really fun if my family was here to see it as well,’ Stanton said.
The general consensus seemed to be that Celebrate UCI is an excellent event and a definite
keeper on UCI’s calendar of events.
Danielle Weiner, an incoming dance major in the fall, was so impressed by the campus that she recommends UCI hold more of these events.
‘We should definitely have more of these events because it allows people to see the campus and talk to students who actually attend UCI,’ Weiner said.
Even with the campus wet and soggy, Celebrate UCI allowed the people who decided to attend an opportunity to see the campus and participate in the events that tried to hold out as long as possible. Hopefully, next year the sun will decide to join us.
By Alex Lee

A polished golden statue greeted me with a serene, auspicious gaze from the center of the room as steady harmonic chants drifted to my ears almost hypnotically. Colorful prayer flags hung in rows across the ceiling. I was lost in Tibet

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