Let Your Zots Ring Out

There is a culture amongst students that suggests UC Irvine is a “second choice” university. It is no secret that UC Berkeley and UCLA, both older universities with popular football teams, seem to cast a shadow over UCI. Some will tell you it’s because we are a young university, only founded in 1965, and we have yet to come into our own and find where we rank in comparison to the other UCs. Others will tell you it’s because we don’t have a football team causing us to be overlooked because of the lack of athletic spirit on campus. It may be a mixture of both of these, but  the central issue is this: there seems to be a general lack of school pride from a number of students at UCI.

Although this school may not have been everyone’s first choice, it’s common for students to discover they have little regrets in becoming an Anteater. UCI becomes a home to us; catering to our every need, guiding us to grow in whichever field we desire.

The world is onto us. UCI has been making headlines more recently, and not just because of our rising basketball team. Times Higher Education published “The World’s Best New Universities Under 50 Years Old” and UCI is ranked number four in the world and number one in the US. Slowly but surely, UCI is proving to be a force to be reckoned with, and more prestigious and remarkable than some may perceive. We may not have a long legacy like some of the other universities, but we will. We don’t have a legacy yet because we are still creating it.

During the average tour of UCI, guides will proudly tell you fun facts about the school: how our campus was used for filming one of the Planet of the Apes installments and how Kobe Bryant has been seen practicing at the ARC … but what about all of the other really impressive things happening that may get nods in the media but aren’t circulating the courtyard?

UCI students have attended class in Rowland Hall, or at least know of it, but do they know who it is named after? F. Sherwood Rowland was a former founding faculty member, who was a Nobel Prize-winning chemist whose work led to the discovering of a hole in the Earth’s ozone layer over the Antarctic. This is just one of the many impressive facts about UCI of which prospective students and others are most likely unaware.

Were you also aware that UCI was featured on a History Channel special showing how gold was created on campus out of mercury? Did you know the New York Time’s best-selling author of “The Lovely Bones”, Alice Sebold studied as a graduate at UCI in the 90s? UCI has aided and produced great things and people in the past and is still doing that to this day. Many of our alumni and professors are well-established published writers and award-winners, making their ’Eater footprint in the world for current students to follow.

It is important that we continue to show the world who we are and what we do, to step outside the “second choice” mentality, and continue to climb in the ranks. We won’t be at the top because of our football team or visually appealing campus, but because UCI fosters an incredible group of young adults.

UCI school pride starts here. It starts with us. It starts with you. Those who understand what UCI is about and what it has to offer, know we are just as good as the older, more prestigious UCs. It’s true, people are starting to take notice of our campus now and its popularity is increasing, but it’s up to us to continue to show what being an Anteater is all about. We are the foundation of the legacy to come.

Please send all comments to opinion@newuniversity.org. Please include yourname, year, and major.