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Students Return to Campus for First Time Since Pandemic

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Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the UCI campus was open for fall quarter classes. As students moved back into campus housing and returned to the classrooms, the Irvine campus appeared to be almost back to normal.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

With the familiar tents lined up along Ring Road once again, students could buy books, food and other merchandise from businesses and student organizations at the various Ring Road vendor fairs.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

Students played games and discussed the influence of Korean culture in popular media at the “Squid Game at UCI” event on Oct. 26.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

The reopening of campus meant the long-awaited return of many favorite spots that had remained shuttered throughout the pandemic, such as the Anthill Pub & Grille.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

The campus was much livelier than it had been the past year as Anteaters returned to regular outdoor activities.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

Third year public health sciences student Brian Duong and third year human biology student Valerie Nguyen study together on their laptops in the newly-opened Commuter Lounge, which became available to students on Oct. 27.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

Students returned to Langson Library to study and read. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the library closed on March 17, 2020; however, the library was reopened for fall quarter 2021.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

The Gateway Study Center reopened its doors to students needing a quiet place to do schoolwork.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

The return to campus was not without its drawbacks. Large crowds of students had to wait for the Anteater Express buses, which had less available routes compared to previous years.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff
Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

Aldrich Park once again became a place for events like the Anteater Involvement Fair and a tranquil setting for students looking to take a break between class hours.

The West Food Court at the Student Center was packed for the first time in over a year.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

The Anteater Recreation Center (ARC), which was closed during the pandemic, saw a return to form with students playing basketball and using the exercise machines at all hours of the day. The ARC required daily ZotPass health checks for entry.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

The Science Library accommodated students late into the night, with daily hours of operation between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m..

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

The Student Center became another popular destination for student activities, providing clubs, events and studious Anteaters with a place to meet as it had before.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

As entertainment venues began hosting live events once again, the Irvine-Barclay Theatre held recitals, concerts and other performances in front of audiences.

Photo by Josh Cain / Staff

The University Town Center (UTC) was bustling with activity once more as familiar businesses and restaurants reemerged, giving returning UCI students and other Irvine residents a place to shop and dine.

Josh Cain is a Staff Photographer. He can be reached at jbcain@uci.edu