Editor's note: The kids are alright

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UC Santa Cruz Review editor Gwen Jourdonnais (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

We invited you to a special anniversary party … and you came.

Alumni descended upon UC Santa Cruz in unprecedented numbers for UC Santa Cruz's 50th anniversary Alumni Weekend in April. You walked familiar paths, chatted with current students, called out to each other, and laughed in the sunshine. You asked questions in the classrooms, fired up your minds during lectures, and lingered over fine wines and plates of good food.

And you brought your kids.

Children were here—kids of all ages, from babes in arms to toddlers and grade-schoolers. They were as adorable and fresh-faced as you can imagine. I also saw some high school kids hanging out near the photo booth and taking in the views.

I got to campus early Saturday to help set up the Banana Slug Kid Zone, where there were crafts, snacks, and fun stuff for the little ones. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but kids showed up, chased each other and made Play-Doh renditions of Sammy the Slug.

These children were being exposed to a college campus and seeing their parents being active alumni, attending lectures and thought-provoking panels, enjoying festivities, and connecting with a network of friends and supporters.

This seems like an invaluable gift.

We invited you to a special anniversary party … and you came.

Alumni descended upon UC Santa Cruz in unprecedented numbers for UC Santa Cruz's 50th anniversary Alumni Weekend in April. You walked familiar paths, chatted with current students, called out to each other, and laughed in the sunshine. You asked questions in the classrooms, fired up your minds during lectures, and lingered over fine wines and plates of good food.

And you brought your kids.

Children were here—kids of all ages, from babes in arms to toddlers and grade-schoolers. They were as adorable and fresh-faced as you can imagine. I also saw some high school kids hanging out near the photo booth and taking in the views.

I got to campus early Saturday to help set up the Banana Slug Kid Zone, where there were crafts, snacks, and fun stuff for the little ones. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but kids showed up, chased each other and made Play-Doh renditions of Sammy the Slug.

These children were being exposed to a college campus and seeing their parents being active alumni, attending lectures and thought-provoking panels, enjoying festivities, and connecting with a network of friends and supporters.

This seems like an invaluable gift. College is not for everyone, and there are certainly other routes to success and fulfillment in life.

But when I looked at the faces of those beautiful kids at Alumni Weekend, I felt like they were already being encouraged to become their best, most authentic selves—just by being there, being exposed to ideas, intellect, friendship, tradition, knowledge, creative expression, and the unabashed eccentricity that is the hallmark of UC Santa Cruz.

I thought, as they darted between the redwoods and babbled during lectures, that those children might be observing their parents and feeling like college is a place that can open the mind, expand the heart, and teach life lessons from the divine to the mundane.

I hope I'll see those kids at future Alumni Weekends. But I wouldn't be surprised if, in 10 or 15 years, I also see a few of them in a classroom on campus.

Here's to the next 50 years!

— Gwen Jourdonnais, editor