From the Editor

College is about engaging in real-world experiences

There’s an “ivory tower” stereotype about higher education that I’d like to challenge. Critics chide academia over the sometimes esoteric nature of college studies, saying such topics have no bearing on real life—much less getting a job.

Okay, sure—my own days as an English major sometimes included stalking a fictional character, Leopold Bloom. Slouched in a big armchair in a funky, little-known library on campus, I swooned over the poetry of the Pilgrims and giggled at the antics described in Middle English in The Canterbury Tales.

But college is a time when students engage with their world rather than separate themselves from it. College courses, even on the most obscure subjects, give students critical thinking skills, writing practice, and insight into worlds, cultures, mindsets, history, people, etc., that they may never have encountered otherwise. They also encourage curiosity, foster engagement with other bright minds, provide challenges, build the soul, and help increase students’ enjoyment of life and culture.

At UCSC, students pore over great books, but they also have a chance to “get their hands dirty”—whether they want to
stage a museum exhibition or take water samples at Younger Lagoon. It’s a place where engagement with the brain—and a broader engagement with the wider world—are complementary goals.

In this issue, you’ll learn about some of those real-world learning opportunities for UCSC students, including broadcasting via the campus’s beloved radio station, KZSC, which this year turns 45 (page 8); practical environmentalism and modern techniques for organic farming (page 12); and visualizing and explaining scientific concepts through art (page 16).

UCSC students understand the impact of an education here. They also appreciate how the campus became the learning-rich environment it is—because of the efforts of the founders and of the students who came before them. They are grateful to those who built the path, who created a place of unparalleled learning opportunity for students, and who give financially to ensure the student experience continues. Have a great summer, and we’ll see you in the fall.

P.S. Check out this special video in which the students of today say thank you: