Blue-Ribbon, Red-Let'-

Whether this is your first year of navigating a campus or you’re a fifth-year thinking of adding yet another major, UCSD’s enormity and complexity can sometimes seem too much to bear. During these daunting moments, students have many resources that can provide assistance or plain old entertainment. However, there are a handful of campus businesses, organizations and nearby getaway spots that stand above the rest. These, which are reviewed below, together represent the best of UCSD.

Lyon Liew
Guardian

Best Student Organization: Board@UCSD

The lackluster party scene at UCSD takes a lot of heat from students seeking that famed college experience they first saw in “”Animal House.”” There is, however, one oasis of craziness among the libraries and lecture halls: Board@UCSD. This student organization truly is a meeting of the minds — the surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding minds, that is.

Lyon Liew
Guardian

Before thinking “”I don’t surf, skate or snowboard. Forget it,”” know that Board@UCSD is responsible for more than just snowboarding trips to Big Bear and Mammoth Mountain resorts. Even if you aren’t graceful on a board, make sure to hang out with those who are — attending their crowded, crazy meetings and parties might earn you a free snowboard or free T-shirts, or you could find that kegstand insanity you’ve been dreaming of. Contact the craziness directly at [email protected].

Best Place to Study: CLICS

It’s ninth week, and unless you find a quiet spot where you can absorb the genius that your professor insists is within the pages of your reader for Dimensions Of Culture – or Making of the Modern World, Warren Writing, Revelle Humanities, Muir Writing, whatever – you’ll fail the final.

The Center for Learning and Instructional Computing Services in Revelle college should be of help.

CLICS rocks for many reasons. For one, it boasts the latest hours and the most free-use computers of any UCSD library. Macs and PCs rest atop almost all of the super-sized desks, meaning you’re free to check your e-mail or browse the Internet during study breaks.

Furthermore, the soft humming of computers and low-level chatting contribute to a perfect balance of background noise. Finally, caffeine addicts are treated well here — a Peabody’s Coffee cart sits outside the entrance.

During finals week, show up in person — and early — to reserve one of the private study rooms designed for study groups.

For more information regarding the UCSD libraries, visit http://libraries.ucsd.edu.

Best Workout Facility: Main Gym

Besides the colossal RIMAC weight room shown to every campus tour group, UCSD has other on-campus workout facilities for students. The Main Gym’s weight room stands apart from the others.

Admittedly, RIMAC has the greatest variety of weights and machines, and it has the most floor space, but the Main Gym boasts the newest workout equipment. What it lacks in floor space and variety is made up for with its central location and its snazzy, well-maintained equipment. We all know that bigger isn’t necessarily better, so sweat your stuff at Main Gym instead of RIMAC and fight the freshman 15. For more information, visit http://recreation.ucsd.edu.

Best Eatery: Porter’s Pub

Hands down, Porter’s Pub has the best food on campus. No day-old cafeteria cuisine can compare to this menu of drippy submarine sandwiches, frothy and frosty beers, and grease-laden, perfectly spiced curly fries. However, there are a few rules of engagement one should know before stopping by the Student Center to indulge.

First, never attempt to use a fake I.D. at the pub. The employees are like hawks when they check your legality, and not even the slickest fakie will do you any good — it’ll only get taken away.

Second, call in your order 10 minutes ahead so you only have to wait in line to pay — instead of waiting to pay, then waiting for your food to be made.

Finally, it is a given that the employees here will not greet you, ask you how you’re doing, or check that your food is up to par. Leave them a tip and leave them alone. Rumor has it that the Price Center is getting a Rubio’s, however, so keep your eye out for that too.

Porter’s Pub can be reached at (858) 587-4828.

Best Annual Event: Sun God

Every spring, UCSD hosts the Sun God Festival. For the hard-core Sun God loyalists, this is a day on which UCSD students imbibe alcoholic beverages or other intoxicating substances, attend class wasted, visit the student organization booths set up near Sun God field, and then party even more at the concert that takes place on RIMAC Field that evening.

For less-than-hardcore Sun God enthusiasts, be warned that this pattern of activity is unavoidable, so prepare yourselves. After all, without the uncharacteristic prevailing attitude of peace, love and drunkenness, it would not be the best annual event.

For more information on the festival, call (858) 534-4450 or visit http://as.ucsd.edu.

Best Date Restaurant: Forever Fondue

Forever Fondue, located on the second floor at 1295 Prospect Ave. in downtown La Jolla, offers a menu and an atmosphere that are unique enough to break even the most awkward silences.

For appetizers, visitors can dip fluffy chunks of dark and light breads into rich, melty cheeses that cook at each party’s table. For the main course, waiters bring a boiling broth to your table, into which you can plunge salmon, filet mignon and shrimp. For dessert, sink sweet morsels of fresh fruit into a smoothly melted chocolate of your choice.

If you haven’t experienced fondue, keep the mood light by letting your date teach you how to perfectly dunk these goodies. If you’re a fondue freak, take on the role of teacher and dole out a few lessons of your own. If neither you nor your date have a clue about the world of fondue, even better – learning together is a great way to keep those awkward first-date silences at bay.

For reservations, call (858) 551-4509.

Best Local Beach: La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores, though crowded during peak season, gives sun seekers a package that can’t be found at any other beach near campus. Surfers may want to stick to the Scripps Pier or Blacks Beach areas, but those looking for a relaxing spot to spread out their towels will appreciate the regularly combed, soft, deep sand here, and the impressive view of downtown La Jolla.

Shores has a handful of fire pits and barbecues, and the adjacent residential neighborhood site hosts plenty of eye-catching architecture. Sounds touristy, yes, but if you’re new to San Diego, so what? Hop in your car and you’re there in five minutes.

Overall, compared to the rowdiness of beaches farther south and Del Mar’s lack of anything but a family scene, La Jolla Shores stands alone as the best beach of the area. For more information, visit http://www.sannet.gov/lifeguards/beaches/shores.html.

Best Place to Get Experience: The Academic Internship Program

The Academic Internship Program, located on the second floor of Warren college’s Literature Building, collects information on hundreds of local and non-local organizations and helps UCSD students to secure internships at those organizations.

The office’s computer database of opportunities is free to UCSD students who complete a brief application, and its listings are diverse enough to ensure a match with almost any student’s interests.

AIP is well-established, the staff is personally connected to many people involved with the offered internships, and earning academic credit for your internship hours is simplified by the AIP’s policies. For more information, visit http://aip.ucsd.edu.

Best Bookstore on Campus: The UCSD Bookstore

Groundwork Books doesn’t accept credit cards. Revelle Bargain Books maintains only a minimum-sized selection. The General Store Co-Op’s long lines are intolerable, and it sells only the most commonly used texts. Ordering your books from online vendors can result in huge delays if your books are back-ordered, plus there’s the cost of shipping.

The UCSD Bookstore, on the other hand, accepts cash, checks, credit and ATM cards, has a plethora of readily available books for almost every course, and it maintains enough staff to keep the lines a little less daunting. Early morning is the best time to avoid crowds.

Visit the UCSD Bookstore in the Price Center, or find more information at http://www-bookstore.ucsd.edu.

Best Class: Contemporary Issues 22, Human Sexuality

Take it. We promise that you’ll learn something.

Best Intercollegiate Sport To Watch: Women’s Soccer

Ah, women’s soccer. It’s a great sport to watch to begin with, and at UCSD, it is especially exciting.

Led by head coach Brian McManus, UCSD’s team is now feared by schools nationwide, and hasn’t lost a match in 17 games. With five national titles in the past six years, these athletes are top-notch. They even took the title last year — their first in Division II — compiling an astonishing 21-2 record.

Besides its winning record, the team has some of the most loyal, enthusiastic fans. Home games at misty RIMAC Field are well-attended, and there’s nothing like watching the Triton women dismantle their foes under the lights at night. Get there. With nine returning starters, it should be a show.

For more information on Triton sports visit the UCSD Athletics Web site: http://athletics.ucsd.edu.

Best Place To Get A Job: Monstertrak.com

You like buying things. But your parents don’t realize the importance of that enormous bean-bag chair from Ikea you want, and are no longer cooperating by making those deposits into your account.

Well, it had to happen sometime. Get a job — it’s easier than you think.

Log onto http://career.ucsd.edu/

studentsalumni/relogin.htm to

sign up for Monstertrak.-

com through UCSD’s Career Services Center Web site and you’re set.

UCSD students can post their resumes on the site, look through hundreds of job listings and even check out online job fairs.

Just enter what type of job you’re looking for — whether you’re looking for a job on or off campus, part or full-time, or a summer internship — you can filter the results with a few mouse clicks. You can even send your resume and cover letter electronically to employers.

Earn some money, get some experience and build up that pathetic excuse for a resume. Monstertrak.com is as close to a sure thing as you will get, even in a tight job market.

Best Coffee Cart: Art of Espresso

It seems as if every quarter a new coffee cart laden with little boxes of tea, muffins and other quaint confections springs up somewhere on campus. Though the vast majority of them feature mediocre food and coffee, there is one that doesn’t.

Located outside the entrance to Mandeville Auditorium, The Art of Espresso truly lives up to its name. This cart sells the best coffee on campus. The organic Sumatra is to die for.

The best thing about the cart is its impeccable service. The people who work there are friendly and helpful to the point where you actually notice — even at 8 a.m. So, caffeine fiends, head over to The Art of Espresso and sate your joe addiction.

Best Nearby Grocery Store: Trader Joe’s

It’s no Ralphs or Albertsons in terms of size, but Trader Joe’s is the best place to pick up healthy, inexpensive food. Located just a few blocks from campus in La Jolla Village Square at Nobel Drive and Villa La Jolla Drive, TJ’s prides itself in stocking the shelves with premium food without the premium price.

For the health-conscious shopper, this place is heaven. With almost half an aisle devoted to nutrition bars, half-dozen kinds of granola and every kind of dried fruit you can imagine, it’s easy to go home with food that won’t leave you malnourished or overweight.

Its freezer section is stocked with college essentials such as frozen pizzas and rolled tacos, and they carry all the staples, such as milk, cheese, produce and fresh meat. You can even get fresh-cut flowers for your boyfriend or girlfriend for surprisingly cheap.

Beware: If you crave your boxes of Lucky Charms and cases of Coca-Cola, you will be disappointed. Those with stubborn brand loyalties and no sense of adventure need not apply. Luckily, Ralphs is right next door.

And no, beaver pelts are not a valid form of payment at Trader Joe’s, though cash, check, credit and ATM cards are gladly accepted. Check out http://www.traderjoes.com for cool stuff.

Best Intramural Sports Teams

Coed: Innertube Water Polo

It’s easy to see why this is the best coed intramural sport on campus: Men and women in bathing suits splashing around in a pool. As nice as this sounds, the game of innertube water polo is actually a fierce, competitive sport.

Because of the use of innertubes as floatation devices, not as much action can occur underwater. This, however, does not prevent aquatic treachery, as tube-flipping and plenty of arm wrestling occurs outside the referee’s sightlines.

If you’re looking to get some exercise or just love water polo, give this one a try in the fall and spring quarters, when it’s in season. The cost is $35 per seven-person team.

Men: Flag Football

Flag football conjures up fond memories of childhood, calling out “”alligators”” before rushing the quarterback who is invariably looking at least 20 yards downfield for the long bomb.

Forget it. IM flag football at UCSD can be more brutal than an XFL playoff game, and the level of play can be extremely high.

If you’ve played casually in the past, join a single or even a double-A team. If you think you can hang, join a triple-A team, but plan on practicing your multiple defensive sets and pre-designed plays that you’ll need to have a chance. One last word of advice: Buy a mouthpiece.

There are seven men per team and the entry fee is $35 per squad.

Women: Soccer

Picture yourself shirtless, on your knees in the middle of a field beating your fists in the air in pure euphoria. All you Brandi Chastain wannabes can fulfill this worthwhile fantasy by joining an intramural soccer team.

Those who love the game but just missed the cut to the UCSD women’s Division II national championship team can feed their competitive hunger, or just get out there and get some exercise. If you’re really good, you can go for the triple-A league, which is very competitive. Double-A is intermediate and single-A is for beginners.

So strap on your shin guards, wash your sports bras and go for the goal.

For more information on intramural sports at UCSD visit http://recreationucsd.edu/im.htm or pick up a UCSD Recreation Guide from one of several locations around campus.

Best Club Sport: Ultimate Disc

This one is very close. Though men’s lacrosse and ice hockey club teams were league champions, men’s and women’s crew are always solid and rugby is, well, very psychotic, ultimate disc gets the nod as best club sport.

The Squids and the Psychos — the men’s and women’s teams, respectively — are extremely popular, and the game is fast-paced and exciting.

And if you’re looking for some “”extracurricular activities”” to go with your extracurricular activities, it is rumored that the team knows how to put on a decent shindig after a long game.

If you’re not too confident on your disc-wielding skills, they even have teams for beginners and intermediate players to cut their teeth on.

Best Recreation Class: Intro to Indoor Rock Climbing

UCSD’s indoor rock-climbing facility, the Outback Climbing Center, is located at the Canyonview Athletic Complex, and this class gives beginners a crash course in how to climb large, man-made rocks.

Rock climbing can be a great form of stress relief, and you even get to wear funny shoes. Indoor rock climbing builds strength and coordination in a fun and safe environment. With Outback employees staffing the climbing facilities, there’s little risk of becoming a pancake.

The two-hour class costs $15 for students, and consists of one hour of instruction, and one hour of free climbing.

For more information on Outback Adventures visit http://recreation.ucsd.edu/outback.html For information on all of UCSD’s myriad recreation classes visit http://recreation.ucsd.edu.

Best Commuter Lounge: Revelle College Commuter Lounge

Libraries are great if you’re looking for a quiet place to do your chem homework, but they’re not the most relaxing place to just chill out, and sleeping is frowned upon.

If you have a couple of hours between classes and don’t live on campus, a great place to relax is at one of the commuter lounges. The best is on the bottom floor of Blake Hall in Revelle Plaza right next to CLICS.

It has plenty of comfortable chairs and a television, so you can check the latest CNN reports and just unwind. They also have lockers so you can stash all that stuff you don’t want to carry around with you. You can also check your e-mail from one of the computers. And best of all, they don’t care if you snooze.

For a complete listing of all on-campus commuter lounges and their hours, visit the University Centers Web site at http://theuniversitycenters.ucsd.edu/commuter_lounge.html.

Best Dining Hall: OceanView Terrace

Thurgood Marshall college’s OceanView Terrace isn’t usually considered one the top places to eat on campus, but after its recent renovation, it is UCSD’s best.

It now has a coffee house lounge a la “”Friends”” and even Internet-capable computers. The place is actually worth frequenting by more than starving Marshall dormrats.

As its name suggests, there is an ocean view — which can be enjoyed from the patio that is now partially enclosed with plenty of windows. The new decor is pleasing to the eye, and the food is much improved.

Of the new food options, the open-hearth fired pizza is the best. They cook these delicious, cheese-smothered pies right before your eyes. OVT serves the classic dining hall fodder such as salads, sandwiches and food off the grill as well.

If you have meal points, you should check out the new OVT at least once, even if you’re not a Marshall student.

For more information including locations and hours of all on-campus dining facilities, visit the UCSD Housing & Dining Services Web site at http://hdsu.ucsd.edu.

Best On-Campus Restrooms: AP&M, Price Center

Let’s be honest: The best place to do your business is at home, but unfortunately, sometimes that’s just not feasible. Every so often, you have to drop anchor at school.

The best men’s bathroom is located on the second floor of the Applied Physics and Mathematics building in Muir college. Always well-stocked with ample paper supplies, this fine facility also features a full-length mirror. Enjoy!

The best women’s bathroom is located on the second floor of the Price Center. Average in most respects, what sets this one apart is its dispenser of free feminine products0. So if you’re in a bind, you know where to go.

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