ERC finally receives recognition it deserves

But my advanced placement Biology teacher, a Revelle graduate, indoctrinated us with horror stories about Muir (Gasp! They are all druggies and drunkards! They don’t shave! They are slackers!), which succeeded in turning me away from what is actually a very nice college. My fellow high school friends believed her and chose Revelle. Then there’s the Revelle-Muir rivalry ‹ what can you do? As a result, I ended up choosing Warren first, followed by Roosevelt.

Being a social science major, I didn’t mind the prospect of required fine arts, foreign language or intense writing courses. I suppose next to nobody chose Roosevelt as their first choice, so people that second-choiced it, like me, ended up with ERC as our college for the next four years.

Admit Day 2001 arrived, and of all 365 days in sunny San Diego, it was that day that the sky decided to cry a river. Let me tell you, Camp Snoopy (as UCSDers not-so-affectionately call the old ERC campus) does not look too welcoming when it’s pouring. I was quite upset that I had chosen this college and wanted to switch out immediately. My dad, tactful as he is, raised his hand during a presentation by the provost of all people, and asked how to switch out of ERC. After I had crawled out from under my metaphoric rock, we asked someone with a lower profile how to transfer to Warren. She told us it would take a year to transfer out.

Faced with no other options, I decided to live in the ERC-designated dorms in Revelle instead of the campgrounds of Eleanor Roosevelt. In the old days, anyone who was not in ERC would hardly even visit this campus. The rickety buildings, status as a relatively new college, along with the infamous six-quarter Making of the Modern World sequence, contributed to a less-than-robust number of students in the college, which in turn contributed to unfavorable word of mouth. It was a vicious cycle, and I didn’t blame my new friend for looking down on me when I told her I was an ERC student.

My, my, my ‹ how the tables have turned. Fast forward to fall 2003. Now suddenly everybody wants to be a Roosevelt student’s friend. Those long-delayed, spanking-new dorms are doing for ERC what blockbusters usually do for so-yesterday B-List actors’ careers. Venture past the edges of Marshall and you shall stumble upon an Emerald City of sparkling dorms and all-single apartment buildings with exotic new names like Kathmandu and Mesa Verde. High, windowed walkways. Abundant amenities. A new International House. The soon-to-be-opened Café Ventanas, the magnificent new dining hall complete with a sushi chef.

It’s enough to make a freshman forget any traces of homesickness or bitterness at being rejected from Berkeley, where triples are commonplace and the food is supposedly only slightly above palatable. Read the ERC Web site and the description of the new campus rivals that of any posh resort.

My fellowship and I were doing freshman visitations during Welcome Week. Amazing how fast people flocked to the ERC group, when just a year ago, hardly anybody would volunteer at all. As a Roosevelt student that has never lived in Roosevelt (I lived in Warren Apartments my second year), I am nonetheless glad for my oft-neglected and knocked college. It’s about time ERC status has become less of a stigma and more of a source of envy.

Add to that the recent triumph of winning the Golden Shoe in the Un-Olympics, and ERC pride has hit an all-time high. No longer will I glumly respond to “”What college are you in?”” or quickly use ERC as an excuse to complain. I, like many other ERC students I’m sure, will come out of the college closet and finally get to mention our Roosevelt status with pride.

Roosevelt is finally getting the recognition it deserves. With a beautiful new campus comes a wave of refreshing college and school spirit that can do nothing but good. ERC has always been underestimated and underappreciated. The scope of the college, international education and universal human rights hasn’t had as much attention as its run-down surroundings (which have been refurbished for the Sixth College kids) and enormous load of general education courses. It’s likely that prospective freshmen will start choosing ERC more often, if just for the dorms. That’s okay, as long as ERC gets its spotlight. From Camp Snoopy to campus darling ‹ smile with pride, fellow Roosevelt-ians. It’s about time.

Don’t agree with Evelyn’s flavor? E-mail her at [email protected]