Muir College: Easy-Going and Ever-Growing

    John Muir College is all about variety. The second of UCSD’s six colleges boasts flexible GE requirements, the most student organizations and the shortest walk to Black’s Beach, along with being the only college to operate its own student center.

    Lucy Zhang/Guardian

    “”Students can choose what best suits them,”” Muir College Provost Susan Smith said.

    Established in 1967, Muir College was a reaction to the academic ivory tower of Revelle College. Muir College’s GE requirements focus on flexibility, allowing students to choose from an assortment of classes within a given discipline.

    “”Muir is very different from Revelle and that was intentional,”” Muir College Dean of Student Affairs Patty Mahaffey said in an e-mail. “”Both colleges attract students for different reasons.””

    Muir College stays true to its theme, “”celebrating the independent spirit,”” by attracting self-motivated students with diverse interests, according to Mahaffey. As the leader in student organizations, Muir College has a club to fit nearly any interest and new clubs are always being formed.

    “”Some of the orgs we have at Muir include Muir Musical, Tribe of Muir Transfers, Muir Resident Council, Muir Commuter Council, Students Taking Initiative to Crochet Hats, My Art Club, Juggling Club, Muir Movie, Network of Ethernet-Ready Denizens and Creative Magazine, to name a few,”” Muir College Coordinator of Student Activities Karina Viaud said.

    According to Mahaffey, the process of creating new clubs is fairly simple, which enables students to form a group based on their own hobbies and interests.

    “”Our newest organization is a juggling club and watch out, they’ll be juggling fire soon!”” said Mahaffey.

    Muir pioneered a multitude of organizations. Because it sponsors many activities, students from other colleges often take advantage of groups at Muir, most notably the satirical Muir Quarterly and Muir Musical, which just had its 16th annual performance.

    “”I think Muir Musical is one of the best orgs on campus because despite the name it is really a way in which any artistic talent on campus can collaborate toward one goal,”” said Muir College sophomore and Muir Musical member Karen Friedenberg.

    Muir College was the first to vote for a student activity fee, the first to hold a musical festival – the annual Muirstock concert – and has always led the way for student activities at UCSD. Now, the Muir College staff is looking to put a greater emphasis on the school’s core environmentalist values.

    Muir College also sponsored both the film studies and critical gender studies minors under former Provost Patrick Ledden in addition to sponsoring the environmental studies minor, and Smith is supportive of the possibility of establishing more seminars on environmental issues.

    “”As we look ahead to the future, we would like to do even more regarding programming to show ideas of wilderness and nature, and get more students involved whether it’s through academics, or service projects,”” said Smith. “”What could be more timely? We have to save the planet, and be in the forefront here at UCSD.””

    In addition to both academic and social variety, Muir has a strong community spirit.

    “”Muir College is a very warm and friendly environment,”” said Muir College senior and Muir College Council Chair Carissa Krueger.

    Whether it’s the flexible GEs or the range of organizations, most students seem to enjoy the time they spend at Muir College. According to Mahaffey, 94 percent of recent graduates said they would choose Muir College if they could do it all over again, and one-fourth of UCSD applicants select Muir as their first choice college.

    “”I think it’s our culture, that once something gets rolling it perpetuates itself,”” said Smith. “”Muir has the reputation of being where people get involved.””

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