Averroes visit to Berkeley StoryFebruary 11, 2022
Our school is not really about the schedules, classes, or exams. It’s about the stories of service and good will we create everyday over the course of the school year. During the first week of school we created a great story. We began by discovering our campus through a scavenger hunt, impressing Ohlone Deans along the way. We partnered with the Muslim Community Center of Pleasanton to to perform servicefor the less fortunate. We wrapped up week one by trekking up Mission Peak together.
Week two was extra inspiring because we created the story of college possibility. For Averroes staff, this story is especially exciting because it is about your bright futures and how you might use your Averroes experience to prepare.
It began with the BART adventure. Figuring out the Clipper card and navigating the BART stations with 3 dozen plus staff and students was the first triumph of the day.
Upon arrival on campus, we were immediately struck by the beauty and grandeur of the University of California Berkeley as we made our way up to Memorial Glade. Taking a cue from the students already on the Glade, we hurriedly prepared ourselves for the first ever Averroes Ultimate Frisbee match. Some say Ultimate is the unofficial game of college, and now we’ve brought it to Averroes. The match started a bit clumsily and disorganized but it wasn’t long before the throws got more accurate and the teamwork more productive as witnessed by the onlookers.
Ultimate frisbee on the Glade was the perfect way to reinforce the importance of recreation, letting off steam, and just plain having fun as an essential part of college.
Oncethe match concluded, we were joined by Berkeley students from the “Consciousness Collective” who led us in a school wide practice of Mindfulness. Gathering in a near perfect circle on the grass in the warm sun, we stretched, and then engaged in extended meditation as guided by the Cal students. With eyes closed, we learned to focus on the breath, notice our bodies, and be present. Arriving to a sense of peace and clarity, we then learned more about Mindfulness and why it is so important to our success as students. Stress is a big part of the college experience and Mindfulness, we learned, is a powerful tool to help us remain composed and calm. However, from the personal stories of our guides, it is clear that Mindfulness can benefit many other parts of our lives.
With gratitude, we bid goodbye to our gracioushosts and set out to discover the campus. Some of ustoured the campus with members of the Berkeley Muslim Student Association (MSA) learning first hand about their college experiences. Others embarked on self-guided tours to learn the promise of “4.0 Hill,” about the atomic element “Californium,” and that the California Memorial Stadium where the Bears play football, is built on the Hayward fault. Still others were treated to a tour of one of Berkeley’s chemistry labs as led by MSA student Safaa.
We took a lunch break for what might be the highlight of the trip, lunch at Crave.. Just off campus, Crave seems to be where Berkeley students flock for the best sandwiches in town.
After lunch, you became actual Berkeley students. Some of you joined the MSA at Sproul Plaza in support of Project Downtown, a nonprofit serving those in need. With our delightful and caring MSA host Yusra leading us, together we worked to create packages to distribute to the unhoused. Further up the campus from Sproul Plaza, the rest of you were in a 150 seat capacity lecture hall in the beautiful and impressive Hearst MIning Building where a mine shaft was once installed. Shoulder to shoulder with Calstudents, you joined Professor Kadir’s “Contemporary Political Economy” class. From economic historian Karl Polanyi you learned about the arguments against self-regulating markets to Federici’s feminist perspective on primitive accumulation.
(By the way, Professor Kadir just let me know the test on Polanyi is coming up soon so study hard.)
When class concluded and the MSA packed up at Sproul Plaza, we made our way west, downhill towards the BART station. In descent, we were once again reminded of the grandeur and beauty of the campus as we recollected the events of the day. Gathering at BART, we boarded the train for the ride home. As a school, we can now tell the story of our visit to Berkeley and the possibilities of college. What will be our next story?