DSCN5607 If you’re a Berkeley student, you probably got a bizarre message in your inbox this afternoon with the cryptic subject-line: “What Cal Student Want: Do You Agree?”

After determining – with some degree of difficulty – that the message was not spam, we found that it was simply a request to take a survey from the UC Berkeley Operational Excellence Student Services Initiative. So we obliged and took the survey. It’s true: most of the improvements noted were indeed things that we, as “Cal student,” want.

But it got us thinking: “what do we want, really?” Intelligible, proper grammar? Nah. We want to take surveys.

Student Affairs and Operational Excellence [Site]


According to a survey on the undergrad experience, UC students are a bit lazy. Granted, the survey was taken in spring 2008 (a time before Obama’s election, a time when some of us *cough cough* were not even in college yet) but still, the survey said that on average UC students spend 41 hours a week “on social and leisure activities,” and only 28 hours a week on classes and homework. Tsk, tsk.

Breaking down the 41 hours of leisure time leads to some frightening information. A full 10.7 hours per week went to “non-academic computer use” (largely Facebook, if we had to hazard a guess), 10.5 to talking with friends, 6.0 to “recreational or creative read more »


If you compare a 2007 survey on Cal reading tastes to similar surveys administered in 1997 and 1987, what can you infer about Berkeley students? Perhaps we should be afraid–very afraid. In the past 20 years, student preferences strayed away from poignant classics like “The Fountainhead” and “The Color Purple,” to lucrative bestsellers like “Harry Potter” and the “Da Vinci Code.” Alright, we admit it–we read and loved both bestsellers–but what does it mean that the most elite public education institution in the world prefers contemporary fluff over literary heavyweights? Could it be a sign of the apocalypse?

Perhaps, but it could also be that “(t)he 1987 survey, like the ’97 version, was conducted simply by distributing sheets of paper to freshman English classes,” while the most recent one was a “web-based summer/fall 2007 Survey of New Students (SoNS)” from 2,875 freshmen in every major.

Obviously, that explanation isn’t as fun.

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