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Sproul Plaza

From Academic Kids

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Berkeley_anti-Iraqi-war_protest.jpg
A March 20, 2003 rally against the War in Iraq on the steps of Sproul Plaza, held by the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition.

Sproul Plaza is a major center of student activity at the University of California, Berkeley. It is divided into two sections: Upper Sproul and Lower Sproul. They are separated by 12 vertical feet and a set of stairs.

Upper Sproul Plaza is bordered to the east by Sproul Hall, which was formerly the location of the campus administration, and is today the location of student and admission services. To the north is Sather Gate, which leads into the central campus, and to the south is Telegraph Avenue and the streets of Berkeley. Sproul Hall is slightly elevated off Upper Sproul Plaza and features a broad stairway; furthermore, on weekdays large numbers of students file past Sproul Hall on the way to class or on the way to Telegraph Avenue. The combination of a fairly large raised platform and a ready audience makes Upper Sproul Plaza a popular location for student protests, the most famous of which occurred during the Free Speech Movement. During calmer times, numerous student groups set up tables to recruit and inform other students (a practice known as "tabling"). Upper Sproul Plaza also features a double row of the pollarded London Plane trees characteristic of the Berkeley campus.

Lower Sproul Plaza, directly west of Upper Sproul Plaza, is the location of numerous small musical and cultural performances and is surrounded by numerous 1960s-era buildings owned by the ASUC, including Eshleman Hall to the south and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union to the east, as well as the César E. Chávez Student Center to the north and Zellerbach Hall to the west. Eshleman Hall houses the ASUC Senate as well as the offices of various student groups. (Although it is was rated "seismically very poor" in the last campus earthquake readiness evaluation, the ASUC lacks the funds to retrofit the building.) The Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union is home to the Pauley Ballroom, the student store, and the "Bear's Lair" food court. The César E. Chávez Student Center houses the Student Learning Center, the ASUC Mall (including the Bearcade Arcade), and the "Golden Bear Café" campus restaurant. Zellerbach Hall is the largest indoor performance auditorium on campus, and frequently hosts guest speakers as well as Cal Performances engagements.

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