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Monday, March 25, 2002
OK, Hiatus is over. While other, lesser Berkeley Bloggers take Spring Break off, Calstuff will be bringing you new material all week long!
So lets talk about the Order of the Golden Bear again. I think that's where the essential divide between the two groups of Leadership at Cal is. On the one side is the political activism: the ASUC, of course, but also the too-many political activist groups that crowd Sproul. That means all the ethnic groups, most of the Lefty groups, and certainly the Cal Democrats and Berkeley College Republicans. This is the group I've been associated with for the longest time, and to tell the truth, I don't really like them. Too grasping, too gossipy, too High School.
But it turns out there's another branch of school leadership, one much more tied into Cal as an institution rather than a base of operations. This includes, most especially, Rally Committee. But it also includes most of the Fraternities/Sororities at Cal, the various Octet groups, the Band, etc. I'd call this the civic activism side of Cal.
The differences between the two keep growing. There's the ineffable matter of personality, which I have yet to grasp. There's a large geographic factor. The political activists congregate around Eshleman Hall and Sproul Plaza. The civic activists use the older and more historically impressive symbols of Cal: the Campanile, the Greek Theater, the Big C. The aims differ: one is about political power and gaining converts, the other is about community and spirit.
And it seems that civic activism is much more geared towards continuity, a constant problem in the ASUC. There is none in the political activist groups: they're formed, they get in the papers, they die away. But the civic activists don't lose their institutional knowledge every three years. That's why they form the Oski Committee, run Big Game festivities, and do all these things year in year out without fail.
So it becomes less of a surprise that they form the vast bulk of the Secret Order of the Golden Bear. Why would OGB care for members of, say, Berkeley Global Justice? It's an activist group; give three years and it'll be gone, leaving no trace of itself on campus. OGB, from what I can discern, is built around people who see The University as a place to look inward; for forming a community of scholars and thought. Political activists are all about looking outwards, for using their time at University to affect what goes on outside it.
There's also institutional factors: the nominating methods of OGB are geared towards continuity, since they require nominations of three current members. And this creates a certain self-selection bias.
Of course, I just moved into the Frat House, so perhaps I'm on a 'Old-School California' kick at the moment. Time will tell!Email This Post!
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