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Beach Party and Volunteer50 Service Project Combine at ‘Meet the Beach’

Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Bright green towels covered the beach near Scripps Pier Saturday for Meet the Beach, the finale event to UC San Diego’s Welcome Week. Approximately 3,500 students turned out to enjoy surf lessons, beach games, music and giveaways—like the UC San Diego Recreation beach towels. Now in its fifth year, Meet the Beach is a widely popular campus tradition that gives new students a taste of the recreation activities available at UC San Diego.

This year’s highlights included offerings by Scripps Institution of Oceanography—pier tours, tide pool tours and a behind-the-scenes tour of Birch Aquarium—all of which were filled to capacity. The surfing dogs, “Dozer and Kalani,” also drew large crowds and lines to participate in kayak and surf lessons crisscrossed the beach.

Daniel Juarez, a freshman at Muir College, noted that one of the best parts about Welcome Week and Meet the Beach has been getting to know people in his residence hall. “I really like my building,” he said.  “It’s been a lot of fun spending time with my new housemates.”

Following sessions of yoga and zumba, the main stage was turned over to Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla, who addressed students and announced the kickoff of this year’s Volunteer50 initiative. The volunteer challenge, which encourages students, staff, faculty, alumni and campus friends to perform 50 hours or more of community service during the academic year, began in 2010 as part of the university’s 50th Anniversary celebration and is continuing under Khosla’s leadership.

“In about four years, you will leave this place and it will be better off than when you arrived,” said Khosla. “And it starts with today.” Khosla also pointed out that UC San Diego is ranked the No. 1 university in the country by Washington Monthly for its commitment to service and positive impact on society. Then, he invited students to join Volunteer50 and the Surfrider Foundation in a beach cleanup.

Equipped with buckets, litter pickers and plastic gloves, volunteers broke into teams and spread out along the beach. Community members, alumni and staff joined new students in the service project. Less than an hour later, volunteers had filled dozens of buckets, separating the recyclables from the trash.

“I never thought about how much this school focuses on making our world better,” said Sheena Glaser, a transfer student at Warren College. “With the climate change research at Scripps, Volunteer50 and even the housing—I live in the Ecoflats at the Village—this really is an eco-friendly campus.”

At the end of the day, the crowded beach emptied out as students lined up to ride the shuttles back to campus. “I’m always impressed by how polite, patient and respectful the students are,” said Jan Stamm, marketing director for UC San Diego Recreation. “There are no tickets or wristbands required to access the event, and the lines get long for lunch and some of the activities. Yet, in the past five years we have never had trouble with the crowds. I think that speaks to the fun, healthy, active nature of the event and to the character of UC San Diego students.”

To register for Volunteer50, browse service opportunities and log your hours, visit volunteer50.ucsd.edu. For more information about UC San Diego Recreation, visit recreation.ucsd.edu