1 | 2 |
3 | 4 |
5 | 6 |
7 | 8
2001 was a milestone quarter, not only for the students
many of them had never been to Washington but for the program
itself. It marked the inauguration of the new $37-million University
of California Washington Center, an 11-story, 106,000-square-foot
building in Washington's trendy Dupont Circle neighborhood, a Mecca
for young professionals. For the first time, all 223 students participating
in similar programs from eight UC campuses had the chance to live
and learn together in the heart of the nation's capital. Previously,
students lived in apartments in suburban Virginia and commuted into
the city for classes or sightseeing.
greatest advantage of having the building which is to be
officially dedicated April 23 is that students no longer
have to commute 20 to 45 minutes on the Metro subway, says Larry
Berman, a UC Davis political science professor and director of the
UC Washington Center. Not only do students not have to take the
Metro late at night, but they can also grab a bite to eat in their
rooms equipped with full kitchens - before heading to the
computer lab or a class. "It's changed their whole essence,"
Berman says. "That, to me, is the biggest change. Everything
the building is like a miniature UC. While administrators paired
students from the same campus as roommates, they mixed students
from different campuses together on each floor. Although security
is tight these days, the atmosphere in the building is casual. It's
not unusual to see students at work in the computer lab late at
night wearing slippers, or wandering the halls in their pajamas.
"This is their home," Berman emphasizes. "There is
no dress code. Even I come down to my office in slippers sometimes."
informality and accessibility "is really great," says
philosophy major Melody Ehsani '02, who interned with the Lawyers
Committee for Human Rights. "For the first time, I have really
been able to establish a relationship with my professor, and I feel
that he cares about what we do." The experience, she says,
has been highly "interactive."