Of any of you who saw the Harry Potter movies or read the books, I wonder if you had this atavistic feeling that the ideal college experience was, in a way, captured there. The idea of living and studying with groups of like-minded people surrounded by a long tradition of cultural quirks and intellectual distinction that made it, somehow, magically different from what most college experiences turn out to be--a much bigger high school campus, the only difference being the classes were harder and you (if you were lucky) lived either in the student storage units that we called "dorms" or in off campus in apartments. Either choice was, for the most part, isolating and incohesive.
Now, Bowles hall is reviving that old-time ivy tower campus ideal by providing the means for a formation of a family of fellow students who have access to an in-house library, live-in graduate students, and other academics to aid and guide their college experiences. From the website, this:
"The mission and vision of the Bowles Hall Foundation is to re-establish the Bowles Hall experience in a restored Bowles Hall—breathing life back into a noble dream of a robust residential experience for male and female undergraduate students at UC Berkeley and restoring key aspects of the residential college model and the rich heritage of Bowles Hall".
Today (August 27th) there's going to be a reopening celebration.
Bowles Hall lives large in the history of my family. The photo above is a picture of the heavy brass ashtray representing Bowles Hall that my dad received; a souvenir of the part he played as a housing manager when the castle on the hill reverted to a UC residence hall at or around 1945.
I like to see myself as a "housing manager", providing those wishing to live in the Berkeley area with suitable accommodations. If you want such, or have such to sell, give this long-time east bay native a chance to apply my ample local knowledge to your housing need.