On Friday evenings, the grad students celebrate the arrival of the weekend by eating and drinking somewhere in Berkeley at the Friday Wind Down. The studnets are generally summoned to the wind down (or “wine down” if said quickly) by the cry of a comical email, occasionally including photo-shopped pictures of former Berkeley professors, such as Jerzy Neyman.
Each Tuesday afternoon, members of the department gather for an hour of cookies and pleasant conversation. Some call this gathering “Cookie Hour”. Sometimes, students choose to eat fruit. They are accepted nonetheless.
Once a semester, we host a foosball tournament, where the winner is awarded eternal glory and some chocolate. The tournament is double elimination. Kelly and Steve always win. Free beer and pizza is provided.
There are two major department-wide socializing event with free food, drinks and chance to catch up: the Spring Picnic and the Fall Party.
The Fall Party at Albatross in West Berkeley is typically held some time in November, and involves deep dish pizza from Zachary’s, cake, and a game or two of darts.
The Spring Picnic in Codornices Park in North Berkeley usually takes place one Saturday in April. We usually grill sausages, and play frisbee or soccer. Sometimes we even go on a hike after the picnic.
Each year we have two joint colloquiums between Berkeley and Stanford students, and also one with UC Davis students. Good times are had.
Every year the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly (GA) hosts a welcome back party with yet more free pizza and bear. We usually have a sizable group arriving embarrassingly early to make sure the pizza and beer don’t run out. We then proceed to party the night away…
The yearly bay cruise, also hosted by the GA, involves getting on a large cruise ship for several hours while it sails around the bay. Champagne, beer and fancy nibbles are plentiful, and the flailing limbs indicative of grad students dancing is observed.