My mother, like most good Jewish mothers, is a master at the rare art of the
newspaper clip-and-send. Now, this is not as easy
as it sounds. It takes years of practice to properly master this
tradition, which has now been passed down from mother to daughter
for generations of scissor-bearing, paper-cutting
. And, while this tradition is not limited only to
Jewish mothers, in my experience, Jewish mothers tend to be
especially adept at inspiring equal parts productivity and guilt via the random mailing of a newspaper clipping
from last week’s Times. You see, these clippings are
rarely as benign as mere funny comics or that other great clipping
realm of Jewish mothers — the coupon. No, the clippings my mother
sends me are largely of the


That’s why, when I recently received an envelope — thick with
the telltale bulge of a newspaper clipping and covered in my
mother’s unique combination of script and hurried scribbling —
bearing my parents’ return address, I opened it with that special
combination of dread and excitement that only years of receiving
similar “gifts” from my mother and grandmother could inspire. This
time, however, things were different. This time, I hit on the holy
grail of maternal clippings material — that rare and amazing gem of
an article that, rather than tout the benefits of something else
that would require me to waste some of my precious few sleeping
hours researching, actually made me feel better about my life. It
was like praise, validation, and motherly pride all rolled up in a
big bundle of newsprint.

This article, clipped from the Wall Street Journal‘s
Weekend Journal Edition from November 10, was titled “Beyond
Berkeley,” and it focused on how increasing numbers of college
applicants are choosing increasingly selective state schools rather
than the more expensive private universities they would have
attended in the past. And right there, mixed in with the Bulldogs
of the University of Georgia, the Fighting Gamecocks of the
University of South Carolina, and Bucky the Badger up in Wisconsin,
was our very own UCSB. With a picture of Storke
, majestic against a perfect blue sky and some
perfect student bodies parading around in shorts,
UCSB was literally sitting pretty in the WSJ‘s list of the
“Up and Comers: Eight schools that are raising the bar.”

The little box dedicated to UCSB touted our average applicant’s
GPA — 3.98 in 2006 to be exact — our relatively reasonable
out-of-state tuition, and the more than $400 million the school is
currently pouring into construction on campus. Plus, they mentioned
the fact that five UCSB faculty members have won Nobel
in the past eight years. Pretty impressive overall,
and who knew all that obnoxious construction noise and all those
inconvenient detours would pay off with a mention in a prestigious
newspaper? And guess what they didn’t mention? Nowhere in the
article was a single comment about the UCSB party scene, a
condemnation of our Halloween celebration, or a derisive remark
about our proximity to the beach and proclivity for the
sun-and-surf lifestyle. In fact, the mention of UCSB in the article
— although small — was one of the most positive pieces of press
I’ve seen about our school, other than the stuff the school puts
out itself. Thanks Mom.

And, while we’re on the subject of school pride … guess who got
to see Jon Stewart live in his only West Coast
appearance at their very own Thunderdome? UCSB students. Granted,
the packed — and I mean packed, I haven’t seen the Thunderdome that
full in my entire UCSB career — audience had its fair share of
out-of-towners, older local residents, and City College kids. But,
for the most part, the Gaucho pride was out in all
of its glory on Saturday night, as Stewart spoke to a resounding
Thunderdome stomp that echoed through the cavernous building every
time he made a good point or a great joke. In fact, I don’t think
I’ve ever seen or felt more Gaucho pride coursing through that
place — and my own veins — since I started as a wide-eyed freshman
three years ago. And, damn did we have good reason to stomp.


Forget being able to study buzzed, mastering
the art of casual sex and beer, and all the other
lovely acronyms people have attached to UCSB in the past few years.
This weekend, thanks to Jon Stewart, the WSJ, and the slowly
but surely shifting tide of people’s perceptions of UCSB, I finally
felt like I was attending the University of California at Santa
Barbara — a place where the partying is as hard as the studying,
the sun is almost always shining, and the students have real
reasons to be proud of what goes on both on and off campus at one
of the eight best up-and-coming universities in the nation. Being a
devout liberal and coming off of an “I just saw Jon Stewart” high,
I never thought I’d say this, but here it goes — amen, Wall
Street Journal
, amen.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.