After an 18-month break, in-person campus tours resumed this week

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Framed by blue skies, eclectic architecture and towering redwood and eucalyptus trees, dozens of prospective students and their families got a taste of life at UC Berkeley as in-person campus walking tours resumed this week after an 18-month hiatus.

In a typical August, hundreds of potential Berkeleyans and their families would be milling across campus. This year, as the campus eases into normal operations after the COVID-19 pandemic, a handful of tours are kicking off near California Memorial Stadium.

And the tours, like Berkeley, are popular. So far, campus organizers have received more than 3,000 family requests for in-person tours in August and September.

Tuesday’s tour members included visitors from as far afield as Illinois, New Jersey and the United Kingdom. Starting at the Koret Visitor Center at California Memorial Stadium, the 90-minute expedition wound north then west around contemporary and historic halls of academia and famous landmarks before ending at Sproul Plaza for a Q&A about UC Berkeley’s admissions process.

Wearing one yellow and one blue sneaker, campus ambassador KC Hunt walked backward as he pointed out campus gems, and told of Berkeley’s legendary coups, curses and rivalries, like the Big Game axe and a tall tale about how stepping on the university seal next to Memorial Glade can ruin one’s chances of a 4.0 GPA.

Among other things, visitors learned about residence hall life, Berkeley spirit, the best places to eat, the peregrine falcons nesting atop the Campanile, Nobelist car and bicycle parking spots and the Main Stacks, one of the world’s largest academic library complexes, which includes miles of bookshelves located 60 feet underground.