Hello everyone! I am Wen Min Chen, the vice president of the Caltech Y excomm, as Laura mentioned in her first blog post. I hold the Caltech Y near and dear to my heart, since it has allowed me to experience things I probably wouldn’t have at other universities. After all, the Caltech Y is devoted to giving students opportunities to explore life outside the Caltech bubble. The Caltech Y has a lot of programs that can be grouped under five main categories: educational programs, outdoor adventures, community service, social activities, and cultural events. There’s always something that will interest the average student here!
I particularly like the community service and social activities aspects of the Y. Some of my favorite memories from last year included planning the Community Service and Advocacy Fair, often abbreviated to CSA Fair since it’s quite a mouthful! For the uninitiated, the CSA Fair is something the Y organizes every year, and we invite a lot of local organizations to raise awareness about different causes and volunteering opportunities that undergraduates and graduates can participate in. To sweeten the deal, the Y offered free boba, a popular type Taiwanese tea-based drink, in exchange for talking with several representatives. The fair is great way for many students to start thinking about Make a Difference Day, an event that the Caltech Y holds in the spring that encourages the Caltech community to volunteer. Make a Difference Day will be mentioned later since it’s a huge event that deserves its own post.
Planning the Fair was pretty awesome. My favorite part was ordering the boba; we ordered 125 cups, an insane amount for someone who has only had it occasionally. Carrying it over was a lot of work as it was pretty heavy, but I really enjoyed talking to the organizations and chatting with students about which organizations they found the most interesting
A small fraction of the boba we ordered. Boba, also known as bubble tea, is made with tea, milk, a sweetener like sugar or honey, and tapioca pearls. It’s an interesting contrast between the chewy pearls and the sweet tea, and I initally didn’t like it. Now I’m a huge fan!
A view of the Fair. We held it during lunch time so people could learn about the organizations on their way to lunch.
My favorite part about Caltech is the Houses! The easiest way to describe them is as Hogwarts houses: each has their own personality and group of people and the first thing you do at Caltech is go through a “sorting” process. The people are what makes the Houses at Caltech so great. As a frosh, it’s amazing to be able to come in and immediately have a group of 100+ people to support you. Because the Houses have students from every grade, you make friends with upperclassmen and can ask for help on tons of things like:
It’s crazy to think that it has been four years now since I was applying to college. I remember it vividly. This week we’re spending some time reflecting on our personal admissions processes, and how we ended up at Caltech. There’s one question though that I wanted to spin out into a separate post: “what advice would you give to the admitted class of 2025?” And I think the best way to do this is to tell a more detailed story than I did in my other post.
These past six months have been a whirlwind- from having to move out of Caltech housing in March within a week’s notice due to COVID-19, to starting the first term of my junior year, I’ve definitely experienced a lot of change. When I went home in March, it was to a completely new state-my family moved from Chino, CA to New Jersey in January (great timing, huh?). While I missed seeing my friends from home, it was fun to have the chance to explore a completely new place. The pandemic obviously limited what I could see and do, but I got to experience walks through nature and along rivers normally foreign to a SoCal native and had some time to focus on bioinformatics research for the lab I work with on campus.