This event counts a little as an on-campus and off-campus adventure. The Pasadena Playhouse, about a mile from campus, is currently running a play called “The Originalist,” about the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia was a proponent of Originalism, a constitutional interpretation that rose in popularity while he was on the bench. The Caltech Center for Diversity (CCD) arranged 50 tickets for Caltech community members. Wouldn’t you know it, but the play on that night was followed by a discussion led by Caltech History professor Dr. Kousser, who is teaching the Supreme Court History class I am currently taking. What luck! :P
So, everyone in my class signed up to get tickets from the CCD and saw the show. The Playhouse is beautiful (I’d never been there before this show), and we hung around outside a little bit before and after the show. The play itself was interesting. It explored Scalia’s ideology by giving him a fictional liberal clerk who challenged him in chambers and worked on his opinions. The play didn’t delve much into her (the clerk’s) ideology, but it was a good method of teasing out Scalia’s ideas without preaching directly to the audience.
It also so happened that that day was “Give a Shirt Day” on campus. The CCD organizes free tshirts and tank tops every April to celebrate “Gaypril,” and we all wear the shirts on the same day to show support for the Caltech LGBTQ+ community.
It was a somewhat ironic show of support at a play about Justice Scalia, but whatever!
One of the most exciting aspects of college life is the freedom that students enjoy when living on their own. When most students think about college life, one of the first things that comes to mind is Greek life, with the many sororities and fraternities on campuses across the country. While Caltech does not have Greek life, per se, we do have a unique housing system, similar to that of Hogwarts. There are eight houses and one residence on campus: Avery, Blacker, Dabney, Fleming, Lloyd, Page, Ricketts, Ruddock, and the Bechtel Residence. Each of the houses has its own unique culture, character, and traditions. I am a member of Ruddock House!
This past year was so different than most of us could have ever imagined. Living in “the virtual school year” posed a plethora of challenges, but at the same time, it opened the door to new possibilities. As a society, we learned how to better operate in a virtual world, and as individuals, we had time for new endeavors. For myself, this meant taking the leap of faith to move away from home and live with some fellow Techers. While I had already had the experience of moving away from home and coming to live in the Caltech houses, this was quite different. Instead of living in organized student residences with hundreds of other students, a meal plan, and tons of support resources, I was about to go live with just 5 other people (some of which I did not know super well) and we had to find and manage our own housing, food, and necessities.
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: