Free Public Tours Highlight Art, Architecture and History of UC San Diego
- Erika Johnson
- Erika Johnson - email@example.com
- Erika Johnson
Every Sunday afternoon, the local community is invited to explore the University of California, San Diego’s unique architecture, public art collection and vibrant living and learning neighborhoods. Free public tours are hosted weekly by the UC San Diego Visitor’s Tour Program for the general public. The two-hour tours highlight the history of the university and its role in the biotech boom; the evolution of UC San Diego’s six colleges; its green building designs and strategies; and other notable points of interest across the 1,200-acre campus.
Three types of tours are available, and all take place from 2-4 p.m. on Sundays. Walking Tours take visitors into the heart of campus, where they can get an up-close look at Geisel Library and site-specific sculptures from the world-renowned Stuart Collection. Bus Tours offer a comprehensive look at the university, circumnavigating the entire periphery, with stops including Scripps Institution of Oceanography and east campus medical facilities. The Green Building Tour is held quarterly—the next one happening March 13—and showcases how the campus’s LEED-certified buildings (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) creatively employ sustainable design techniques and energy-efficient strategies.
Tours are led by a team of knowledgeable adult volunteer guides. One of the newest, Ella Goldweber, offers a glimpse of what visitors can expect on a tour.
“Even those who are familiar with UC San Diego oftentimes learn things they didn’t know about the university after taking the tour. Our guides are very enthusiastic and encourage interactivity and questions,” said Goldweber. “The bus tours are a nice ride around the entire periphery, while the walking tours are an enjoyable Sunday stroll through the heart of campus, with a chance to see pieces from the Stuart Collection.”
She notes that the campus tours are great for those who live in the community but may not have attended UC San Diego, or those who retired in San Diego and might not know much about the university.
It is also an opportunity for people visiting the area to explore the art and architecture, and a chance for parents to expose their young children to a college campus.
Her favorite story to share is about Maria Goeppert-Mayer. “A brilliant physicist, she and her husband, Joseph Mayer, were both university professors,” explained Goldweber. “Although she was highly regarded, she never was paid until she was hired at UC San Diego in 1960 as a founding faculty member in the department of physics. She went on to win the Nobel Prize in physics in 1963, one of only two women in history to have garnered the award.”
Goldweber has a nearly 25-year connection with UC San Diego. She was a social worker at the UC San Diego Medical Center in the Neonatal Intensive Care Center, where she provided psycho-social counseling for parents with very sick premature newborns due to genetic problems or pregnancy complications.
“It was challenging but very rewarding to be able to provide hope to vulnerable parents—miraculous things happened all the time,” said Goldweber.
Working at the Hillcrest hospital location, Goldweber explained that she did not know much about the main campus. She wanted to learn more about UC San Diego’s history and give back, which is why she decided to volunteer as a tour guide in June 2014.
The next tour available, a walking tour, will take place on March 6. A Green Building Tour follows the week after, on March 13. For the full schedule of tours and to register, visit the UC San Diego Visitor’s Tour Program website here.
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