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UCSD Sees Huge Crush Of Students On First Day Of School

 September 24, 2021 at 12:19 PM PDT

Speaker 1: (00:01)

UC San Diego comes roaring back with a record breaking fall semester.

Speaker 2: (00:05)

People really, really want to be on UC campuses and UC San Diego has been one of the places that's had more room to grow.

Speaker 1: (00:12)

I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid-day edition, A preview of the first San Diego tennis open.

Speaker 3: (00:28)

This is just going to inspire, motivate. Are you for the tennis community to be able to have layers just feet away, you know, right in front of you to play. I think it's going to be a huge experience and just promote the game of tennis.

Speaker 1: (00:41)

A new work at LA Jolla Playhouse and a garden party anniversary on our weekend preview that's ahead. On mid day edition.

Speaker 1: (01:02)

After a year of virtual classes, you see San Diego came roaring back this week, welcoming in-person what could be the largest number of fall semester students in its history. You see San Diego is projecting that when the final count is in a record, 41,000 students are attending this fall. Now that the campus, which was a virtual ghost town last year is teaming with students and faculty many say there's a sense of relief and excitement as the semester begins, but COVID precautions are still in place from masks to outdoor tent classrooms. And joining me is San Diego union Tribune reporter Gary Robbins, Gary. Welcome.

Speaker 2: (01:43)

Hi, it's good to hear your voice

Speaker 1: (01:45)

Now, starting an in-person semester would be a big enough advance for UC San Diego, but the largest fall semester class in its history. What's the reason for that record amount of students.

Speaker 2: (01:57)

There are several reasons are more cyclical. Students in California are meeting the eligibility requirements for the university of California system. And you know, they're banging on the doors they want in, in recent years, the state's population also is grown quite a bit. So put those two together and you have just a lot more demand. And it's also the reputation of the university of California system and its campuses. It's a well-known brand. People really, really want to be on UC campuses. And UC San Diego has been one of the places that have been more room to grow. So a lot of the growth has been occurring there.

Speaker 1: (02:30)

I watched the mood on campus with students back for in-person instruction.

Speaker 2: (02:34)

It was like a excited but anxious. I was there yesterday at 9:00 AM. I have never seen that many people, that the university, there are places there that look like a street corner in downtown New York city. I talked to a lot of students and faculty. They were really excited to be there because of the growth and the opportunity to study in person instead of by zoom.

Speaker 1: (02:54)

And tell us about the 10 classrooms. Yeah, so they

Speaker 2: (02:57)

Have several all over campus. So instead I came over the past year because they did offer some in-person classes at the university, but they put them in these like almost like circus, like tents, outdoors that were really well ventilated that gave them a chance to get some students in front of teachers. They kept the tents because they didn't know what was going to happen. This phone, like, I mean, we had a surge over the summer. It was just really uncertain. Plus frankly, they needed the, the additional room. So many people are coming onto the campus. That space is very, very tight.

Speaker 1: (03:25)

Now everyone on campus has to show proof of vaccination, but of course there are breakthrough cases. How much testing is underway there.

Speaker 2: (03:33)

It was extraordinary. Um, so if you were going into campus housing, you had to be tested roughly 12,000 undergraduates were tested over the past two weeks. Only 13 proved to be positive, but that's not the end of it. They have to be tested at the five day mark. And then at the 10 day mark. So they're keeping very close watch on that. Anybody who uses the campus, if they're a student, faculty or staff member has to be, um, has to be vaccinated. And they've been, um, uh, you know, unfortunately that very strongly, the university says they're getting really strong compliance. So between the testing and the backs of nation, the university has a very low infection rate.

Speaker 1: (04:08)

Now, uh, you said that, um, the students and, and faculty in particular w told you that they were really so happy that this was an in-person class and not learning remotely, because there were a lot of problems that faculty picked up on in their remote classes. There's a survey that found that they believe student understanding of class material actually decreased last year. Is that right?

Speaker 2: (04:30)

And that is right. In fact, I talked to an engineering professor yesterday, who was saying how frustrated she was to have to teach remotely because a lot of students wouldn't turn on their camera while they were attending class. So there's the faculty member couldn't see the student's face. And a lot of students did that. So she would be looking at a screen and not seeing most of her students. And there would be times where she would ask a question, but a lot of students simply wouldn't respond because they didn't want their face to come up on the screen, which is what happens with audio. So she couldn't read people. Now, she had a big class yesterday over 200 students. And she told me that even with masks on, she could now read facial expressions. So people standing in front of her and then made the whole process so much more effective.

Speaker 1: (05:14)

And a similar survey found that cheating increased last year with remote learning.

Speaker 2: (05:19)

Yeah. Because other students, um, could use any number of computers to go on, not in a use certain services that compile homework, for example. And in some cases what tests are like. So that was very hard for the unit, the university to monitor, you know, it was an honor system and you had just a lot of kids that were living at home with our parents in a room or a couch surfing. And there really was no one to closely watch what they were doing. For example, while they were taking tests. And the faculty member said that they felt that there was a significant increase in cheating.

Speaker 1: (05:50)

Is there any plan in place to shift back to remote learning? If the county starts to see a surge in cases in the coming months, there is

Speaker 2: (05:57)

A it's already in place, you know, the ready to go with that happens. They're hoping that it doesn't, but you know, they you'll remember that the university like others change very rapidly. So they're ready to do it. There's a cultural imperative, almost not to do it. You see San Diego is not big on online education. They've built this massive internet infrastructure and they want people to come there. They think of the most effective thing, but if there's a big outbreak that threatens what's going on, they will shift a lot of classes back online.

Speaker 1: (06:25)

Now you see San Diego is looking forward to a big event in November of, with which will increase access to the campus. Tell us about,

Speaker 2: (06:33)

So on November 21, the blue line trolley service will begin operating. And as you know, there are a couple of stops at the university. Um, the one, the main one near that near the library, they expect to bring in about 4,000 people per day. So that'll bring in not only students, but members of the public and the university is trying to reach out to the public to get them more involved in the university. As you know, the university is kind of an island in a sense, there's the ocean on one side of freeway on another, you know, a golf course on another, and you can't really see the university very well. And so that's led to a distancing between the campus and the community and the campus is trying to break that down by saying, please come to this university. And they're building all kinds of amenities to draw people like a major amphitheater under construction right now, new restaurants are opening up. The arts program is going to be much more intense. The university has gone to division one and basketball when they want the public to come on. So they're seeking a different relationship and that's going to mean over time. There will be a lot more people on campus.

Speaker 1: (07:26)

I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune, reporter Gary Robbins, Gary, thank you so much. You're

Speaker 2: (07:31)


Speaker 1: (07:41)

The biggest professional tennis tournament in San Diego history is being served up next week. Some notable international and local players are slated to be on the courts. KPBS reporter. Melissa May gives us a preview of the first San Diego.

Speaker 4: (07:57)

The barns tennis center in point Loma had just five weeks to organize and prepare the first ever association of tennis professionals. Torney in San Diego from September 27th to October 3rd, tennis fans have the chance to see some of the best male tennis players in the world compete in the San Diego open

Speaker 5: (08:16)

Sports community in San Diego. It's a big deal.

Speaker 4: (08:18)

Jack McGrory is the co-chair of the tournament and an avid tennis player. He tells us how the ATP finally selected San Diego to host an ATP tournament

Speaker 5: (08:27)

And the Chinese part of the tour. We got canceled because of the pandemic they called us and said, will you please post an ATP tournament? So we can keep the players working, earning Bryce plates

Speaker 3: (08:37)

And the ATP granted several one-year license to tournaments. And we were so fortunate to get

Speaker 4: (08:44)

Ryan Redondo is the barns tennis center, general manager and San Diego open tournament director. He says, every seat is a good one.

Speaker 3: (08:52)

Courts. The weather, there is not one seat in this facility. So it's just going to be awesome. This center court right now holds 2000 people. Our second court will hold about 400. So we have a lot of people that can come through

Speaker 4: (09:06)

Youth tennis, San Diego owns and operates the center and is dedicated to promoting the development of all youth through organized tennis clinics for kids are scheduled throughout the tournament. And many of the young athletes will be sitting in the stands or serving as ball girls and boys.

Speaker 3: (09:22)

I was just going to inspire, motivate our youth for the tennis community to be able to have layers just feet away, you know, right in front of you to play. I think it's going to be a huge experience and just promote the game of tennis and our city.

Speaker 4: (09:36)

This men's professional tournament will feature a 28 player singles draw and a 16 team doubles draw. A total of $600,000 in prize. Money is up for grabs.

Speaker 3: (09:46)

You're going to have great food, a great atmosphere, music, merchandise to buy concessions and great weather. San Diego,

Speaker 4: (09:53)

Hundreds of jobs were created to put on a tournament of this size from construction to concessions. Plus hundreds of volunteers are needed to help this tournament run smoothly besides creating jobs for the community. The tournament will help the local economy to

Speaker 3: (10:07)

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are going to go into the, into the city just by bringing this one week tournament in. So it's a huge boost to the city. It's a huge booster point Loma ocean beach downtown. And you know, it's, it's, it's so positive for the city

Speaker 4: (10:21)

Player set to appear, include Andrei. Rublev currently the number five player in the world. And

Speaker 3: (10:26)

The big one is Andy Murray. Everybody's really excited about Andy multi grand slam champion gold medalist. So we're really looking forward to having him here. The talent is the best in the world. It's what you see on the U S open. And all of these guys will be then going on to Indian Wells,

Speaker 4: (10:41)

Three local tennis players will have the opportunity to play in front of a hometown crowd, including branded Nakashima. Who's currently ranked 85th in the world. He had some tennis balls on the deck of the USS midway to promote the San Diego open and show the ATP support for the military community

Speaker 6: (10:57)

To be able to come up here and even to hit some tennis balls up here, it's such a cool experience.

Speaker 4: (11:02)

The tournament will be having a military appreciation day on September 29th. Nakashima is constantly traveling to different tennis. Tournament's all over the world. He's looking forward to sleeping in his own bed for a change.

Speaker 6: (11:14)

It's a good feeling coming back home and, and being able to play professional tournament close by where I grew up and where I've trained as a junior. It's really cool to see. And it's a, it's going to be great to have all my, my family and friends, uh, come out and support

Speaker 4: (11:29)

The Rancho Santa Fe high bluff academy graduate plans on being a part of the youth clinics. As much as he can. The tournament will feature two sessions a day. The day session starts at 11:30 AM and a night session starts at 5:30 PM. Free shuttles are being provided from Liberty station to the Barnes tennis center for both the day and night sessions, masks are required on the shuttle, but not at the venue. Melissa Mae

Speaker 1: (11:53)

KPBS news qualifying mattress for the tournament will be held at the barns tennis center this weekend. And we're told there are still tickets available for that. And every session of the tournament to This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This weekend in the arts, the LA Jolla Playhouse opens a new commission. There's a concert from Bodhi tree, a garden anniversary party at art produce and a re-imagined contemporary art space opens in Belle boa park with augmented reality coyotes journey me with all the details is KPBS arts editor, Julia Dixon Evans, and welcome Julia.

Speaker 7: (12:43)

Hi Maureen. Thanks for having me. The new

Speaker 1: (12:46)

Institute of contemporary arts, San Diego officially opens its spelled boa park campus this weekend with a new exhibition and an opening reception tonight. Tell us about it,

Speaker 7: (12:57)

Right? This is the merger of lucks art Institute that which was Encinitas. And they were really focused on bringing, bringing the public and the artists together into the artistic process, through things like residences and education. And then also with San Diego art Institute, which is this big exhibition space, right in Balboa park. And they're merging together as an ICA Institute of contemporary art. So they're really looking to invite the whole region into exploring contemporary art in meaningful and more accessible ways. And it's exciting to see this open up, especially because it adds to the list of museums in bubble park that are free to the public. The first artist on view is Mexican conceptual artists, Gabrielle Rico, and EAs put together this pretty immersive exhibition, full of neon and taxidermy on loan from the Nat. And then a lot of stuff that looks like it might be trash. I like every other week ago. And I, I talked to him earlier this year said that this is his way of making work. That significant to a place.

Speaker 8: (14:02)

If you see a Coca-Cola bottle, you can define a precise, uh, spacetime situation just because before a certain point in time is very known that the humans cannot have the capacity to manipulate or create. Last. Another example is a CD or a USB port. You can, uh, construct and history. In my case, I construct pieces of art.

Speaker 7: (14:32)

One of my favorite works is an augmented reality coyote that you can follow around the exhibition. It's very cute. And my point is that it, it really forced me to interact with the exhibition in a totally different way.

Speaker 1: (14:46)

There's a ticket opening reception tonight at the new ICA San Diego central and Belle boa park. That's from six to 9:00 PM. And then the museum is open Saturday and Sunday from noon to five with free admission. Next step Bodhi tree concerts are celebrating 10 years. Tell us about this performance.

Speaker 7: (15:07)

This is a collection of so many of Bodie trees past collaborators. The list is really long, but Irvin Flores and Rob Thorson, there's Brendan Winn and Leslie Latham. And then Ken Anderson and Dale Fleming from the Martin Luther king Jr community choir, who we heard this week in our summer music series, we are listening to a clip of Fleming singing, strange fruit with Anderson on piano that they had performed with podiatry last year.

Speaker 9: (15:34)


Speaker 1: (15:41)

Bodhi tree concerts. We'll perform Saturday at 7:00 PM at St. James by the sea of Piskel church in LA Jolla in theater LA Jolla Playhouse has just opened a new world. Premier play by Charlayne Woodard. Tell us about the garden.

Speaker 7: (15:57)

Yeah, this is a Playhouse commission and Charlene Woodard also co-stars in it. It's about an aging black mother and her daughter who was played by Woodard and they have been estranged for years and the play is set right when they reconcile. They're standing at the garden gate and this reunion is far from sweet and easy. The women are fighters and they have years of issues and secrets and history to unpack. But this is not only a beautiful script, but it's also a really lush set. I'm so excited to see a big theater sets back.

Speaker 1: (16:33)

The garden runs through October 17th at LA Jolla Playhouse. This weekend performances are tonight at 8:00 PM and Saturday at two and 8:00 PM. Art produce is a small but mighty Artspace in north park. And they're celebrating their 21st anniversary this weekend with a garden party and dance music and poetry performances, as well as a new exhibition. Julia, tell us who all is involved in this

Speaker 7: (17:01)

Right there. They're actually opening this huge exhibition of work of more than 20 artists to celebrate more than 20 years. And it's all their artists, people who've exhibited with art produce or been artists and residents over the years. Uh, there's really beautiful wire sculpture work from an mage PaperCut from Bhavna Metta, textile work from Katie Ruiz and so much more clients Swanger Alessandra Moctezuma are on the list. And this exhibition will be on view through the end of October, but Saturday nights, garden party is your chance to see it. First. It's an adults only gala style event, and the tickets are $50 and you'll be treated to craft food and cocktails poetry from Ted Washington and disco riot will also be there doing some dance performances and also some music from the Sue Palmer quartet. I will leave you with Sue Palmer's soundtrack to a B-movie from her gems volume two compilation

Speaker 9: (18:04)


Speaker 1: (18:19)

The art produced garden party takes place Saturday from five to 8:00 PM. Regular free gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 6:00 PM for details on all these events and more, or to sign up for Julia's weekly arts newsletter go to I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer, Julian Dixon, Evans, and Julia. Thank you. Thank

Speaker 7: (18:45)

You, Maureen. Have a good weekend.

After a year of virtual classes, UC San Diego came roaring back this week in-person, welcoming what could be the largest number of fall semester students in its history. Plus, The biggest professional tennis tournament in San Diego history is being served up next week. And, this weekend in the arts: a 21st birthday party (and exhibition) for Art Produce, Bodhi Tree Concerts, art meets science at La Jolla Historical Society, “The Garden” and Burn All Books + Teros.

After a year of virtual classes, UC San Diego came roaring back this week in-person, welcoming what could be the largest number of fall semester students in its history. Plus, The biggest professional tennis tournament in San Diego history is being served up next week. And, this weekend in the arts: a 21st birthday party (and exhibition) for Art Produce, Bodhi Tree Concerts, art meets science at La Jolla Historical Society, “The Garden” and Burn All Books + Teros.