The University of California at Berkeley’s “Cal Rally Committee”, a group responsible for the maintenance of many campus traditions, cancelled “The Big Game Bonfire Rally,” a major end-of-Cal-Stanford-Big-Game-Week celebration that features “The Bondfire”, and due to the poor air quality caused by smoke from The Camp Fire. Now, Cal students and alumni are waiting to learn if Cal Athletics and Stanford Athletics will agree to cancel and move the date for The 121st Cal-Stanford Big Game, itself.
The Big Game Rally has been cancelled. The entire @rallycomm year revolves around #BigGameWeek; The Big Game Rally is the culmination of the week. While this was a painful decision, it was the correct one. Even w/o a Big Game Rally, The Spirit of California endures. #GoBears pic.twitter.com/VebRWYPLxC
— Sean “Yoda” Rouse (@seanyodarouse) November 16, 2018
This is the letter that was released by the Cal Rally Committee Thursday evening announcing the decision to terminate The Big Game Bonfire Rally, and posted to Twitter by Sean “Yoda” Rouse at 9:50 PM PST.
Dear Campus Community,
As the ongoing fires across the state of California continue to threaten the homes, safety, and health of innumerous California residents, the UC Rally Committee would first like to offer our sincere condolences to all communities and individuals that have been and continue to be affected by these relentless fires. The tragedy and destruction caused by the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in Southern California have left a strong impact on all Californians, both within and outside our Berkeley community.
In light of these events and the smoke that is directly and severely affecting the air quality on our campus, it is with a heavy heart that we, the UC Rally Committee, have decided to cancel the Big Game Rally that was originally scheduled for Friday November 16, 2018. For the safety and health of the Greek Theatre staff, our committee members, student and alumni performers, supportive campus staff, and the general audience, we could not in good conscious proceed with this year’s Big Game Rally.
Over the past few months, our Executive Committee and campus partners have worked tirelessly to make the Big Game Rally a success. In October, concerns regarding the safety of our traditional Bonfire lead to the creation of a Pyrotechnics Rally in the Greek Theater. Due to the devastation of the current fires, the pyrotechnic aspect was removed from the rally earlier this week and the Committee has been working diligently to attempt to add a laser light show portion to the rally. Over the past day, it has become increasingly evident that any outdoor event would jeopardize the health and safety of the aforementioned groups, and as such, we could not move forward with the Big Game Rally.
The Big Game Bonfire Rally has been a tradition witnessed and upheld by many generations of California Golden Bears, designed to bring the campus together to inspire spirit, pride, and community within our student body. The impact and importance of this rally is held in the highest regard, and we look to continue the tradition of this rally in the future. Although this year’s Big Game Rally will not be happening, this sentiment persists through the support of one another during these tough times. The UC Rally Committee is tremendously proud
to be surrounded by this community of students.
We finally would like to extend our utmost gratitude to all of those who have assisted and supported our endeavors–not only during these trying times but throughout the past decades. While we want to continue to host this event in the years to come–for now, we would like to send our support and love to the communities affected by the wildfires. As the California community unites, we continue to strive to keep the Spirit of California alive.
“Stand for right, let there be light. California here’s to thee.”
-Toast to California (1956)
The UC Rally Committee
As a note, UCLA also cancelled its baby version of Cal’s Bonfire earlier this week.
And I should note that I’m not only a graduate of the Master of City Planning Program at Cal (MCP 1987), I am a former member of the California Alumni Association Board of Directors (1998-2001) and the California Alumni Association Awards Committee (2001-2003).