Higher education is a lucrative industry. Millions of students funnel billions of dollars into universities to not only attain an undergraduate degree but to also live the so-called “college experience.” But just like every other industry, it has been hit hard by the coronavirus, and students are rethinking whether the virtual, online college experience is worth the high price tag.
Enrico Moretti, Professor of Economics, here at UC Berkeley, starts off his book ‘The New Geography of Jobs’ contrasting California’s two cities, Menlo Park and Visalia. Back in 1969, they had comparable income levels and high-paying jobs. But since then, these cities have diverged. Visalia has one of the lowest average salaries in America, while Menlo Park, and the broader Silicon Valley, has the second-highest average salary in the US with its high paying tech employers.
UC Berkeley’s policy decisions this past spring around remote learning in response to the coronavirus pandemic elicited a wide range of reactions from my peers. One of my classmates, Dick, was ecstatic as he opted for the Passed/Not Passed grading option for all of his classes—saving his GPA from completely tanking. Many of my graduating friends, on the other hand, were despondent as their last semester at Berkeley was cut short, leaving them prematurely saying goodbye to all their friends and the place they had called home for four years.
So what is a Flex Format store? They’re smaller Target stores carrying just a fraction of the products of full-line locations, with selections individually tailored to fit the specific needs of the surrounding community. Most include a CVS-branded pharmacy, an order pickup area, customer service, and a Starbucks-branded cafe. Clocking in at just 12,000 square feet, the Berkeley Shattuck location in particular is just 8% of the size of your average 145,000-square-foot Target store. The Shattuck location is one of the smallest in the chain, with typical Flex Format locations ranging from 25,000 to 40,000 square feet. Target seems to be heavily leaning into the Flex Format idea, as nearly all of its store openings planned for the next few years fall within the concept parameters.
If you’re not from a large city, the following sight might be unfamiliar to you: a vendor on a busy street with a stack of newspapers, offering you an issue in exchange for a dollar or two. If you are in Berkeley, the title of that paper will often turn out to be the Street Spirit — the city’s own street paper.