The big concrete letter C on top of the Box Spring Mountains has long been a hallmark of UC Riverside. The constructed letter, built from 1954 to 1957, was kept intact by the continuing efforts of students. Maintaining the C, however, is no easy task. Due to weather erosion and vandalizing visitors, the C is predicted to collapse within the next 10 years.
ASUCR President Sai Patadia, who hiked up to the C a while ago, learned first-hand the condition of the deteriorating concrete structure. As a result, he hoped to find a long-term initiative to sustaining the corroding structure. In the project, student organizations will commit to preserving the nearby environment through community service.
“From my standpoint as a student representative, or even just a student on campus, I want to preserve the C because it is a huge icon for our school. We don’t want to see our C buckling down or being removed. So the (question) that came to me was, ‘How can I fix this and preserve it?’” Patadia expressed.
Some environmentalists and local residents are interested in getting rid of the C altogether. Their concerns are that many students who hike up to the structure often leave trash and broken bottles behind, creating environmental hazards and harming wildlife around the C.
Recognizing the concerns of the opposition, Patadia stated that the effort is more than just “filling up patches, adding up the dirt and concreting certain parts that are falling.”
“We are actually having many student groups that volunteer to hike up to the C bimonthly to clean up the C, like taking trash bags to pick up items and sweep off the dirt, just to keep it tidy and neat,” said Patadia.
Although still in its initial stages, the Physical Plant Department, the UCR Vice Chancellor of Internal Affairs’ office and various student organizations, such as the Hiking Club, have all shown interest in taking part in this new project.
“We are also working with Student Life to create an educational portion during (freshman) orientations specifically about respecting (the C) and the environment around it — no tagging, loitering, etc,” said Patadia.
UCR Hiking Club President Natalie Flens expressed the aligned interests of her club with the efforts of ASUCR.
“Participating in this project is a good way to combine the interests of the organization members while helping the community,” said Flens. “We want to help sustaining the C because it is one of the defining symbols of UCR. We would like to help this project as much as we can.”