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Home to an institution that attracts the best and brightest from all across the country, and right at the heart of an area that draws in people from places and cultures all across the globe, it really should be no surprise that Berkeley’s culture is hard to sum up—except as a melting pot on the grandest scale. Since its foundation, Berkeley has been a hub of ideas and innovation. It has produced, partially as a result of the constant stream of talent flowing from the university and but also just because of the atmosphere of creativity, fantastic writers, musicians, artists and thinkers; among notable former Berkeley residents are beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Credence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty and legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.
And as is often true with people, with brilliance often come eccentricity—like many of its famous residents, Berkeley itself has earned a reputation for being (depending on who you ask) ahead of its time or just downright wacky. Some examples: Berkeley is officially designated a Nuclear Free Zone, celebrates “Indigenous People’s Day” in the place of Columbus Day, and was the first U.S. city to require its police officers to hold a college degree.