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Cal Parents Ambassador Newsletter – January 2019


January 2019 Cal Parents Ambassador Newsletter

Greetings parent ambassadors and welcome to 2019! We hope your student is thriving in their new semester at Cal. Please read on to learn of many opportunities this spring to engage with prospective and incoming Cal families. Thanks for all that you do for Berkeley!

If you haven’t yet, please fill out this volunteer interest form; we’ll make note of your participation preferences for 2019. Download the Cal Parents Ambassador Handbook for further detail on volunteer opportunities.

Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship Interviews – Volunteers Needed in Berkeley and Irvine! 

The Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship is the highest academic honor awarded to undergraduates from California. These stellar applicants are the first to be offered admission at Berkeley. Volunteers are needed to staff an informational table and answer questions from parents while their children are being interviewed by faculty. Help Berkeley continue to recruit the best and the brightest! You do not have to be a parent of an RC Scholar to volunteer.

To sign up, click below on the date/location of your choice. Berkeley interviews will be held on campus. SoCal interviews will be held in Irvine only this year.

March 1 – 3: Irvine Embassy Suites

March 7 – 8:  Berkeley Campus

Special Valentine’s Day Volunteer Opportunity to Engage with Students – Volunteers Needed in Berkeley!

Student Affairs is hosting a Cal Social Good/Share the Love tabling event at the ASUC Student Union on February 14 from 11:00am – 2:00pm to feature student groups whose service projects create a social impact beyond the Cal community. Students will vote for the program they feel most deserving of complimentary tickets from United Airlines, a partner of Cal’s Social Good Program. Volunteers are needed to pass out swag, assist with photo taking, and facilitate onsite voting. To volunteer, contact Kirk Robles in Student Affairs at Go Bears! 

Seize the Moment – Big Give Is March 14 – Volunteers Needed in Berkeley!

Big Give, Cal’s annual day-of-giving is March 14. Join us in Berkeley for our first-ever parent text-a-thon, and personally reach out to fellow Cal parents to rally their support of our extraordinary students and faculty.

Volunteers are needed for the parent text-a-thon from 10am to 3pm in our downtown Berkeley office on March 14. Texting will be done from university laptops (not your individual phones), and we will train and guide you every step of the way!

YOU are the most compelling advocate of giving in the eyes of fellow Cal parents, and we need YOUR help to grow parent participation in Big Give!

Please give to the Cal Parents Fund during Big Give (the Cal Parents Board will provide a $10,000 Big Match when 120 gifts are made to the Parents Fund!), post on social media to encourage others to give, and if you’re available, join us in Berkeley at the parent text-a-thon.

Thanks for your help in making this the biggest Big Give ever for Cal parents!

Save the Date – Cal Day is April 13 – Early Volunteer Registration

Join the fun at our campus wide open house! Cal Day 2019 will showcase the best of Berkeley to thousands of newly admitted students and their families. Ambassadors may direct guests to their Stadium seats for the Chancellor’s morning address, and/or engage and inform prospective and incoming parents throughout the day, which runs from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. Sign up now via our volunteer interest form and stay tuned for further details. 

Nominate Your Student to be a GBO Student Leader Today!

Another cohort of new Berkeley students participated in Golden Bear Orientation this week and were welcomed to the Cal campus. Since its 2017 inception, GBO has powerfully cultivated community and oriented incoming students to Berkeley life. GBO student leaders are key to this success. If you would like your student nominated to be a leader for Fall GBO (August 21-27), please email Rose Hsu by February 6Orientation Leaders will receive real-world leadership experience; professional/career development; campus recognition (including a reception with the Chancellor); plus free Cal gear and memories to last a lifetime. The position is open to undergraduate students of all colleges, majors, and personal attributes.
Click here to view a short, inspiring video from Fall 2018 GBO. GO Bears!

Thanksgiving Tradition at The Graduate Hotel

Cal parent ambassador, Josie Shiff 
Student Affairs’ Cal Social Good Program sponsored a Thanksgiving dinner for 300 grateful Cal students unable to return home for the holiday. Heartfelt thanks to those who greeted, served, and socialized with diners: Barbara Grelling; Josie Shiff; Carolyn Palmer; Christine MacDonald; Poonam Girdhar; Joanne Harano; and Milan Kaur
Second from right, Milan Kaur; far right, Joanne Harano engaging with international students

Food Pantry Fall Community Dinner

Three campus partners came together to create a special first community meal of the school year. Under the direction of Pinky and Red’s, volunteers prepped and served the meal over two days, Nov 20-21. Hosted at the beautifully renovated Berkeley Hillel, the event attended by 100 grateful students was funded by the Cal Student Store. Many thanks to these warm hearted individuals who gave their time right before Thanksgiving: Aniluz Mariano with son, Justin (pictured left); Barbara Oseroff; and Christine MacDonald.

Ambassadors Staff Food Pantry During Finals and Winter Break

In the final two weeks of the fall semester and in early January preceding the spring semester, 13 parent volunteers rolled up their sleeves to staff the campus Food Pantry, which logged more than 1,600 visitors during this period. Special thanks to those who held down the fort on multiple occasions. We could not have done it without you! To volunteer at the pantry in early May, please complete the Volunteer Interest Form.

Bravo to these parents for your generous service to Cal students: Pia Roo; Barbara Grelling; Carmen Reid; Christine MacDonald; Kristin Shore; Carolyn Palmer; Aniluz Mariano; Julia Viskanta; Perissa Clark; Sandra McGonigle; Patty Cook; Josie Shiff; Deryl Sequeira.

Christine MacDonald
Sandra McGonigle and Carolyn Palmer
Mother and daughter team of Patty and Lindsay Cook ‘17
Dear David –  Help! My Student Needs Housing for Next Year!! 

Cal Parent: “My student is seeking housing for next year; what should they be doing now?”

David Ortega: My advice is based on which type of housing, on or off-campus, your student desires and when they are prepared to begin paying rent. Most of the information I provide can be found on Berkeley’s housing website, which I strongly recommend parents take the time to explore! 

David Ortega
For students seeking campus housing for the 2019-20 academic year, the application period for continuing students is February 1–15. The recent addition of Blackwell Hall and a concerted campus effort to address the housing crunch have improved the availability of housing for students beyond their first year at Cal. Those who apply between Feb 1-15 will be assigned a lottery number, and in conjunction with broad housing preferences, should receive a housing offer in March. Please note that this is not a guarantee of campus housing, and please be reminded that once they sign their housing contract they are committed to living in University Housing for the 2019-20 academic year.

For students interested in off-campus housing, we recommend beginning your search as early as February and being prepared to pay rent starting June 1. Students should network with seniors who will be vacating their apartments, actively look for rental signs, and access Cal Rentals for listings.There are also two housing options that students often overlook:

David Ortega is Berkeley’s director of parent services and communications. A Cal alumnus, former Cal football player, and proud parent of a 2018 graduate, David assists parents with all parent services, concerns, processes, and manages Cal Parents’ social media

Investment in the Student Experience – Berkeley’s Strategic Plan

Throughout 2018, Berkeley celebrated the university’s 150 years of light and worked to chart a path forward with an ambitious strategic plan. Chancellor Christ recently shared with the campus community a high-level overview of this 10-year vision, stating that Berkeley will push the boundaries of knowledge, challenge convention, and expand opportunity to create the leaders of tomorrow by heavily investing in the student experience, make new commitments within Berkeley’s research and academic spheres, and strive to make our institution a more welcoming and supportive place for people of all backgrounds. Read more at Berkeley’s Strategic plan website.

Not too Early to Plan for Summer!

Is your student interested in studying abroad or doing a global internship this summer?  Applications open February 1 and close the first week in March. Explore Berkeley’s Study Abroad site now to learn about the many exciting opportunities available through Berkeley and the UC system.

Facebook Live with UC Berkeley Administration

Tune in on February 26, 6 pm – 6:30 pm, with Academic Advisors from Engineering (Sharon Mueller), Letters and Science (Roseanne Fong), and College of Natural Resources (Marques Redd).

The March 26 Facebook Live session will focus on how your student can be involved in athletics and recreational sports with Rec. Sports Director, Brigitte Lossing.

Looking Ahead – Cal Day April 13 and Commencement May 18

Book hotel accommodations as early as possible.

Upcoming Dates to Note:

  • February 18: Academic & Administrative Holiday, President’s Day
  • March 14: Big Give, Berkeley’s annual online giving day
  • March 23: Charter Day – close of Berkeley 150
  • March 25-29: Spring Recess
  • March 29: Academic & Administrative Holiday, Cesar Chavez Day
  • April 13: Cal Day
  • May 3: Classes End
  • May 6-10: Reading/Review/Recitation Week
  • May 10: Last Day of Instruction
  • May 13-17: Final Exams
  • May 17: Spring Semester Ends
  • May 18: Commencement at 10 AM
  • May 19: Deadline to move out of residence halls for summer break at 10 AM
  • May 27: Academic & Administrative Holiday, Cesar Chavez Day

Meet the Cal Parents Staff!

Andra Lee
Parent Philanthropy & Engagement
David Ortega 
Parent Services & Communication
Karla Rodebush 
Associate Director
Parent Philanthropy & Engagement
Rose Hsu
Assistant Director
Parent Philanthropy & Engagement
Michelle Mielke Walsh 
Assistant Director
Parent Philanthropy & Engagement
David Jaeger
Assistant Director
Parents Philanthropy & Engagement
Maggie Luning
Development Associate
Parents Philanthropy & Engagement
Check out the Cal Parents website and Facebook page for more information just for parents. Stay up-to-date with the latest news and events at Berkeley: Berkeley News Center, UC Berkeley Events.

If you have problems replying to any links or have questions about the Ambassador Program, please contact Rose Hsu.

As always, we are grateful for your continued commitment and enthusiasm for Berkeley! Go Bears!






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