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Cal Parents Ambassador Newsletter – November 2018


Cal Parents Volunteer Newsletter
November 2018 Edition

Greetings Cal Parents Ambassadors!

The holidays are approaching, and we have some special volunteer opportunities focused on serving the neediest members of our Cal family, along with campus news, resources, and recaps!

First, we would like to provide some friendly reminders: 

  • If your student has graduated and/or you would like to be removed from our ambassador mailing list, please contact us. However, we do welcome your continued participation beyond your child’s graduation date. Thank you for your service to the Cal community!
  • All ambassadors, both new and returning: please fill out this volunteer interest form for the academic year so we can make note of your participation preferences. Read the Ambassador Handbook for details on each activity.

Most importantly, this Thanksgiving, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your many contributions you made to Berkeley year-round. Since the start of the new fiscal year in July, 67 Cal Parents Ambassadors and Board members have contributed 600 hours of volunteer time and more than 2,700 Cal families have donated $17.3 million. THANK YOU!! During this season of giving, if you would like to join other families in committing  to the exceptional students and faculty at Berkeley, we welcome you to make a gift today.

Highlights from Homecoming & Parents Weekend 2018

We hope you were able to join in the festivities of Parents Weekend at Homecoming this year. Over 4,000 alumni, parents, family, and friends came to campus to celebrate with us. We were overwhelmed by the exhilarating school spirit shown by so many Cal families.
Thank you everyone who came to celebrate and support Cal at Homecoming! More photos can be seen in the UC Berkeley online Homecoming photo album.

Food Pantry Call for Help – VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY (Saturdays now available)!

Did you know that 38% of Berkeley undergraduates and 23% of graduate students are food insecure and skipping meals? The UC Berkeley Food Pantry provides emergency relief to students affected by food insecurity; in September alone, 1,442 Cal students utilized this vital campus resource.
Volunteers are needed to staff the Food Pantry (in the ASUC/MLK Student Union) during Dead Week (preparation for finals, Dec. 3-8) and Final Exam Week (Dec. 10-15), a critical time for students to be well-nourished. To volunteer for a December shift between 10am – 4pm (weekdays) and 10am – 1pm (Saturdays), click here. Please note that if you are a new volunteer, an on-site orientation and training will be offered on Thursday, Nov 29 from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Thank you!

Out of town or too busy in December? We are also looking for volunteers who can fill January shifts during Winter Break before the Pantry’s regular student volunteers are back on campus. Click here for January shifts.

Learn more about campus efforts to address Cal students’ basic needs security and about Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 12-16. Also see link to newspaper article Inside UC Berkeley’s Food Pantry under Campus News and Events at the bottom of this newsletter. In addition to volunteering your time at the Food Pantry, you and your students can provide additional support by making a financial donation ( CLICK HERE) and by designating unused Cal Dining meal dollars/swipes to the Food Pantry (see story below). 

The Food Pantry’s Thanksgiving Meal – NOV 20-21 VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY!

The Food Pantry will be hosting their first Fall Community Meal on Wednesday, November 21st  for 100 students and staff thanks to the generosity and partnership of several campus organizations. The Cal Student Store is underwriting the cost and Berkeley Hillel is hosting the event in their newly renovated space.  Pinky and Red’s, a food vendor in the MLK Student Union, which sprang from the La Cocina Incubator Program dedicated to helping women of color start food businesses, will be cooking the Thanksgiving style meal.

A handful of volunteers are needed to prepare the food on Tuesday, November 20 and cook and serve the meal from 2:00 – 5:00 pm on Wednesday, November 21. Sign up here to volunteer next week. Contact Food Pantry Operations Coordinator for questions and details about this event.


If your student has extra meal dollars/swipes at the end of the semester, they can donate at the dorm dining halls and cafes (operated by Cal Dining) which they frequent by using their ID cards. There will be signage at the cashier stations advertising how they can do this.  Last year, Cal Dining was able to collect $50K from unused student meal dollars, which they used to purchase groceries to stock the pantry.

Dear David – “My student is sick in bed, what should they do?”

If your student is sick and unable to attend class, here are suggestions and campus resources which could be helpful:

1. Depending on the symptoms and severity of the illness:

a. Schedule a same day Primary Care appointment at The Tang Center. Same day appointments become available for scheduling the night before at 5pm, new appointments released every hour.

David Ortega, ’90, P ’18
Director of Parent Services & Communications
b. Go to The Tang Center Urgent Care, open seven days a week for sudden, serious and unexpected illnesses, injuries or conditions which require immediate medical attention. All registered students can be seen the Tang Center regardless of insurance.

c. Call the Tang Center Advice Nurse at (510) 643-7197. This is a good option if unsure of what services are best.

d. If stress-related or mental health-related, students can call (510) 642-9494 or go to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on the 3rd floor of the Tang Center.  After-Hours Counseling Line: (855) 817-5667.

e. For life-threatening emergencies, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.

2. Email their professors and GSI’s immediately and let them know their medical issue.

3. Make arrangements to get notes from lecture(s) missed.

4. When able, go to professor and GSI to find out how much they have missed.

5. If length of illness lasts more than a week or brings into question your student’s ability to continue their classes, here are some suggestions:

a. Contact The Tang Center for a verification of visit if they were seen at The Tang Center for their illness.

b. Contact Disability Service Program (DSP) at (510) 642-0518 for any type of help with mobility or physical limitations.

c. Contact professors and explain their health issues and how they can continue.

d. Consider dropping classes or take P/NP option.

e. Consider looking into the withdrawal process for the semester.

f. In cases when a student cannot return, their College Advisor can assist the student with the readmission process. (Note: the readmission process is for Cal students who are returning after time off) Information can also be found on each College’s website.

Student Health Insurance Plan Update – IMPORTANT REMINDER!

If you were not able to waive SHIP in the fall, the application to waive SHIP for spring semester opens on December 1, 2018, and ends on January 1, 2019 (without fee) and January 15, 2019 (with $75 fee).

Facebook Live with Campus Administrators

Assistant Vice Chancellor and Medical Director of University Health Services Anna Harte, MD
UCPD Chief Margo Bennett
If you missed the Facebook “Live” sessions with campus administrators in September and October they can be viewed on the Cal Parents Facebook page. View the recorded session with UCPD Chief Margo Bennett, that took place on September 24th, as well as the October 22nd session with Assistant Vice Chancellor and Medical Director of University Health Services Anna Harte, MD.

Questions can be directed to Director of Parent Services and Communications, David Ortega.

Share your Best Blue and Gold Photos

Robyn Mitchell-Stong and Steve Stong, P’18, displayed their Cal pride abroad over Parents’ Weekend
With the holidays upon us, as you travel to all corners of the globe, don’t forget to pack your Cal gear, spread your love of Berkeley, and submit your photos to for the Cal parent community to enjoy!

Berkeley Pride

Nathan Adrian ’12

Campus News and Events

Keeping Up with the Latest

Upcoming Dates to Note:

Reminder – Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications now being accepted

  • Wednesday, November 21 –  Non-Instructional Day
  • Thursday-Friday, November 22-23 – Holiday: Thanksgiving holiday
  • Wednesday, November 28Housing Fair
  • Friday, November 30 – Formal Classes End
  • Saturday, December 1 – Application to waive SHIP (without fee) for Spring semester opens
  • Monday-Friday, December 3-7 – Reading/Review/Recitation Period
  • Monday-Friday, December 10-14 – Finals Week
  • Friday, December 14Fall Commencement
  • Saturday, December 15 – 10 am Deadline to move-out of residence halls for winter break
  • Tuesday, January 1 – Deadline to waive SHIP for Spring semester without fee
  • Tuesday, January 15 – Deadline to waive SHIP for Spring semester (with $75 fee) 
  • Thursday, January 17 – Residence Halls re-open for spring semester
  • Monday, January 21 – Holiday: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Tuesday, January 22 – Spring Instruction Begins

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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