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Cal Parents Ambassadors Newsletter – September 2018

Cal Parents Volunteer Newsletter
September 2018 Edition

Greetings Cal Parents Ambassadors!

A warm Golden Bear welcome as we begin a new academic year!  We are excited for all that the year may hold for your student, and we are grateful for your participation as champions of Cal. Please, check out the new Cal Parents video featuring members of our Cal Parents Board and Ambassadors.

The end of last school year kept us too busy to produce a spring newsletter recognizing all who engaged with hundreds of prospective and incoming parents during the Admitted Student Receptions, Overnight Stay Program, and Cal Day last April. Instead, we will let these pictures demonstrate the outreach you achieved on behalf of Berkeley. You spread the “Go Bears” spirit wherever you were–from campus to beyond!

Sharon Aprea and Deidra Thorpe in Sacramento Gabriella Trujillo, Kirsten Stafford and Nelson Alvarado in Costa Mesa
Ally Watts, Christine MacDonald and David Pingitore Matthew and Carmen Reid, Tracy Lieu, and Rick Quon
Dineshwar Sahni, Vardeep Kaur, Jennifer Huang, Dylan Lim (student), Rose Hsu (staff), Polly Paulsen, David Ortega (staff) Barbara Grelling and Jennifer Huang
We are especially delighted to welcome 620 new members to our Cal Parents Ambassador family. We met many of you at Cal Day last spring and some as recently as Move-In. We look forward to getting to know you and your volunteer interests. This is the inaugural issue of the Ambassador newsletter for 2018-19 (back issues are archived online). 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. Subsequent Ambassador newsletters will highlight upcoming volunteer opportunities and provide sign-up links. Read the Ambassador Handbook for details on each activity.

Ambassadors Welcome Thousands at Move-In

We could not have done it without you:  Larry Bosche, Cecilia Koo, Jim Li, Christine MacDonald, Sandra McGonigle, Robyn Mitchell-Stong, Carmen Reid, Kristin Shore, and Ally Watts. Thank you for tirelessly greeting, directing and serving as first point of contact to thousands of new students and their families at our Cal Parents information table on Sproul Plaza. Thanks also to the three dedicated volunteers based at Foothill Dorm on the Northside of campus: Anu-Bhalla-Levine, Nina Rannells, and Alan Zahradnik. Your warm greetings and giveaways of Cal Mom and Dad buttons, sibling stickers, maps, and Parent Resource Guides were greatly appreciated by our new Cal families.

Sandra McGonigle, Larry Bosche, Ally Watts  Nina Rannells, Alan Zahradnik, Anu Bhalla-Levine 

Welcome Calls Extended Far and Wide

Five hundred fifty families, from California to New York, received welcome calls this summer from 58 volunteers!  Beyond California, ambassadors made calls in AK, IL, MA, MD, MN, NJ, NY, NV, and TX. Our talented group of multilingual volunteers surprised unsuspecting families by reaching out to them in their native tongues, which included Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, and Spanish. Special recognition to our enthusiastic first-time callers: Marc and Sharon Aprea, Anu Bhalla-Levine, Catherine Briggs, Rajani Caesar, Lisa Chow, Perissa Clark, Lynne Danco, Susan and Michael Geering, Wing Glezen, Valerie Jung, Ken Kikkawa, Deborah Kobylt, Janice Leonard, Jim Li, Anne McMullin, Shobhna Nihalani, Kristin Palmer, Laura Paszkiewicz, Carmen Reid, Amor Scheftel, Elizabeth Shane, Kristin Shore, Lalita Subramanian, Deidra Thorpe, Julia Viskanta, Beth von Emster, Deena Uythoven, Allyson Watts, Justine Weinberg.

Not to be overlooked, a huge thank you to our veteran callers who time and again have warmly welcomed the newest Golden Bear families in their areas: Dawn Billman, Wendy Bingham, Margaret Birdsong, Tamara Bland, Lori Corley, Allyson Ferer, Lisa Garrett, Susan Gillfillan, Gloria Hayat, Nancy Hughes, Christine MacDonald, Robyn Mitchell-Stong, Julie Morgan, David Pingitore, Daniela Prechter, Debbie Oppenheim, Bettina Rosenfeld, Laurie Shaker-Irwin, Randy Shingai, Katherine Smith, Carolyn Triebold, and Jennifer Woolf.

Thank you all for making these one-on-one connections and instilling an important first, and enduring, impression of Cal. Go Bears!

Career Center Invites Parents to Take a Cal Student to Work

Register now to participate in the Cal Externship Program, to take place over Winter Break in January 2019. You will provide valuable career development to Berkeley undergraduates through hands-on experience at your workplace. Non-alumni parents can register as a parent/affiliate. Read this wonderful Letter Home story (see last page) from last year about the student–and parents– who benefitted from this Externship exchange. If you have questions or problems registering, please contact Angela Taylor at the Berkeley Career Center.

Jason Chang ‘21 with Julie Cummings P’21 Tracy Lieu ‘93, P’21 with Zaynah Javed ‘21

Food Pantry Thanks and December Sign-Ups

The Food Pantry, located in the basement of the MLK/ASUC Student Union, provides emergency food to UC Berkeley students in need, and is part of a broader campus food security effort. For the past two years, the Parent Philanthropy and Engagement Office has partnered with the Food Pantry to provide operational support during key times of the year. If you are a new or returning ambassador who would like to offer assistance in December (or next May), please fill out the Volunteer Interest Form and we will notify you of Pantry training dates and volunteer shifts. Earlier this month, Letter Home featured this story highlighting Cal Parents Ambassadors’ contribution to the Food Pantry.

THANK YOU to our crew of May volunteers who served 970 students during the final two weeks of the 2018 Spring semester: Perissa Clark, Rachel Goldblatt, Valerie Jung, Christine MacDonald, Naomi Makihara, Beth Marks, Kim Michaud, Carol Ohara, Eileen Ong-Osmond, Carolyn Palmer, Carmen Reid, Randy Shingai, Kristin Shore, Julia Viskanta, Beth von Emster, and Justine Weinberg.

Carol Ohara with daughter Lilly, ‘21  Julia Viskanta and Perissa Clark
The following ambassadors also lent a much needed hand in mid-August to allow Pantry coordinators time to recruit and train student volunteers. THANK YOU –  Perissa Clark, Aniluz Mariano, Beth Marks, Mojy Moein, Eileen Ong-Osmond, Carmen Reid, and Julia Viskanta – for answering this last minute call for help!

Dear David – Facebook Discussion Group

Cal Parent: “What is the Cal Parents “Discussion Group” on Facebook?”

David Ortega: We created the Cal Parents Discussion Group to provide a safe space for parents to ask questions relevant to their family’s Berkeley experience. The group is limited to parents of current Cal students. Members have the opportunity to initiate discussions and respond to questions posed, cultivating support and conversation within the Cal parent community. The discussion generated is viewable only by members of the group.

The Cal Parents Facebook page remains open for interested Facebook users to “Like” and follow for timely student and parent announcements as well as campus updates.

To join the Cal Parents Discussion Group, you will need a Facebook account, then must submit a request to join. Next, we will request via FB Messenger your student’s name and graduation year, to confirm your status as a current Cal parent.

We hope you will enjoy and benefit from this opportunity for peer to peer conversations on the new Cal Parents Facebook Discussion Group.

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

October 12 – 14 Parents Weekend – Round the Corner


Register now for Parents Weekend at Homecoming to visit your student, take in a wealth of activities and events across campus, and to cheer on the Golden Bears as they take on UCLA.

Download the UC Berkeley/Cal Event Guides App for a complete list of events throughout the weekend.

Maps of campus and the Berkeley area to use during your visit can be found at: UC Berkeley Campus and City of Berkeley

Facebook Live with Campus Administrators


Assistant Vice Chancellor and Medical Director of University Health Services Anna Harte, MD

Join Cal Parents for upcoming Facebook “Live” session with Assistant Vice Chancellor and Medical Director of University Health Services Anna Harte, MD on October 22, 6 pm – 6:30 pm (PDT).

You may post questions in the comments section before and during these 30-minute events, and we will try to have them answered. Questions on how to participate can be directed to Director of Parent Services and Communications, David Ortega.

If you missed the FB Live on September 24 with UCPD Chief Margo Bennett, the session has been taped and can be viewed here.

150 Years of Light

Throughout 2018, Berkeley has been celebrating its sesquicentennial. Check out the Berkeley 150 website to brush up on Cal history, share your own Berkeley memories, and learn of events to celebrate Berkeley’s 150 years as a beacon of opportunity.

The Berkeley 150 Road Show continues this fall with lectures by distinguished faculty at locations throughout California, including Big Data & Artificial Intelligence in Pasadena and Revisiting the Handmaid’s Tale in Los Angeles West Side.

Berkeley Pride

Berkeley named top public university in new ARWU world rankings 

Campus News and Events

Keeping Up with the Latest

Upcoming Dates to Note:

  • Monday, October 1Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens
  • Wednesday, October 10, – Fall Internship Fair (MLK Student Union, Pauley Ballroom,12 pm – 4 pm)
  • Thursday, October 11 – Masters & PhD Career Fair (MLK Student Union, Pauley Ballroom, 12 pm – pm)
  • Friday, October 12-14 – Parents Weekend at Homecoming at UC Berkeley Campus
  • Wednesday, October 17 – Civil & Environmental Engineering Career Fair (MLK Student Union, Pauley Ballroom, 4 pm – 7 pm)
  • Thursday, October 18 – The Berkeley 150 Roadshow in Pasadena: Big Data & Artificial Intelligence
  • Monday, October 22 – Facebook Live with Assistant Vice Chancellor and Medical Director of University Health Services, Anna Harte (6 pm – 6:30 pm)
  • Wednesday, November 7 – The Berkeley 150 Roadshow in Los Angeles West Side: Revisiting the Handmaid’s Tale
  • Monday, November 12 – Holiday: Veterans Day
  • Wednesday, November 21 – Non-Instructional Day
  • Thursday-Friday, November 22-23 – Holiday: Thanksgiving holiday
  • Friday, November 30 – Formal Classes End
  • 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
  • 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


Please, welcome our two new staff members!

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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