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Cal Student Philanthropy creates culture of student giving

Two smiling young men sitting on grass with oversized mortarboards

Philanthropy is more vital than ever to keep our university strong as state funding to UC Berkeley continues to decrease and tuition does not meet the costs of educating students.  An important part of Berkeley’s philanthropic effort is powered by students: Cal Student Philanthropy (CSP) is Cal’s very own student group of trained fundraising ambassadors.

“We host a lot of events to create a culture of giving at Cal,” said Alexander Rodriguez ’19, student philanthropy manager for CSP. “We want to let students know that their gifts to Berkeley make a difference, and they decide where their gifts go.”

Students have the option of giving to the Cal Fund; the school, college, or program of their choice; or anywhere else on campus that is meaningful to them.

“You have the freedom to choose supporting a college’s equity and inclusion division, research in a major or minor department, or student services such as Bear Walk or the Recreational Sports Facility,” said Jeniece Neville ’20, vice president of logistics for CSP. “Students aren’t likely to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars for lecture halls to be built in their honor. But donations even in the tens of dollars will help improve buildings and services around campus.”

CSP is hosting a number of events this spring: Bears’ Give Back Week at Dwinelle Plaza (March 9–12); Happy Office Hours for seniors, where seniors (and possibly juniors) who have made gifts can chill with professors at Alumni House and enjoy beer, cider, and hot dogs from Top Dog (April 9); and a thank you reception hosted by Chancellor Carol Christ at University House for seniors who have donated to Berkeley (May 7).

“One of our biggest initiatives is getting seniors involved,” said Rodriguez. “When they give to Berkeley as seniors, they automatically become Berkeley Loyal.”

These donating seniors, known as Giving Grads, get automatic membership to Berkeley Loyal, a giving society that typically requires three years of consistent giving to join. This year, the Class of 2020 is shooting for a goal of $75,000, with a donor goal of 2,020 seniors. To make it even more fun, CSP asks parents to encourage their seniors to make a gift in the amount of $20.20.

Only seniors can give to the Senior Gift Campaign, but anyone can make a donation to UC Berkeley. Every gift supports Berkeley’s excellence, creates a legacy and benefits future students and alumni.

CSP would love to have your student join in on all the fun this spring. Any students interested in joining CSP can send an email to Alex Rodriguez at alexander.rodriguez@berkeley.edu or come to CSP meetings Mondays in Barrows Hall, Room 135 from 7–8 p.m.

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