The Occupy Cal protests in fall 2011 were our induction to UC Berkeley. We saw thousands of people gather on Sproul Plaza to listen to UC Berkeley public policy professor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich speak. We saw marches in the streets. We saw encampments on Sproul Plaza.
“Well, that’s UC Berkeley,” we thought to ourselves. Yet over past four years, we have seen a passionate UC Berkeley — a UC Berkeley that cares about inequality, cares about tuition hikes, cares about police violence. A UC Berkeley created by the students.
There are about 5,100 students graduating in spring 2015. Of those, 27 percent were first-generation college students, 71 percent entered as freshmen and 12 percent were international students. There are so many of us. So many classes, quizzes and tests we’ve taken. So many experiences, hopefully with few regrets. Together, we’ve done something incredible. We’ve left an impact on our campus.
Our time here on the Berkeley campus was not always easy. Many of us struggled with grades, with making friends and with finding our place. But somehow — with support from a combination of our friends, our family and our campus community — we made it to where we are today, just a few finals away from graduating from the No. 1 public university in the world. That’s truly something to be proud of. Class of 2015, when you were just starting, did you ever think to yourself that 2015 seemed so far away? We have truly made it. Congratulations, and we’ll see you on commencement day.
— Chloe Hunt, 2014-2015 editor in chief, and Megan Messerly, 2014-2015 managing editor