About 1,000 UC Berkeley students participated in Berkeley Project Day on Saturday, performing volunteer services at 45 project sites across the city.
The event, organized by The Berkeley Project, a nonprofit student organization, began in 2006 and happens every semester. According to the organization’s mission statement, its intent is to improve the relationship between students and residents through community service.
“We are just as much citizens of the Berkeley community as we are students at Cal, which makes it our responsibility to help those in the community that do not have access to many of the privileges that we enjoy,” said Berkeley Project co-President Krishna Reddy in an email. “Outside of the mission for social good, volunteering gives us an opportunity to break away from the stresses that this campus can create and experience the rich history that the city has to offer!”
According to a memo from City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley, volunteer sites included San Pablo Park, Berkeley Waterfront and the Berkeley Rose Garden, among others. Once at these sites, student volunteers participated in activities including weeding, litter pickup, painting and senior citizen visits.
The memo stated that the day of service involves a partnership between the city of Berkeley, campus and local park stewardship volunteers. The city provides funding for Berkeley Project Day activities through a contract with ASUC.
Reddy said volunteers on Berkeley Project Day try to help the city by working to further projects that the city does not have the resources to complete in a timely manner. He also said he believes student organizations play an important role in the event, “each and every semester.”
Joanne Magano, co-executive director of Partnership for Pre-Professional Pilipinxs, spoke on her group’s participation, which included picking up litter off city streets.
“Volunteering for Berkeley Project does not only provide an opportunity for club members to connect with each other but also connect with the greater Berkeley community,” Magano said in an email. “As members of the Berkeley community, we believe it is important that we all do our part in making our city a better place.”
Reddy echoed this sentiment, saying that volunteering facilitates bonding within volunteer groups and is an outlet to support the community. He said coordinating opportunities for groups is a priority for the event.
Moving forward, Reddy said the organization “wants to do more.” Instead of restricting its activities to one day, he said, the organization is looking to offer more frequent volunteer opportunities.
“We hope that through the expansion of our volunteering opportunities, we can continue to bridge the gap between our campus and the broader Berkeley community,” Reddy said in an email.