Update: The Daily Californian is committed to providing accurate and fair coverage. In the case of the piece “Amazing moments from Berkeley Project day” by Linsha Qi, we failed to meet our journalistic standard of responsibility due to an undisclosed conflict of interest. At the time of publishing, we were unaware that Linsha Qi participated in the Berkeley Project, specifically at the CalJulia site. After reviewing the piece, we found no information that was misleading or untrue. The Daily Californian apologizes for this oversight.
On Nov. 8, more than 1,500 UC Berkeley students sacrificed their beauty sleep, arose before 8 a.m. and lugged themselves down to Sproul Plaza, equipped with no more than a water bottle, their Cal 1 IDs and dark circles under their eyes. What’s that, you say? Impossible, you claim? Nay! All this was done in the name of Berkeley Project day.
The Berkeley Project has been an organization on campus since 2006. From its birth, it has offered an amazing opportunity for students to give back to their community and volunteer in all shapes and forms, from building play structures to pulling weeds. There are two main events that Berkeley Project puts on every year: the BP day in the fall and the BP month in the spring. This year, there were more than 70 sites, sending students to paint houses, pull weeds, tend to community gardens and more. Here are some of the most exceptional sites of fall BP day.
CalJulia Neighborhood Site #6 Group
UC Berkeley students have visited the CalJulia neighborhood for several years now — so much so that we’re in the name now. At this site, students engaged in cleaning the streets, clearing debris and planting new flora. At the end of the day, the street looked a lot prettier. According to site leader Kenneth Suh, the community “kindly welcomed us with treats, and some lucky volunteers even got personal notes of thanks from kids who lived on the street!” What made this site truly wonderful, though, was the bonding that took place between the volunteers. Site leader Margaret Cheng says, “Our group of volunteers were very passionate about helping out, and I was excited to lead such an integrated group of people.” There were people who had never even attended UC Berkeley helping out, and students eagerly engaged in forming new friendships with everyone.
Halcyon Neighborhood Site #11
Members of the Pilipino Association for Students, Architects and Engineers teamed up with the Foresight Pre-Optometry Club to beautify Halcyon Commons, which was originally a parking lot that turned into a small part. According to the site leader, the groups “took out weeds, covered the dirt with mulch to control future weeds and removed graffiti in the wider neighborhood.” The variety in the tasks kept things interesting for the volunteers. Now, the park can remain a fun and relaxing place for community members to enjoy. It also gave two groups on campus the chance to get to know each other and have fun!
Cragmont Park Site #62
Priya Shah, one of the leaders for this site, was incredibly excited for BP day: She’d spent months planning for it on volunteer committee and thoroughly enjoyed reaping the benefits of her hard work. The site visited Cragmont Park to do basic clean up, including pulling ivy and chipping trees. What was special about this group, however, was their hardworking attitude. Members had to walk to their site, a 40-minute uphill trek under the sun, and worked incredibly hard all day. One of the employees assisting the site even said he’d never seen a group more hardworking in his six years of experience. The members got to know each other and never complained, tirelessly helping the community and truly giving back.
The Bread Project Site #67
The Bread Project is a nonprofit social enterprise in Emeryville that provides free job-training programs to low-income individuals who want to get involved in the food industry. This is a project that truly aids those in need, as it helps those who face barriers to employment, such as criminal records, insufficient language proficiency and more. Participants at this site helped “(organize) their job database, with the packaging process and (clean) the production facility,” according to site leader Kevin Shao. Though it was hard work, team members did not go unrewarded: All of them got to try the amazing baked goods at the site and had an overall great time helping out.
While these were a few of the sites that stood out, it must be noted that every single site did remarkable work that thoroughly benefited the Berkeley community. We at UC Berkeley have many resources, and we should use them to give back. This semester’s BP day was a huge success, with many more to come.