ASUC hosts barbecue for students, community members

Michelle Kim/Staff

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The ASUC hosted its first Growing Berkeley barbecue, intended to bring together students and community members, Monday evening at Willard Park.

Despite sparse attendance by students, External Affairs Vice President Caitlin Quinn hopes the event — intended to create a fun, informative environment for students to mingle with their Berkeley neighbors and learn about community resources — will continue annually.

“This is something that hasn’t been done before,” said Quinn, who organized the event and is leaving her position at the end of the semester. “But we need more community events like this.”

Between four and eight people attended the barbecue at any point throughout the afternoon. The attendees flew kites, blew bubbles and ate food provided by the ASUC, and chatted with Berkeley City Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Lori Droste, who were also in attendance.

The event was inspired by the success of Berkeley’s Night Out, part of an annual series of block parties held in early August and celebrated across the nation, according to Quinn.

“A lot of students don’t seem to remember that there’s a lot of local things that affect them,” said Jobel Vecino, a UC Berkeley sophomore and ASUC associate chief of staff at the event. “But the borders of UCB go beyond the campus.”

The event also hosted the tabling of a community initiative, Happy Neighbors, which provided information about community expectations and procedures relating to alcohol, party and noise violations.

Reflecting on her tenure serving with ASUC, Quinn said her imminent departure was bittersweet.

“I’m happy with how this turned out and how this year went,” Quinn said, adding that she was sad she was already at one of her last events as EAVP.

Worthington said that he enjoyed “schmoozing” with people at community events who might not usually interact with the city bureaucracy and that a vast majority of his work in City Council evolves from these face-to-face interactions.

“If there was a big controversy here, there’d be 50 people,” Worthington said, remarking on the event’s attendance.

Arturo Fernandez, a second-year UC Berkeley graduate student in statistics, said that he appreciated the chance to speak with Worthington at the barbecue and that “students can always use more information on their surrounding community.”

“As long as we have events with the option to come out, it’s worth it,” said Juli Adhikari, a UC Berkeley freshman and ASUC local affairs co-director who helped set up the barbecue. “But even if it’s for a few people, it’s valuable for them, and it sets a precedent for next year.”

Contact Alex Barreira at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @abarreira_dc.sue

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Caitlin Quinn was the 2014-15 ASUC executive affairs vice president. In fact, she was the 2014-15 ASUC external affairs vice president.