Berkeley mayor and UC Berkeley chancellor welcome new students

Maya Shen/Staff

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Hello, newest Golden Bears!

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to campus and to this extraordinary community of learning and discovery, where you will spend the next several years developing your mind and deepening your understanding of the world and those who inhabit it. In joining our campus community, you now also begin your relationship with the City of Berkeley — a diverse urban center with a legacy of progressive politics and its own remarkable array of intellectual, cultural, artistic and recreational activities.

The City of Berkeley is an essential part of the student experience here, and we urge you to make stepping off campus a regular habit. Take the time to explore the city’s parks and public spaces, take advantage of its vibrant arts community, meet your neighbors, volunteer, patronize local businesses and involve yourself in the civic life of your new home. We encourage you to join Berkeley residents in their endeavors to create inclusive, safe and livable neighborhoods. Toward this end, we’d like to offer a few resources and pieces of advice:

First, be a good neighbor. Take time to introduce yourself to and get to know those around you, whether they live next door or down the block. Respect your neighbors’ needs and schedules, and make smart and respectful choices concerning noise and parties. Opening up lines of communication can help small grievances from becoming serious ones. The Happy Neighbors program, which seeks to keep neighbor relations positive through peer education and outreach, can help.

Keep your community clean. Both UC Berkeley and the City of Berkeley have a goal of producing zero waste by 2020, and your help in diverting, recycling, reusing and reducing is critical. Avoid fines by ensuring garbage and recycling bins — don’t overflow — and by taking advantage of Cal Move-In and Move-Out resources when you need to get rid of furniture or other large items. Additionally, contribute to our distinction as one of the nation’s greenest cities by using renewable resources and choosing sustainable options when you can.

Get involved in city life. Attend neighborhood meetings and events, participate in neighborhood cleanup and beautification activities and support community safety efforts. If possible, volunteer — you can participate in the Berkeley Project’s community service days, peruse service-learning projects at the Public Service Center or explore other volunteer resources online.

Finally, work with others to keep yourself and your community safe. Stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings, especially at night. If you see something suspicious, call the nonemergency number for the UC Police Department at (510) 642-3333 or the Berkeley Police Department at (510) 981-5900 and be prepared to provide a description of the situation and people involved. In an emergency, always call 911, or from a cellphone, call (510) 981-5911. You can also learn more about how to be an active bystander through Bears That Care.

UC Berkeley is not an ivory tower, closed off from the rest of the world; we’re in the middle of a city, and we have very close ties to it. Living in Berkeley gives you the chance to learn from many kinds of people, to take advantage of a multitude of resources and opportunities and to practice skills that will serve you well after college. We hope you’ll take advantage of what life in Berkeley has to offer and that you’ll be a good neighbor to those around you. Welcome, and good luck on your journey!

Carol Christ is the chancellor of UC Berkeley. Jesse Arreguín is the mayor of the city of Berkeley.