UC Berkeley plans alternate structures for fall clubs, activities

(FILE) Photo of student at a club table for UC Berkeley Calapalooza.
Lorenzo Dela Cruz/File
Rather than the traditional in-person fall Calapalooza, UC Berkeley is adjusting its fall activities to adapt to guidelines amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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UC Berkeley’s fall clubs and activities have been altered to adapt to guidelines in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Campus will follow public health guidelines for the fall and is currently determining what a return to school will mean for student meetings and events, according to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff. Until further instructions, student groups are encouraged to hold virtual meetings and activities for the upcoming semester.

“We know that not all students will physically be near campus,” Ratliff said in an email. “Virtual activities provide the most equitable and inclusive experience for those of our community that cannot be here in person.”

Campus organizations such as the Engineering Student Council, or ESC, have had to come up with initiatives to adapt to the new guidelines.

Among other things, ESC will work on confronting BIPOC racism in the campus engineering community and connecting students during the pandemic, according to president Connie Mi.

“We know that there are many community members who face tremendous struggles in a new virtual world,” Mi said. “The (Equity and Inclusion) committee also hopes to work with the College of Engineering to gather and create more resources to ensure that all students have access to the necessary online learning tools.”

Mi also said the council is forming a mentorship program that will connect new students with upperclassmen during this “unusual” first semester.

UC Berkeley Model United Nations, or UCBMUN, has also adapted to the change in fall semester activities, with lower membership requirements than usual, no fall dues and greater flexibility for members who wish to deactivate for the semester.

“Since UCBMUN is one of the top traveling, competitive Model UN teams on the circuit, our club is particularly affected by the virus,” said president Jessica Wang in an email. “Room reservations for meetings won’t be allowed, so our meetings will have to be virtual moving forward.”

The group will focus more on internal training and professional development opportunities by alumni as well as having an online recruiting timeline with virtual informations sessions and drop-ins.

For students interested in joining organizations, recruiting events will be held virtually.

Rather than the traditional in-person fall Calapalooza, there will be virtual tabling opportunities, according to Ratliff.

“The upside of planning a virtual event is that we will be able to accommodate all who want to participate,” Ratliff said in the email. “Our in-person Fall Calapalooza is limited to 500 student groups due to physical tabling capacity on Upper and Lower Sproul Plazas.”

Additionally, to help clubs navigate the coming year, chief of staff for the ASUC Office of the President Johnny Nguyen said in a Facebook message that he is in the process of forming a virtual club engagement with other ASUC leaders.

Contact Aryia Dattamajumdar at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @AryiaDm.