UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design announces social justice fellowship

Photo of Wurster Hall
David McAllister/Staff
The Arcus Social Justice Corps, sponsored by UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design alumnus John Stryker, pilots this year.

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UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, or CED, announced Thursday the Arcus Social Justice Corps, or ASJC, a four-year fellowship program that will provide tuition relief to graduate students pursuing a career in social justice.

The fellowship is funded by CED alumnus Jon Stryker, whose $5.3 million donation will cover the tuition of approximately 100 fellows over the course of the program, according to a campus press release. In addition to tuition relief, fellows will receive special programming and mentorship from professionals.

Each year, about 27 graduate students will be selected for the fellowship by a committee of students, staff, faculty and alumni as well as professionals in social impact careers, according to the press release and the ASJC Fellowship Program’s website.

According to the website, fellows will pledge to pursue a career in social justice for at least three years after graduating from CED.

Like future cohorts of ASJC fellows, the press release described Stryker as an advocate of social justice, human rights and the LGBTQ+ community. He received a master’s degree in architecture from CED in 1989 and the Catherine Bauer Wurster Award for Social Practice in 2016, which recognizes the achievements of CED alumni in social and environmental justice. 

His grant-making organization, the Arcus Foundation, focuses on LGBTQ+ rights and environmental conservation, according to its website.

“My goal in making this gift is simple — to empower these bright, talented students to live the idealism that attracted them to Berkeley in the first place,” Stryker said in a press release.

In addition to the fellowship, he has also established other initiatives at CED such as the Arcus Chair in Gender, Sexuality and the Built Environment, according to the college’s website.

The initial four-year fellowship is a pilot program, which CED spokesperson Sarah Fullerton said the college hopes to expand in the future.

“It is our intention to continue this incredible fellowship and we hope we will have the opportunity to continue it beyond the pilot period that is being funded by Jon Stryker,” Fullerton said in an email.

This fall, any graduate student at CED is eligible to apply for the fellowship, but subsequent cohorts will do so as prospective graduate students, according to the ASJC Fellowship Program’s website. Application instructions will be released in August.

Fullerton said prospective applicants can visit the ASJC Fellowship Program’s website, which will be updated regularly in anticipation of the first cohort of ASJC Fellows.

“The ASJC program is catalytic toward reinforcing all our goals: increasing underrepresented identities, providing sustained support for all students, facilitating engagement with social justice movements, and expanding literacy in spatial equity through the ways that we teach,” said Renee Chow, the department of architecture chair and CED’s executive dean, in the press release.

Contact Riley Cooke at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @rrileycooke.