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Alumni Offer Advice to Incoming Students for Cal Week

May 28, 2020
New Student Send-Off 2017 002 (1)

Cal Day began in spring 2008. For 12 years, the day-long, campus-wide open house allowed prospective students and their families to get a taste of Cal. This April, Cal Day transformed into a digital Cal Week that offered all of the same Berkeley welcome festivities, events, and tours online.

The Cal Alumni Association (CAA) traditionally hosts alumni panels on Cal Day. In their place, CAA Executive Director Cloey Hewlett ’76, J.D. ’79 moderated an online panel of alumni (Eloisa Lopez-Valencia ’19, Kirk Tramble ’93, and Thuy Tran ’08), and a current student (Elijah Hicks ’21), about diversity on campus and the Cal student experience.

Although the panelists attended Cal at varying times, all of them expressed their gratitude for Berkeley’s diverse, welcoming environment. From the first time they set foot on campus, each of them felt like they belonged. As students, they all came to find a community of peers they could lean on through the academic rigor and emotional challenges they faced.

“Now as an alum, I am always looking to stay involved with the campus and give back.” —Eloisa Lopez-Valencia ’19

When considering the advice they would give to students, the panelists echoed this sentiment: First-year students should know, coming into Cal, that it is normal to ask for help. Being a UC Berkeley student is difficult, but with the myriad of resources available at the university and the unwavering support of the Berkeley community, Cal students and alumni are equipped to achieve success and have instilled in them a responsibility to give back to those who follow.

“I encourage students to become involved in multiple, diverse organizations across campus. Now as an alum, I am always looking to stay involved with the campus and give back.” —Eloisa Lopez-Valencia ’19

“I learned to lean on support groups and lean on the resources around me, and that discipline was critical. I learned to stay focused and stay 100% engaged. The result was, after graduating from Cal Engineering, I could accomplish anything.” —Kirk Tramble ’93

“No matter what decision [students] make, what college they end up choosing, a big part of it is what they make of the experience. There’s more than just the classes at Berkeley. You get a full experience while you’re there.” —Thuy Tran ’08

“This Berkeley education has given me confidence to create nonprofits and do different things I never thought I’d be doing at this age.” —Elijah Hicks ’21

Watch a clip from the virtual event below.