Golden Bears, New Students Connect from Afar

Summer Welcome Parties are a Cal Alumni Association signature event, hosted by alumni chapters across the country to welcome incoming students and their parents to Cal. Traditionally, alumni volunteers hold these events in person, but this year, in light of COVID-19, Cal Alumni Association (CAA) alumni chapters pivoted to virtual events. The collaborations between our alumni chapters enabled more alumni-student engagement outside of their local communities. This year, there were approximately 2,000 participants, including more than 500 alumni volunteers and 1,300 students.

Where Diversity and Geography Meet

The Southern California Alumni Chapters hosted four virtual Summer Welcome Parties. These online get-togethers gave the Cal community a chance to reconnect in a meaningful way. Activities included enjoying Cal Band music and playing Cal trivia.

The Chicanx Latinx Alumni Association collaborated with the San Diego Cal Alumni Club to exchange thoughts on recent events. Alumni volunteers also discussed student life at Berkeley. Raffle prizes for Cal trivia included Amazon, Uber Eats, and Cal Student Store gift cards.

“Thank you for the Amazon.com gift card! I am super happy that I got to participate in the UCB CLAA welcoming. Thank you to the amazing team and the awesome service that you all provide to us to continue to pursue our dreams in higher education.” —Aida Guillen

“Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! Thank you also for allowing me to get in touch with all the alumni, it was extremely helpful.” —Hannah Barahona

Learning About One Another and the Cal Experience

The Cal Alumni Club of North Carolina encouraged alumni volunteers to set their favorite Cal scene as their Zoom background. The Cal Alumni Club of New England formed small breakout rooms to encourage more participants to converse and network. The Colorado chapter (Rocky Mountain Golden Bears) conducted a poll to encourage new students to share something they were looking forward to and something they were nervous about. The Cal Alumni Club of Chicago was surprised to learn that almost none of the new students are moving to Berkeley this fall due to measures around distance learning. The Black Engineering & Science Alumni Club invited Tsu-Jae King Liu, dean of the College of Engineering as well as the college’s faculty and staff to share resources about thriving at Cal. Attendees received a video message from Chancellor Carol Christ and learned the Cal fight song together. Students also had the opportunity to exchange LinkedIn and personal contact information with their fellow Golden Bears.

New Bears Receive Their First Cal Swag

The Cal Bears in the Desert in the Desert chapter went above and beyond to deliver welcome packages to ten students while practicing social distancing, including a Cal goody bag and mask. Most of these students are first-generation college students, and their families were happy to learn about the support that the Cal community offers.

Collaboration and Unity

The current pandemic has physically distanced the Cal community, but it has ignited our drive to spread Cal spirit in new ways. Alumni volunteers are leveraging this opportunity to build connections with students and their fellow Berkeley graduates.

The Cal Alumni Association extends its deepest gratitude to the following Alumni Chapters:

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