Each fall, the Cal Alumni Association (CAA) greets incoming students and welcomes alumni returning to campus, but this season is different—we are particularly enthusiastic about what awaits in the coming months.
Last year, CAA conducted a broad alumni survey to listen to the interests and needs of our diverse alumni population. Among younger alumni, there were some common refrains. Our rapidly-growing community of under-40 alumni is both social and civic-minded, and increasingly, looking to CAA for career and networking opportunities.
CAA is rising to meet this growing community by creating dynamic programs that support the preparation of future leaders and the activities of younger alumni. While we continue to gather at traditional football tailgates this fall, CAA is also introducing the Berkeley Career Network, an online platform for Cal alumni and students to develop professional relationships with each other, and partnering with Berkeley Haas to celebrate and build Cal’s alumnae leaders at a networking and discussion event, Women Who Lead: A Storytelling Salon.
Truly connecting with alumni begins while future alums are still students. Last month, during the week-long Golden Bear Orientation, CAA hosted incoming students at events including a first-year resource fair and an alumni–transfer student networking mixer. At CAA’s Lair of the Golden Bear, our newest cohort of Alumni Scholars experienced a beloved Cal tradition for the first time. The support of many donors and volunteers, including the work of six Southern California Alumni Chapters, helped move nearly 150 students in need to Berkeley via the Golden Bear Express.
The breadth of our alumni community is continually expanding, and we love sharing our Cal pride with others. At 28 nationwide Summer Welcome Parties, new students were welcomed to the Berkeley family by local alumni—including the Chicanx Latinx Alumni Association’s Northern and Southern California chapters, which hosted 10 events across our state. At Oakland Pride, we shared a message from the Berkeley community: “Fiat Love.” The future of our alumni association and our university lies with our youngest generations, and we will do well to nurture their growth.
Every year, the Cal alumni community grows stronger in diversity; every year, CAA strives to welcome and serve our community by creating spaces of greater inclusion within it. I hope you’ll join us in joyfully celebrating Berkeley’s 150th birthday at Alumni House during Homecoming, Oct. 12–13, whether by honoring 2018 Volunteer Award recipients or reconnecting at the Cal LGBTQ Alumni Reunion Brunch. Thank you for lending your support, presence, and voice as we move forward.
Clothilde Hewlett ’76, J.D. ’79