(Top image) Students prepare to depart from San Diego.
On August 19, about 30 alumni volunteers across California helped send off and welcome 140 incoming students to UC Berkeley. This is the third year that the Cal Alumni Association’s Alumni Chapters have partnered with UC Berkeley’s New Student Services to provide transportation to Berkeley through the Golden Bear Express program for incoming students in need. Alumni volunteers were stationed at five Southern California airports to send off new Golden Bears, while Northern California alumni welcomed the students with open arms at Oakland International Airport.
Cal alum and KNBC-LA journalist Kim Baldonado ’87 reported on Golden Bear Express for the NBC4 News.
At the Oakland Airport arrivals terminal, a group of alumni volunteers decked out in Cal gear and holding pom-poms and Cal cheer cards welcomed each arriving flight. They helped collect and load luggage onto a chartered bus headed to the residence halls.
For those moving into student co-ops, chapter volunteers extended their welcome by driving these students directly to co-op residence halls with their luggage.
Golden Bear Express received positive feedback from incoming students and their parents, volunteers, and Cal alumni. On Facebook, alumni expressed their appreciation for the program, writing: “This is such a great idea! I wish this was an option when I went to school.” and “Almost as magical as the Hogwarts Express! 🙂 Go Bears!”
Incoming Golden Bears shared their excitement and appreciation for the Golden Bear Express experience with hand-written thank you notes. Some expressed that they hoped to give back to the program by volunteering and sharing their personal stories in the future.