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How We Can Support Students During the Pandemic

As alumni, how can we support our Cal students during the COVID-19 pandemic?

April 2, 2020

Many concerned alumni have asked what the university is doing to help our students as well as how alumni can get involved. The UC Berkeley Student Emergency Fund provides vital support to students at Berkeley following a community emergency or natural disaster. If you are able to give, the Student Emergency Fund provides a way to assist students who are now experiencing unusual hardship due to circumstances far beyond their control.

The Student Emergency Fund helps the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, in collaboration with the Basic Needs Center, in providing direct support to undergraduate and graduate students. This support helps them cover student necessities such as lost wages, housing, food, relocation costs, and other essential items including technology, household goods, clothing, and books.

For our low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students, this challenging situation is one of many great hardships that threaten their ability to gain a world-class education at Berkeley. Each year, the Cal Alumni Association (CAA) awards more than 800 bright undergraduate students through our Alumni Scholars Program. Awards range from annual financial aid to a combination of financial and personal support through scholars’ full undergraduate life cycles. During this time of crisis, the Alumni Scholars Program has provided scholars with travel grants to fly home and assisted them with funds to buy food and obtain laptops for school through the CAA Alumni Scholarship Fund. Gifts made to the Alumni Scholarship Fund help provide programming for scholars and assist those struggling to meet basic needs.

As alumni, you can participate in the scholarship selection process by volunteering to virtually review applications, or to participate in virtual interviews with prospective recipients. The gift of your time can go a long way toward establishing continuity for these deserving new additions to our Berkeley family.

Some good news

We are deeply grateful for the care and compassion exhibited by the Berkeley community, both on campus and far beyond. Here are a few highlights from the world of Berkeley:

Tune in: Berkeley launches online Berkeley Conversations series on COVID-19

Cal defensive back Elijah Hicks ’20 is fundraising for hungry kids

Berkeley scientists spin up robotic COVID-19 testing lab

COVID-19 first target of new AI research consortium

Berkeley-founded Kiwibot delivers food, essentials to those in quarantine

UC Berkeley librarians suggest books to read while you’re stuck at home

‘We need to care for each other’: john c. powell, director, Othering and Belonging Institute

Are you or a fellow alum doing COVID-19 response work that we should recognize? Share an update with us.