In mid-July, University of California President Janet Napolitano spent a weekend at the Cal Alumni Association’s Lair of the Golden Bear in Pinecrest, California. During her stay, Napolitano sat down for a campfire conversation with Lair Week 5 campers and Cynthia So Schroeder ’91, UC Regent Emerita and Past President of the Cal Alumni Association (CAA) Board of Directors.
Napolitano praised the current strength of the UC system and noted its widespread goals concerning education, research, and public perspective. “The UC system is unbelievable in terms of the students that we have and that we attract. Forty-six percent of [students] who were admitted in the fall were the first of their families to go to college,” she stated. Still, the University of California will continue adapting the structure of its transfer system in order to enable more students to transfer into the University of California school system.
The National Institute of Health contributes almost 10 percent of its budget each year to support research conducted at the University of California. Additionally, UC Berkeley continues to send more alumni than any other university in the United States into the Peace Corps, and the entire UC system aims to be net carbon-neutral by 2025. Napolitano hopes that this goal will allow the University of California to set an example for the rest of the country, as well as the rest of the world.
In regard to Governor Brown’s recent budget proposal, Napolitano highlighted several improvements currently being made on UC campuses with the reallocated funds. At UC Berkeley, plans are on the drawing board to address the student housing crisis. David Blackwell Hall, Berkeley’s newest residential unit, provides housing for more than 700 students, and future plans are being made to build a residence hall in People’s Park. Food pantries are available on every UC campus, and Berkeley has established an economic crisis center to support students who may have lost their lease or are experiencing housing insecurity.
Napolitano also touched on recent government legislation, including immigration enforcement and the stress this adds to the lives of many UC students. As president of the University of California, Napolitano stands with her students, emphasizing, “We [the University] have a very active presence in Washington DC, not only keeping track of what’s happening there, but advocating in Congress [on public issues].”
Watch Napolitano’s full talk below.