Despite the impact that the Cal Corps Public Service Center has had on campus, in communities and on individual lives, the center only receives money from the University of California Berkeley to fund two staff positions. Relative to other peer institutions, Cal Corps receives the lowest amount of financial support from the university. On average, public peer institutions fund 85% of their respective Center’s staff, Cal funds 18%. As a result, staff members must spend a large amount of their own time applying for grants to fund their positions. The time spent working on grants could, and should, instead be spent working directly with student leaders, student groups and faculty.
Founded by students in 1967, Cal Corps is the University of California’s Public Service Center. The Cal Corps mission is to connect ideas, resources, and people to act for social justice, build healthy communities, and foster life-long commitments to public service.The Cal Corps Public Service Center mobilized 4,000 students last year, engaging them in communities locally in the Bay Area, as well as across the nation. Students serve over 200 community organizations, and volunteered a total of 300,000 service hours last year. Student-led Cal Corps programs such as Alternative Breaks, Berkeley United in Literacy Development (BUILD), The Magnolia Project, Cal in Local Government, Cal in the Capital, Oakland Community Builders, VITA, Student-initiated Community Projects and many more, have become household names both on campus and in communities as have staff-run programs like ACES, Bonner Leaders, and Peter E. Haas Public Service Scholarships.
As a result, we are calling on campus administration and student leaders to determine how to significantly increase funding for Cal Corps. Cal Corps charges fees to schools and non-profits that shouldn’t have to pay for their volunteers. The Cal Corps staff is an integral part of the center. Without the professional staff in the Center, student leaders and community members would see a number of their tasks go unfinished. Student leaders benefit from the support and advice of the professional staff, who have all had their own experiences with social justice, community organizing, internships, and public service. Consequently, we want more students and faculty to get support in doing their community work well, and we want great programs like BUILD, Bonner Leaders, Student-initiated Community Projects, Alternative Breaks and Magnolia Project to continue as they have positive impacts on students and the community. We also want Cal Corps to provide more training and consulting to faculty, graduate students and undergraduates instead of focusing on fundraising, and we want more program funds so student leaders can also focus on good programming and connecting all of us across campus, and not fundraising.
Finally and most importantly, we are calling on the UC Chancellor and his Committee on Students Fees and Services to approve the proposals placed forth in relation to the funding of Cal Corps programs and staff. If this university wants to continue its reputation as an institution that provides for the public good, it must start by providing greater funding to its public service center. As current students and alumni of the University of California at Berkeley, we must take initiative and command, yes command, this change. By placing your name on this petition, you are announcing that you stand in solidarity with the Cal Corps Public Service Center and contributing immensely to our greater efforts to bring social justice to communities around the country and even the world.
When you sign this petition, please take time to add a story of how Cal Corps’ work has impacted you and your work in the community!