UC Berkeley is also the highest-ranked public university on its list of Top Universities in the World, coming in at #3.
What causes a university to be ranked so highly?
The U.S. News and World Report looks at factors such as graduation rates, academic reputation, alumni giving rate, and more. In my opinion, a commitment to public service can positively influence all these factors.
Why? Giving makes people feel good, and can increase our sense of purpose and fulfillment. Students introduced to volunteerism at their university will arguably remember its benefits and carry a value of service with them throughout their lives. Data also shows that community engagement positively influences student retention and graduation rates.
UC Berkeley is no stranger to public service. In fact, they have an entire center dedicated to it, aptly named the UC Berkeley Public Service Center (PSC).
You might be wondering, “What is a Public Service Center?”
Above all else, the PSC is a resource. It supports students, staff, and faculty in activities such as volunteerism, internships, immersion trips, mentoring opportunities, and more.
This is no small endeavor. The PSC works with about 5,000 students each year, and only has a staff of 8! And in 2017, the PSC will celebrate their 50th anniversary.
One member of their small yet effective team is Rajelin Escondo, Program Manager for the PSC. When speaking of UC Berkeley, she says, “It’s is a place where students explore their role in making the world a better place.”
One way that Rajelin and her small team can reach so many students is through YourMatch™ by VolunteerMatch. UC Berkeley partnered with VolunteerMatch to implement an internal platform equipped to meet UC Berkeley’s diverse needs.
Students use the platform to explore causes they’re interested in and find volunteer opportunities. Because many of the PSC’s programs include year-long commitments, finding local volunteer opportunities first allows students to discover their passions and grow their skills before committing to a long-term partnership with a community organization.
“All UC Berkeley students are eligible to participate in our programs,” says Rajelin. “We make intentional efforts to make sure our programs are accessible to all students.”
In addition to individual volunteer opportunities, the PSC supports large-group volunteer events. One student organization they partner with is the Berkeley Project.
Each year, over 1,000 students come together for Berkeley Project Day. They learn about their city while volunteering to clean up parks and public spaces with residents from the local community. The result? Positive interactions between students and residents, and a cleaner Berkeley for everyone to enjoy.
“At UC Berkeley’s core is a mission to serve the public through the research it produces, its work with the community, and the learning that students receive during their time at Berkeley,” says Rajelin.
Thank you to Rajelin and UC Berkeley for letting us share your story of public service! Learn how Solutions by VolunteerMatch can support your university, company, or organization’s volunteer efforts.