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UC Berkeley has always had a deep commitment to public service, and the outpouring of support we have witnessed so far from our campus community during COVID-19 has been no exception. We have seen students donate their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), share food and supplies, and express gratitude to those on the front lines. In addition, we have seen how enterprising our students can be with the unique ways they’ve found to stay connected, such as virtual study sessions, Netflix watch parties, and providing safe spaces online just to hang out and talk.
If you’re comfortable, healthy, and in a position to help, there are several ways to give back to during this challenging time. Below are a few examples:
- Pick Up Supplies: If you have a friend, loved one, or an elderly neighbor in isolation, consider picking up groceries, medicine, or other essential items and deliver them. The Amazon Hub is still open on the second floor of the MLK Student Union if you want supplies sent with no-contact delivery. You can also sign-up for Mutual Aid 2020 on Facebook to find a neighbor near you looking for assistance or to sign-up to volunteer.
- Donate Blood: There are blood shortages across the country. Search the American Red Cross to find a blood donation center near you and schedule an appointment. The ASUC Student Union blood drive on April 15 is full.
- Send Messages of Gratitude: Many of us have the privilege to stay home during this time, as we continue to rely on essential workers to provide our food, shelter, and communications needs. Think about thanking a nurse, doctor, teacher, bank teller, grocery store worker, even your mail carrier or delivery driver. It will be appreciated!
- Make or Donate Masks: A number of local organizations are trying to gather medical grade masks and other medical supplies for healthcare workers and vulnerable populations. Consider giving to East Bay Disability Culture Club, UC San Francisco, or Hospice By the Bay. This article also provides a comprehensive list of medical supply needs in the Bay Area and beyond.
We also want to inform you of some opportunities to get engaged virtually with Berkeley while you’re physically distancing. Below are a few suggestions to help you stay connected:
- Take a Group Fitness Class: RecSports Online is now offering free classes in yoga, barre, pilates, Zumba, and total body conditioning, and will be offering on-demand and instructional videos soon. University Village Albany (student family housing) is also holding fitness classes via Zoom; contact UVA Recreation for more information: email@example.com.
- Get Ahead on Your Career Search: The Career Center is hosting several events via Zoom, including the weekly Coffee & Career Chat, to give students an opportunity to ask their job or internship-related questions. They also have provided some advice online on how to navigate your job search during this uncertain time.
- Brush Up on Your Visual Arts: Berkeley Art Studio is providing free classes by professional artists via Zoom in ceramics, photography, drawing, painting, design, and printmaking.
- Join an Online Study Group: The Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) is hosting SERC Study Jams on Google Hangouts Tuesdays and Fridays from 2-5 p.m. to give students an opportunity to study online together.
- Watch a Movie with Friends: SERC is also hosting Netflix Movie Nights on Sundays at 8 p.m. via Netflix Party. Students can vote each week on what the group watches together.
- Connect with Other Student Leaders: The LEAD Center is hosting weekly Student Organization and Community Connection sessions in April to advise student leaders on how to keep the community within their student organizations virtually.