Hundreds gather to honor UC’s community partners

By Kenyatte Davis Daily Planet staff
Friday September 28, 2001

UC Berkeley honored nine of its community partnership programs Tuesday during a two-hour gala held at the University House on the north side of campus. 

Hundreds gathered in the garden, ate hors d’oeuvres, drank white wine or sparkling water and admired the accomplishments of the honored organizations. 

The partners receiving recognition included Berkeley based Parents Guide Project, Suitcase Clinic, West Berkeley Neighborhood Collaboration and Berkeley Scholars to Cal. 

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl reflected on the importance of community as he presented certificates to representatives of each of the nine groups. 

“In a time of tragedy, one’s sense of community becomes even greater,” said Berdahl, “and that makes today’s event even more appropriate, as we honor those groups that have done so much to serve our community.” 

As Berdahl described each group and its community activity, five or six representatives stepped forward to receive their awards. 

“I think this is a great first step for building a strong bond between the university and the community,” said Willie Phillips, director of the West Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation. “That’s a bond that needs to be built because the community at Cal has resources that the community of Berkeley needs access to.” 

Students from UC Berkeley’s Consulting Program at Haas School of Business and Urban Planning Department have been very involved in the success of the WBNDC. With the resources that the university has made available, the non-profit organization has been able to produce a weekly marketplace, an interactive Web site, and the “West Berkeley Pride Guide,” a booklet of information celebrating West Berkeley.  

“The university brings resources that no non-profit could afford to buy,” said Phillips. “They play a critical role in building up the community.” 

One of the programs that was honored was the Interactive University Project, which, according Berdahl, was one of the first sites publicized on the Internet back in 1996. 

The program uses the Internet to give teachers from the Oakland and San Francisco school districts access to the resources of UC Berkeley. IU, as it is commonly called, has been fighting the digital divide for five years, not only by working with teachers locally, but by making the powerful learning tools available to teachers and students throughout the world. The Interactive University can be accessed at http://iu.berkeley.edu. 

The Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas, was another of the honored partnerships. The center, in partnership with UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, works with farm workers to research the effects of working in the fields and to ensure that they and their children are safe. 

Members of the Young Musicians Program, another of UC Berkeley’s community partnerships, provided the music for the evening. Students in the program attend a seven-week summer class on the UC Berkeley campus where they develop additional musical skills. The program boasts that it has sent 100 percent of its students to universities.