7 ways Berkeley students are serving the world

At UC Berkeley, giving back is part of our DNA. As the Public Service Center (PSC) celebrates 50 years, see how Berkeley students serve the community — locally, nationally and globally. #GoBears #PSC50

1. We’re No. 1 for Peace Corps volunteers.

“Some of my favorite memories are dancing with my women’s group on a Sunday afternoon just because someone felt like dancing,” says Sarah Edwards, a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon from 2013 to 2015.

Since 1961, 3,640 alums have gone abroad to work for the Peace Corps — more than any other university.

2. We bring war criminals to justice around the world.

The Human Rights Investigations Lab at Berkeley, the first of its kind, trains a growing workforce of college students to review and verify digital content — typically videos shot by citizens who witnessed atrocities — that could help human rights lawyers prosecute war criminals. A recent conference brought students from around the world to campus to learn how to use social media to fight for human rights.

3. We tackle everyday challenges for the disabled.

At “Makeathon,” engineering students targeted 11 different challenges the disabled face every day, ranging from applying makeup to house automation. Engineers found creative and innovative ways to accomplish daily tasks many take for granted.

4. We lend a hand to those who need it most.

Undergrad Chris Ki cuts the hair of Suitcase Clinic client Michael Georgeius. Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small, UC Berkeley.

From serving the homeless, raising financial literacy, providing free legal services and offering academic assistance, Berkeley students make a difference.

5. We help communities heal — over our spring break.

Photo from California Magazine article, “Helping Heal a Hurricane’s Scars: Cal Students Still Keeping Their Pledge to New Orleans.”

Instead of spending spring break relaxing on the beach, Berkeley students headed to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to help rebuild — and stayed for more than a decade through the PSC’s Alternative Breaks program.

6. We solve the world’s most pressing problems with visionary research.

Photo by Elena Zhukova.

Berkeley students have a rare chance to work alongside world-class faculty with the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP): they help address climate change, study oceans aboard floating classrooms, understand why asteroids “divorce,” create affordable water treatment, reinvent sanitation, and design fuel-efficient cookstoves.

7. And we do this all while continuing to challenge the status quo.

Berkeley students have always been bold and forged new paths, even when it meant questioning authority. The legacy of Free Speech Movement’s leader Mario Savio continues today as we face new challenges about free speech on campus and beyond.


We can’t wait to see where Berkeley students will lead us in the next 50 years!

Share your public service story to celebrate the Public Service Center (PSC) 50th anniversary! #PSC50