Successful transition from military service to university life requires the advocacy, understanding, and resource connections available through our programs and services even though most Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have access to robust educational benefits through the VA. While it may come as a surprise to some—veterans want to study at UC Berkeley because they recognize the world-class education and array of veterans services that await them here.
Message to current, prospective, and alumni Cal Veterans
from Chancellor Nicholas Dirks--Veterans Day 2013
Veterans bring leadership, maturity, and life skills that make for highly successful students.
We honor their service by helping them to build a better future for themselves as well as for our nation.
Former Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau
Foot·print is a short film about the UC Berkeley Cal Veterans Group. It started out as a simple video project to get other veterans interested in joining, and then morphed into a montage of powerful images and statements. It is a documentary style film with movie trailer energy that reassures the military veteran that all are welcomed on campus and into the classes of Cal.
In addition, the film explains the importance of having the military component in higher education from one of the leaders in the Free Speech Movement (FSM) in the 1960's, Dr. John Searle. This Slusser Professor of Philosophy was not only one of the forefathers of the FSM, but has a son that was in the US Army.
Furthermore, the name Foot·print signified not only the impression that can be left by an individual, but their identity within society. This became abundantly clear to me with the birth of my son. As he slept in the hospital, a card identified him with only his name in bold letters and an impression of his footprint.
Chris Watters - Cal Veteran
Memorial Day Message from Former Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau
Many student veterans learn about our programs and services even before they apply to UC Berkeley for admission. Formal recruitment programs such as the Starting Point Mentorship Program offer students in California community colleges the opportunity to connect with and gain insights from current Cal veterans who recently transferred from community colleges themselves. Additionally, Cal Veterans Student Services hosts admissions workshops and works closely with the Cal Veterans Group (current Cal student veterans) to share experiences and to encourage former service member to see Berkeley as a viable option. From the time that Cal Veterans gain admission to UC Berkeley, we outreach to make certain that students have the earliest opportunity to access our information and services. Through the myBerkeley Application site, new student receptions, CalSO, and our own transitioning workshops, Cal veterans build familiarity and connections to the resources that synchronize the Berkeley and VA bureaucracies.
Accessing timely information, VA certification, and getting a jump-start on life at Berkeley is key when getting things all squared away for a good beginning at Cal. Because Cal veterans often face similar challenges with transition concerns, maximizing VA benefits, and possibly even a commute to campus, we not only offer workshops and courses on this theme, but also provide a direct-connect through our Cal Veterans Services Team of professionals in departments throughout campus.
One of the great ways to achieve these connections is through taking a transition class. EDUC 198: Veterans in Higher Education equates the first semester at UC Berkeley as Boot Camp or Basic Training. Successful navigation through this draws on the experience of others' experiences and building collective wisdom for rising to the challenges that come your way.
As Cal veterans continue in their academic programs on the Berkeley campus, we offer Academic Skills and Enrichment Workshops, and the Outstanding Faculty Series featuring professors from throughout campus to discuss their path through academia and their current research. These small setting encounters foster greater connections among students, staff, and faculty here.
Given that most student veterans are also re-entry students (those 25 and older) some choose to participate in the Judith Lee Stronach Re-entry Prizes for Poetry and Prose and become part of the re-entry student writing community at Cal. Re-entry students compete in this annual writing competition that not only awards $2000 for first place in each category, but also provides an opportunity to highlight nontraditional re-entry student voices and talent on our Berkeley campus. The prizes culminate with an awards ceremony and readings from the selected entries—a true celebration of re-entry students at Cal.
The Beverly Mullins Memorial Scholarship honors the legacy of Cal alumna and former peer advocate Beverly Mullins with an award of up to $5000 to student leaders who are single re-entry student parents. The Mullins family continues to support re-entry single parents with this award, in part, because they have first-hand knowledge of the strength, talent, and determination that single parents at Cal personify.
The Osher Reentry Scholarship Program funds ten Osher Reentry Scholars with awards of up to $5,000 for the academic year. Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Must be an undergraduate re-entry student at UC Berkeley who has experienced a considerable gap in the pursuit of his or her education and who can look forward to a significant number of years of workforce participation
- Must have completed at least one regular term (Fall or Spring) at UC Berkeley
- Must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 from all colleges attended
- All applicants must have filed a FAFSA and be eligible to receive financial aid.
Osher Reentry Scholars are always at the leading edge of this highly-talented student community and Cal veterans are regularly selected for this honor.
The Cal Veterans Group plays a critical role in the recruitment and retention of student veterans at Cal. They regularly host social events, and get involved with fundraising and volunteering opportunities for local events such as the East Bay Stand Down that assists homeless Bay Area veterans. This active student group grows each year and always works to offer a new variety of opportunities to meet, mentor, and get involved as Cal veterans. Mission Transition sums up the work of the Cal Veterans group—transition to civilian life, to higher education, and to the working world to further impact
EDUC 198: Culminating the Cal Experience offers a one-unit capstone experience to Cal veterans interested in preparing to either change careers, re-enter the workforce, or position themselves for graduate programs. This can be a daunting prospect to tackle in addition to life and academics, so this class provides a regularized opportunity to make progress with these concerns.
Many Cal veterans find that having successfully navigated through the first semester at Berkeley, that they want to “give back” and help other students in they way they were assisted upon arriving here. EDUC 198: Peer Leadership and Mentorship in the Classroom is a great way to achieve this. By serving as a student co-facilitator in the Veterans in Higher Education classes, students share their insights and wisdom to newly admitted re-entry students.
Additionally, students who were once mentored by Cal re-entry students in the Starting Point Mentorship Program, regularly recognize the number of talented and dedicated friends and colleagues who are either still on active duty, recently separated, or are at the community college from which they transferred who often think that a Berkeley education is well out of reach. These students often choose to enroll in SW 197: Starting Point Mentorship Program and work to dispel myths and demystify the admissions process by connecting their mentees to admissions professionals, and offering their personal transfer experiences.
The academic year is crowned with our TRSP Achievement Celebration honoring graduating and continuing students and the Cal Veterans Group Hail and Farewell. Excitement overflows when students have an opportunity to celebrate together. Whether completing the undergraduate degree, or finishing their first semester or academic year, spirits soar with Pomp and Circumstance.