Before starting classes, incoming public health students lend a hand
On Wednesday, August 22, incoming graduate students in public health spent the afternoon performing public service at nonprofit organizations throughout Berkeley as part of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health's Volunteer Mobilization Day. Since 2005, the day of service has been a tradition that marks the start of students' experience at the School of Public Health.
“Community service is an essential component of public health leadership,” said Dean Stephen Shortell. “Volunteer Mobilization Day gives our incoming graduate students the opportunity to be involved directly with the Berkeley community and begin their leadership training as soon as they arrive.”
The organizations that hosted volunteers were Berkeley Path Wanderers, Friends of Five Creeks, the North Berkeley Senior Center, Halcyon Commons, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, and Chapparal House.
“There are so many great local organizations working to improve health and well-being in Berkeley, and we feel lucky to partner with them year after year,” says Monica Barr, a master’s student in maternal and child health and the lead organizer of the event. “It's an amazing
opportunity for students to learn more about public health needs in their neighborhood, meet others who want to make a difference, and roll up their sleeves to pitch in. We hope that all of the students who participate in Volunteer Mobilization Day continue to give back to the Berkeley community.”
Teams of volunteers were deployed to the sites where they performed a range of activities such administering a client satisfaction survey to seniors, controlling invasive plants on the shoreline, renovating a campus for homeless families, graffiti removal and beautification of a local park. The event, which was organized by students, capped off the entering students' orientation activities and followed a morning session on leadership in public health.
Photos by Peg Skorpinski
By Linda Anderberg