Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Berkeley Connect has an abiding commitment to equity, inclusion, and belonging. At the start of each semester, this message about the significance of belonging is sent to all students in Berkeley Connect:

The motto of Berkeley Connect is “you belong here.” Our goal is to help every student who participates increase their sense of belonging and confidence they can succeed at UC Berkeley. All of us involved in Berkeley Connect want you to know that this is your university, and we are here to help you make the most out of your time here.

We are grateful to have you as part of our community. We recognize that our university is an institution within a country, and an educational system, that have conferred a sense of belonging to some people based on their race, ethnic identity, first language, gender, sexuality or other characteristics, and denied it to others. Our goal in Berkeley Connect is to ensure that every participating student feels seen and heard, valued, included, and welcomed, in Berkeley Connect and at UC Berkeley.

Every member of Berkeley Connect plays an important role in creating a community of belonging. The faculty directors, graduate student mentors, and staff work together to set the stage for an inclusive and welcoming space. But YOU as the students make this space come alive. When you listen attentively, engage fully, and open yourself to new perspectives, you will not only get the most out of your Berkeley Connect experience, you will help others feel welcomed and respected.

Berkeley Connect strives to uphold the university’s Principles of Community. If you as a participating student ever feel that your Berkeley Connect experience is not living up to these goals and values, we urge you to speak to your mentor, the faculty director of Berkeley Connect in your department, and/or the Berkeley Connect central office. Your experience matters to us.

We are always looking for ways to ensure that Berkeley Connect is an equitable and inclusive experience for all. Before they begin interacting with undergraduates, Berkeley Connect Fellows receive training on inclusive mentoring practices, developed in partnership with the Division of Equity & Inclusion. Throughout the year, mentors are offered additional resources and learning opportunities. Training topics creating community agreements, setting student expectations, facilitating interactive discussions, managing difficult conversations, addressing imposter syndrome and stereotype threat, and addressing incidents of racial violence. All Fellows also complete a refresher training on responding to sexual harassment and sexual violence. Former Berkeley Connect Fellows are invited back to serve as Consulting Fellows; in this role, they develop training materials and provide peer-to-peer mentoring to current Fellows.

Acknowledgement of land and place

We at Berkeley Connect recognize that Berkeley sits on the territory of xučyun (Huichin), the ancestral and unceded land of the Chochenyo-speaking Ohlone people, the successors of the historic and sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County. This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and other familial descendants of the Verona Band.

We recognize that every member of the Berkeley community has benefitted, and continues to benefit, from the use and occupation of this land since the institution’s founding in 1868. Consistent with our values of community and diversity, we have a responsibility to acknowledge and make visible the university’s relationship to Native peoples, and to hold ourselves more accountable to the needs of American Indian and Indigenous peoples.

This statement is adapted from one developed by the Native American Student Development program in partnership with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe.

If you have any concerns about the inclusiveness of Berkeley Connect, or ideas about it could be enhanced, please contact us at berkeleyconnect@berkeley.edu.