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Innovative "town and gown" community partnerships honored by UC Berkeley Chancellor and Mrs. Robert M. Berdahl
09 Oct 2000

By Irene Hegarty, Office of Community Relations

Berkeley -- Twelve of the leading community programs involving cooperation between the University of California, Berkeley, the City of Berkeley and surrounding East Bay cities recently were honored at the first annual University and Community Partnerships Recognition Reception.

Hosted by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl and his wife, Peg Berdahl, this first-time community celebration, held on the campus, showcased "town and gown" collaborations that make contributions in the areas of economic development and revitalization, cultural and educational enrichment, environmental preservation, science education and health.

"This work is very much at the heart of what is important to us, and we felt it should be properly recognized. We are proud to be establishing this tradition," said the Berdahls.

Chancellor Berdahl added, "These 12 partnerships represent the absolute finest examples of collaborative efforts to address community and university interests and emphasize the amazing breadth and depth of efforts focusing on community solutions."

UC Berkeley is involved in more than 150 community partnerships and collaborations - from the Bay Area to Taiwan - that focus on addressing some of today's most pressing challenges. "These local partnerships speak louder than any words ever could to the powerful synergy between a major research university and an active community," said Berdahl. "They show us the range of complex issues and problems that can be successfully tackled through collective resources and shared imagination."

The recognized projects represent a cross-section of community members and UC Berkeley faculty members, staff members and students.

* Artsbridge - This collaboration between UC Berkeley's Department of Art Practice, the Consortium for the Arts, and three Berkeley schools provides workshops and after-school projects to children in several arts fields.

* The Bay Area Urban Debate League - UC Berkeley's Department of Political Science and 10 Bay Area high schools offer high school students a full year of training in public policy debate techniques.

* City Bugs - A collaboration between UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources, the Berkeley Pledge, the Interactive University Program, UC Cooperative Extension, and the Oakland Unified School District focuses on insect, life science and biodiversity education for teachers and students.

* The Fruit and Vegetable Intake of Middle School Students Survey - An effort between UC Berkeley's Department of Nutritional Sciences and School of Public Health, the Berkeley Unified School District, Center of Ecoliteracy, UC Cooperative Extension, and Willard Middle School emphasizes nutritional education for children and promotes school gardens projects.

* The Fruitvale Neighborhood Revitalization Project - UC Berkeley's Institute of Urban & Regional Development and the campus's departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science, Policy & Management, and Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning; along with the Spanish Speaking Unity Council, the City of Oakland, and several community organizations, are focusing on inner-city neighborhood revitalization in Oakland.

* The Office of Resources for International and Area Studies - A collaboration between UC Berkeley's Center for South Asia Studies, the campus's International & Area Studies, the San Francisco Unified School District, the World Affairs Council, and other community organizations, provides outreach support workshops and Internet resources for K-12 world history teachers.

* Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center -UC Berkeley, San Jose State University and the California Academy of Sciences together are designing creative earthquake engineering exhibits for earthquake preparedness education.

* Poetry for the People - This collaboration between UC Berkeley's African American Studies and English departments, Berkeley High School, and Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco offers a series of poetry writing workshops in a "student-teacher-poets" environment.

* Save International -UC Berkeley's Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, legislators and community members are working to prevent the approval of a proposed petrochemical complex in Taiwan that endangers a rare bird. Community efforts have grown to include Taiwanese building safety education.

* The UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project - A collaboration between UC Berkeley's Department of History, the campus's Institute of Urban & Regional Development, and Oakland public schools is focusing on professional development for history and social science teachers.

* The Urban Plan - UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design, Graduate School of Education, Haas School of Business and Institute of Urban & Regional Development, along with Oakland Technical High School, are teaching high school students urban planning and design techniques, issue analysis and public participation skills.

* The Vision and Eye Health Screening for Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade - A collaboration between UC Berkeley's School of Optometry, the University Eye Center, UC Child Care Services, and several Bay Area communities is providing more than 14,000 children in Diablo Valley, Tracy, Berkeley and Albany with annual eye health screenings and vision education.