Whether it’s your first or last year at Cal, joining a student organization on campus is a great way to cultivate community in your life. However, the hundreds of clubs and organizations welcoming new members each semester can be very overwhelming.
There are over 40 environmental organizations on campus that offer opportunities to get involved in environmental advocacy and to find support among fellow students. The majority of the environmental organizations are open to all students — regardless of their major — and the only prerequisite is an interest in the environment and sustainability.
To make it easier to find an organization that aligns with your interests, here’s a summary of five well-established student organizations that gear towards different groups within the environmental community.
Herbicide Free Cal
This student-led organization is the UC Berkeley branch of the global organization Re:wild Your Campus, previously known as Herbicide Free Campus. The club organizes community weeding days open for all students to help manually remove weeds from the gardens on campus as an alternative to toxic herbicides. Information regarding events is announced on its Instagram; you can also join the mailing list.
Berkeley Student Farms
Berkeley Student Farms is a coalition of eight student-run gardens on and near the UC Berkeley campus. The organization holds open hours at the garden spaces for students to help cultivate the land and just simply be in nature. The farms incorporate ecological principles into the farming practices to promote healthy soil and biodiversity. Produce from the farms is donated to the UC Berkeley Food Pantry. You can get involved by finding the events and open hours schedule on the coalition’s Instagram or website.
Students of Color Environmental Collective (SCEC)
This student organization is a space for students of color to find opportunities to engage in social and environmental movements, as well as find community in shared experiences. SCEC focuses on centering marginalized voices in discussions of social and environmental issues and the organization raises conversation about environmental racism on and off campus. If you identify as a person of color, you can find meeting updates on the organization’s Instagram.
Latinxs and the Environment
Latinxs and the Environment is an initiative led by the Center for Latino Policy and Research at UC Berkeley. The organization offers opportunities for Latinx students to get involved in research related to the environment and the Latinx community through organizing seminars, conferences and mentorship programs. To stay up to date on future opportunities and keep track of current events and resources, you can subscribe to its mailing list.
The Berkeley Student Food Collective
The Berkeley Student Food Collective is a student and community-run grocery store next to the UC Berkeley campus that offers healthy, sustainably produced food at affordable prices. As a cooperative nonprofit organization, BSFC contributes to food justice by making ethical and sustainable food more accessible. You can support the organization by donating on its website or shopping at its storefront located on 2440 Bancroft Way in Berkeley. You can apply for membership to enjoy a 10% discount in exchange for volunteering in the store and attending weekly meetings plus monthly workshops.
The UC Berkeley community has a lot to offer students who are passionate about social and environmental issues. On a large — sometimes overwhelming — campus, it’s important to find support and community among fellow students with similar interests and values. Joining a student organization is a great opportunity to make a campus with nearly 50,000 students feel a bit smaller.