August 17, 2021 - Back-to-School Roundup: Welcome Back for Fall 2021

Dear undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,

Welcome to fall 2021! Campus begins in-person classes on the first day of instruction, which for most programs is on August 25, 2021. Most campus services will offer combinations of in-person and remote options to better accommodate student preferences and schedules. 

Here are this month’s other key takeaways:

We’ve got the scoop on returning to campus, from our general resource guide to ten tips to get ready for fall. Our students cover fun things to do at Berkeley (with pizza, of course) and how to find clubs and organizations. New undergraduate students can even get some advice from upper division undergraduate students. 


Health and Safety

Mask Up

Students and community members in University spaces (indoors or outdoors) will need to wear face coverings indoors or as directed, regardless of vaccination status. Exceptions to face covering requirements include when you are alone in a room by yourself with the door closed or when eating or drinking, showering or brushing your teeth. If living in campus housing, you do not need to wear face coverings when in your own room or apartment. Outdoors, face coverings are optional and may be worn by anyone (vaccinated or unvaccinated) if they choose to do so.


Get Vaccinated

The University of California vaccination program requires all students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated or receive a vaccine mandate exception to access campus. Read the UC FAQs for students for details and answers to common questions. If you have not already done so, upload a record of your vaccination (PDF) to eTang, plan to get vaccinated, or learn how to apply for an exemption. 


Get Tested

Please review the UHS COVID Arrival Guidelines, which include the testing, vaccination, and self-sequestering requirements for students. Remember: All students coming to campus must get tested by University Health Services (UHS) at least one time, regardless of vaccination status. Find details specific to your vaccination status, housing situation, and whether you’re arriving from an international location.


Back-to-School Health Guidance

Review this handy summary of need-to-know health and safety info for the coming school year. Living in a campus residence hall or apartment? We’ve compiled health and safety guidelines just for you. We encourage you to visit the campus coronavirus site regularly for the latest updates, including an updated matrix of requirements for accessing campus and information about what happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19.


Confused? See the Success Toolkit

The Student Success Toolkit, a resource hub for all Golden Bears, has been updated with detailed information to help you transition to campus this fall. Find information on how to Navigate Student Spaces, resources to help you Build Belonging and Community, plus updates and FAQS about student services.


Fire Season, Power Outage Prep

California’s fire season typically runs from August to October (even November, for the past few years). Sometimes power outages happen for fire prevention. Bookmark this Fire Season Preparedness page to learn what to do in power outages, smoky conditions, and more.


Safety Alert Texts

Get alerted to immediate threats to health or safety in the campus community by signing up for text messages from WarnMe/Nixle, UC Berkeley's alerting and warning service.


Connecting and Community

Join a Club

Berkeley offers more than 1,400 student clubs and organizations. How do you navigate? Transfer student Lillian Marsh covers the ins and outs of campus activities, starting with this month’s feature Clubs and Orgs: Where to Begin? Also, be sure to explore CalLink, a searchable site for student events and organizations. You can create your own account to track your involvement.


Have Some Fun

Ahh, it’s great to be back...and find out all of the fun things to do during your time at Berkeley. Sophomore Dixie Jimenez culled through hundreds of student responses for her series on campus life. The series kicks off with Fun at Berkeley (Part 1).


Get Undergrad Student Advice

Juniors and seniors have survived a few years at UC Berkeley. Who better to explain “what-they-wish-they-knew-when-they-started-college?” Check out their advice and tips; you never know what shortcuts you might learn.


Undergrad Welcome Events

Golden Bear Orientation (GBO) starts this week for new incoming freshman and transfer students  — welcome! If you started at Berkeley in fall 2020 or spring 2021 (freshman and transfer), you are invited to participate in a variety of events that take into account your unique second year as a member of the Berkeley community: group meetups, a Welcome Back concert, and more. (Look for an email from New Student Services for details.)


Grad Student Welcome Event

All UC Berkeley graduate students — master’s, professional, and doctoral, both new and continuing — are invited to attend the Grad Student Welcome Event on Thursday August 26.

The event will have two components: an Open House in Sproul Hall from 3 to 5 p.m. to meet Graduate Division staff and an outdoor gathering on Sproul Plaza from 5 to 7 p.m. with music, food, giveaways, and opportunities to meet fellow graduate students outside of your program. Face coverings will be required indoors. Please register for this event.


On the Same Page: Virtual Keynote

Please register to hear author Karla Cornejo Villavicencio speak about her book The Undocumented Americans at the On the Same Page virtual keynote event this Friday, August 20, at 4 p.m. Villavicencio will be in conversation with actor Diane Guerrero.


Cal Athletics $99 Student Pass

The Cal Football season kicks off September 4, at 7:30 p.m. against the University of Nevada, and as a welcome back for students, the Cal Athletics department is offering a great deal: Get a student ticket pass for only $99, which gets you tickets to all football and men's basketball games for the entire year. And this year for the first time, you’ll be able to order concessions from your seat at Cal football games.


Resources and Support

Cal 1 Card Pickup

New incoming freshman and transfer students will pick up their Cal 1 Cards at Move-In or, if living off-campus, at Check-In for Golden Bear Orientation (GBO). Visit the Cal 1 Card website for other card pickup and replacement options.


Meal Plan Deadlines

This is the best time to sign up for meal plans, whether you live on or off campus. Here’s the scoop:

  • Living on campus: Now until September 4, you can upgrade your meal plan to add more meal swipes and more flexibility. Balancing living and learning has never been so easy or tasted so good.
  • Living in off-campus housing or University-owned/affiliated apartments: New meal plans offer more flexibility to meet your needs, while still enabling you to enjoy a variety of foods and flavors across campus.


Free Loaner Laptops, Webcams, Etc.

Students in need of a laptop or other technology hardware can apply to the Student Technology Equity Program (STEP) for a loaned device at no charge. STEP is now accepting applications on a rolling basis throughout the current academic year, while supplies last. Fall 2021 applications will be accepted from July 6 to November 24. 


Request Free Adobe Creative Suite License

Request an Adobe Creative Suite license (at no cost to you).  The Adobe Creative Suite includes software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, and Acrobat.


Access UC Libraries

Try out UC Library Search, a platform that makes it easier for you to find and borrow resources from libraries not only at Berkeley, but also across the entire University of California system. (And, if you need to get oriented, here’s a basic guide to navigating the Library system.)


Survivor Support

The PATH to Care Center Care Line is a 24/7, confidential, free, campus-based resource for urgent support around sexual assault, sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, stalking, and invasion of sexual privacy: 510-643-2005.


Mental Health and Counseling

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers student support via drop-in visits or virtual appointments (and other resources). Call CAPS at 510-642-9494 or call the after-hours counseling line at 855-817-5667. 


Jobs and Careers

Work-Study Job Fair: RSVP

The Work-Study Program’s annual Work-Study Job Fair takes place from September 14 to17, via Zoom, and hosts employers located on (and off) campus who are recruiting work-study eligible students. If you are interested in participating, please RSVP by filling out the form by September 10.


Career Center Open

The Berkeley Career Center is open for in-person appointments. Phone and virtual appointments are available as well. Schedule via Handshake.


Rec Sports Is Hiring

Looking for a job where you can have fun and learn valuable life skills? Rec Sports is hiring in areas such as fitness, aquatics, IM (intramural) Sports, facility operations, and more.


Keep in mind: Campus rules and policies may change due to the ongoing pandemic and any changes in public health guidance. We will communicate any such changes to you. 


Stick with the monthly Roundup too for the latest information on the Berkeley student experience. We asked you for feedback on how we can improve this newsletter, and more than 400 of you answered...thank you, and congrats to Preethi M., our drawing winner of a $25 Amazon gift card. We appreciate everyone’s helpful answers and will continue to find ways to evolve.


We’re glad to have you back. Go Bears!



Stephen C. Sutton, Ed.D. (he/him/his)
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs


Berkeley Life Roundup is a monthly email with news just for students: health and wellness information, a summary of important campus updates, resources and support, and opportunities to connect, engage, and learn. Please also check out Berkeley Life hub and Berkeley Life Instagram. Graduate students can also connect with Graduate Division Instagram, as well as other platforms.


This message was sent to all undergraduate and graduate students.