What is the Berkeley Changemaker?

Berkeley Changemaker is a program that codifies an essential part of what UC Berkeley has always stood for and provides a galvanizing narrative that our whole campus is rallying behind, humanists and scientists alike. Through its focus on i) critical thinking, ii) communication, and iii) collaboration, its curriculum activates undergraduates’ passions and develops a sharper sense of who they want to be and how to make that happen. The program has, in its first eighteen months, enrolled between ten and fifteen percent of UC Berkeley undergraduates.


Berkeley Changemaker is inclusive

World-class researchers like Nobelist Jennifer Doudna are most certainly changemakers, as are our alumni founders of Apple and Tesla. Students, faculty, and staff across campus, from the Humanities to the hard sciences, from traditional entrepreneurs to social justice advocates, are seeing themselves as Berkeley Changemakers. Those with an agency for making society and our world better are drawn alike to this expansive definition and narrative.

Berkeley Changemaker has intellectual heft

All of our courses, workshops, and programs include a clear and consistent focus on the core pillars of critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. These are central to a great education, regardless of field of study. The Berkeley Changemaker program goes beyond a simple focus on functional "changemaking skills" or co-curricular activities to deliver a robust curriculum of over 15 academically-rigorous courses in departments across our campus. 

Berkeley Changemaker builds upon Berkeley's distinguishing values

There’s no better way to put a substantive signature behind a university effort than doing so with values. Berkeley’s values – like questioning the status quo and thinking and acting beyond ourselves – power our teaching, research, and service, and have done so for generations. These are not just “us too values.” Consider the President of an elite private university saying, “This university is about questioning the status quo.” Really? When mission – delivering positive impact – and values converge in this way, the result is powerful.

I came to Berkeley to work on planet scale problems with one-of-a-kind people. This course empowered me to do just that. When I first read the description, I couldn't help but sign up. Over the past few weeks, I've received an exciting and inspiring introduction into the magic of UC Berkeley. Beyond the changemaker skillset I have been able to develop, I've learned that Berkeley is a place without limits, and I have the power to shape it in my own unique way.
Miles Nash, Class of 2025 and Berkeley Changemaker
Photo of student raising hand

Photo credit: Jim Block

So, as someone who had relatively little guidance as to how I could be a leader, changemaker, and effective teammate before this course, I am more than excited to instill the lessons I've learned into my everyday life. Since the course, I've started a project with a fellow changemaker, have set aside the time for an organization I'm hoping to develop and have begun planning for future endeavors!
Cyn Gomez, Class of 2024, L&S12 Student and Berkeley Changemaker

Berkeley Changemaker Highlights

  • Another 460 Berkeley Changemakers completed our Summer 2021 Course 12: The Berkeley Changemaker, including the inaugural Berkeley Changemaker: First-Year Experience cohort, the first of its kind at UC Berkeley since the 1970s. 
  • Over 4,000 students have enrolled in Berkeley Changemaker courses since July 2020.
  • "The Berkeley Changemaker" gateway Course 12 is now offered all three semesters.
  • Course 12 consistently earns high course & instructor effectiveness ratings from our students.
  • Our suite of Berkeley Changemaker courses now includes 16 courses.
  • Our fourth staff workshop, Berkeley Changemaker: The Conversation, focused on excerpts from the book, The Conversation – How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations, by Dr. Robert Livingston. We were joined by Dr. Livingston.
Credit: Jim Block

Credit: Jim Block

Image of Berkeley Changemaker students on Sproul Plaza
As a rising senior looking for a course to take during the summer...I decided to add this course was because of how many different leaders from various majors throughout the campus would be invited to be guest speakers and share their passions and experiences pertaining to leadership within their specific fields...In a sense we were given the honor to talk to the giants that paved a way and len[t] a shoulder to us evergrowing future giants.
YeRin Jun, Class of 2021, L&S C12 Student, and Berkeley Changemaker
I love the fact that changemakers do not need to be bounded by their areas of interest, be it public health, food activism, electronics, writing. All of us in our own respect and interest can make a difference, especially with these lectures to guide us.
Course 12 Student, Class of 2024
BERKELEY CHANGEMAKER is a trademark of The Regents of the University of California through its Berkeley campus.  It is not affiliated with any third parties using “changemaker” or similar terms

Welcome, Berkeley Changemakers!

If you are interested in investing in the Berkeley Changemaker, please let us know.

changemaker@berkeley.edu

Since our launch in July 2020, Berkeley Changemaker classes have enrolled over 4,200 undergraduates! That's between 13-15% of Berkeley's total undergraduate population.

Questioning the status quo and serving the community are certainly important themes right now. These values are why I chose Berkeley and I am glad we are taking the time to analyze how we can act on those values in the interest of building a better world.
Isha Soni, Class of 2024 and Berkeley Changemaker