Across campus there are numerous opportunities for stepping into leadership and collaborative  roles. This might include participating in an existing organization, group, or committee, but it can also include creating a new student group or committee to improve or contribute to the campus community or your departmental community.

Steps You Can Take

Serve on a Campus Administrative or Academic Committee

The bodies that make university policy include committees under the purview of the Academic Senate (e.g., Diversity, Equity, and Campus Climate; Library; Teaching; Demonstrations and Student Actions; Academic Freedom); as well as committees appointed by campus administrators (e.g., Course Materials and Services Fees; Campus Advisory Committee on Creative Arts; Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Communities at Cal; Police Review Board).

Serving on such committees is expected for tenure-track faculty at many universities, so sitting on committees as a student is a useful way to develop and exhibit the collaborative skills this work requires. It can also help you learn policy-making skills valued in many professions.

Some committees have special requirements for student members, while others are more open. To learn how to serve on a committee, which committees have openings, and what committee membership entails, contact the Graduate Assembly (GA) or join the GA as a departmental delegate. All faculty senate-level committees at Berkeley include at least one graduate student in their membership. The Graduate Assembly is responsible for forwarding the names of students who would like to serve in these capacities to the relevant committee chairs.


Organize Departmental Professional Development Activities

Departments and research centers on campus offer graduate students a variety of professional development activities. These include alumni panels, workshops, speaker series, and courses run by graduate students or co-run by graduate students and faculty members. Some units, such as the Center for Latin American Studies, provide funds to cover the costs of running these groups and events.

Taking the initiative to organize an event in your department gives you the opportunity to coordinate team work, create and execute a work plan, and build a sense of community, all hallmarks of effective leadership and collaboration. For ideas, peruse “Promising Practices: Steps Departments Can Take to Support the Professional and Career Development of Graduate Students,” developed by the Graduate Council’s Advisory Committee on Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Professional Development; or look at the programming offered by student-run professional development groups on campus.


Participate in Student Government

The Graduate Assembly (GA) is the official representative body of graduate and professional students at UC Berkeley. Its responsibilities include administering a budget, setting an advocacy agenda, and running a variety of important outreach projects (such as the Graduate Minority Student Project; the Graduate Social Club; and Graduate Student Parent Advocacy, among others). To get involved, become a delegate and represent your department or graduate student group as a voting member of the governing body. Details on the process of becoming a delegate can be found here.

Alternatively, you can undertake paid work on a GA initiative, where you will have valuable opportunities to hone your abilities to lead teams of varying sizes and collaborate with Berkeley stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds.


Contribute to Student Groups

Berkeley’s engaged student body offers myriad opportunities to work with and lead teams that carry out projects beyond individual academic research. Getting involved with student-run organizations or student government is a great way to develop and showcase leadership and collaboration skills, demonstrate an interest in campus affairs, and network with fellow students, faculty, and staff. Search through registered campus organizations here. Also take a look at the Equity & Inclusion competency to learn more about being a leader for equity and inclusion across campus and in your department.