University Section Club
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Laurie Wu McClain
When I was carpooling with a fellow University Section Club member, she asked me, “How do you like being President of the Club?” My spontaneous reply was, “I love it.” There is nothing like working for an organization that I believe in. Our Activity Sections have demonstrated their extraordinary flexibility in bringing people together for enjoyment and friendship even during the pandemic. Our emergency grants have supported a multitude of students at one of the finest public universities in the world –U.C. Berkeley. There’s a number that I cherish--$252,000—because our Section Club gave that amount of money to Cal students from 2019 to the end of 2022. That number is even more impressive when we consider that we are totally a volunteer organization without a paid staff.
One of the hallmarks of the Club is the number of members and volunteers who have done their best to make the February Beehive, our major 2023 fundraiser, a success. I give special thanks to Co-Chairs Holly Hartley and Dorothy Kaplan, and all of the persons and Sections for working before, during, and after Beehive in a myriad of ways--early planning and preparation months before, soliciting donations for our auctions, offering donations, collecting checks, making and distributing name tags, determining seating arrangements, selling raffle tickets, creating beautiful raffle baskets, designing our online and in-person auction catalogues, facilitating the auctions, helping to set up and decorate tables, transporting items to and from the church, cooking, baking, preparing appetizer plates, selling goods at the tables, taking the liquor test for a permit, serving wine, clean-up, counting revenues, and preparing an anticipated Beehive financial statement. I am very grateful for all the work that went into this successful event to support our Cal students in 2023. Thanks to all!
I have been moved by the numerous positive responses that I have received from our members and friends. One email exclaimed, “And we, the beneficiaries of all that multifarious, magnificent work, i.e. the members of the University Section Club and their guests, add their profound thanks and felicitations. Best regards and good wishes to All Involved.” Beehive was not only successful for the funds raised for students, but also as a social event enjoyed by members and guests.
As I end my term as President of the Section Club in May, 2023, I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the Club. I wish the incoming President Andrea Campos all of the good will and support that I have had during this year. It’s been a pleasure to see this Club thrive.
If you haven’t seen our Club’s video--
"Breaking Barriers: 150 Years of Women on the Cal Campus"—our outstanding and well-received contribution to inter-campus relations in March, 2022, you can click on the highlighted title above or here-- (Events) to find out more the background to the video. I have received many kind, supportive emails from you. Thank you all.
With best wishes to you and your families,
Founded in 1927, the University Section Club, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and a recognized support organization for the University of California, Berkeley, serves the UC Berkeley community in various ways. We offer eighteen sections from languages to tennis, and birding to pickleball, that provide an enjoyable way for members to come together around shared interests. Volunteer activities welcome and support students, international scholars and their families. Fundraising activities, dues and donations support philanthropy to students which include emergency grants, financial support for student groups and programs, and two endowed scholarships.
The University Section Club, Inc was a daughter-organization of the College Teas which was founded in 1907 to foster friendships among the faculty of the University of California. In 1927, a fire destroyed Hearst Hall where the Teas had been meeting. With their small insurance money, they established a Loan Fund for needy students and raising money for this Fund became their primary responsibility. By 1927, informal meetings of faculty wives were formed into The Section Club. Ten interest groups - sections were started: Badminton, Walking, Homemaking, Foreign Languages, Bridge, Drama, Music and Philanthropy (later Services Offered Students, S.O.S.).
For over 50 years, the Teas and Section Club co-existed, but as Section Club grew the Teas dwindled. In 1984, it became an official support group of the University by offering grants and support to deserving students and student-related groups.
Each summer the University Section Club distributes an informational flyer on the year's activities and calendar. The flyer includes an organization chart of the Club's structure of services to students and sections. It ends with an invitation form to join with the address of the Club.