University Section Club
I am writing this message with enthusiasm for what our Club accomplished during the pandemic. Our philanthropy was ever-present and strong. Section Club recently gave an emergency grant to a graduating Cal senior whose mother lost her job, father had reduced hours of work, and grandparents were hospitalized because of COVID. The student was working two jobs in an effort to keep her family financially afloat. We’ve given emergency grants to a disabled student needing a mobility scooter and still another student requesting money for car repairs to enable him to work in an internship program. These grants are only a small sample of the number of requests that we’ve fulfilled. Philanthropy is the reason why UC Berkeley considers Section Club a university support group with the benefits and regulations involved. These emergency grants come directly from our fund-raising efforts and donations.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with four of the Activity Sections in addition to my “home” group—Book Discussions. It’s been a testament to the Club’s flexibility and strength that many of the Activity Sections have been finding ways to meet safely whether through Zoom or outdoor sessions. I am elated that the Club still offers its members a chance to interact and gain enrichment through its sections.
Another important highlight of the Club's fortitude during the pandemic was the production of "Breaking Barriers: 150 Years of Women on the Cal Campus"—our outstanding and well-received contribution to inter-campus relations in March, 2022. This program produced by a committee led by Andrea Campos and Sherry Rufini, is posted on the Club’s website, sectionclub.org (Events). Invite your family and friends to review this enjoyable, informative program.
As we begin a new term, I’m determined to offer opportunities for safe, in-person activities. The first—the Fall Reception will be held at the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park on Wednesday, September 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Representatives from our Activity Sections will have a chance to sign up members. Please bring your friends, especially those interested in learning more about Section activities or joining the Club. Also, since I am myself a relatively new Board Member, introduce yourselves to me. I am trying to meet as many members as I can.
With best wishes to you and your families,
Laurie Wu McClain, President
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.