Our commitment to the CED Diversity Fund
Increasing the diversity of the student population is a priority at the College of Environmental Design. Many of our peer institutions, including several private universities, are able to offer far more generous financial aid packages to incoming students. This was one reason that under the leadership of Dean Jennifer Wolch, the College funded the CED First Year Fellowships for Professional Masters Students, from 2011 to 2014. The fellowships covered a portion of a student’s tuition and their professional degree supplemental tuition free for graduate students. However, when faced with campus budget reductions, the College was forced to end funding for the fellowship to protect the departments and their academic programs.
In 2017, the CED Students of Color group presented Dean Wolch and the College with a petition to reinstate this fellowship, signed by 189 students, 131 alumni, and 17 faculty and staff. In response to the petition, the department chairs and the Dean identified new funding sources that would allow the First Year Fellowship program to be reinstated for professional graduate students admitted for Fall 2017.
In addition to the funding provided through departmental sources for the graduate fellowship, CED is proud to announce that during the 2018 CED Big Give, CED raised more than $75,000 towards the Diversity Fund for Student Support. This fund will provide scholarships and fellowships to underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students.
CED believes that a diverse student body is critical to creating a rich, critical learning environment at UC Berkeley as well as training a new cohort of professionals better prepared to tackle social justice issues in the fields of architecture, city and regional planning, and landscape architecture and environmental planning.
Read CED Alumni Testimonials below
which speak to the incredible value of learning, studying and working alongside diverse peers
Joe B., M.C.P. '72
As a member of the class of 1972, I am in support of the diversity fellowship program. Over the past 45 years of professional work throughout the nation and in underserved communities, I have witnessed the positive results of community building efforts that have had association with trained professionals of color. They brought to their work a sensitivity to place that has added value and built relationships and trust.
Carline A., M.C.P. '15
As someone who has attended two University of California campuses, I believe public higher education should be accessible and affordable for all. A diverse student body is critical to creating a rich, critical learning environment at CED as well as training a new cohort of professionals better prepared to address the historic and contemporary injustices in the built environment.
Born to children of refugees, I was raised in affordable housing and began working at age 15 to support my family. These circumstances are pretty typical for low-income students from underrepresented backgrounds, who often lack the guidance to prepare for and to save for college. During my senior year of high school, I applied to over 50 scholarships. I made it to college with $20,000 in financial support, which was barely enough to cover my first year in college. Nonetheless, the scholarship helped me fulfill a dream to attend a UC and study what I was most passionate about: cities.
Although I still had to work throughout my undergrad to pay for school, I was able to land my first (unpaid) internship at a city planning department. However, I was disappointed by the underrepresentation of people of color in my program and at the city planning department. When social justice issues were discussed, it felt shallow in some ways because there were hardly people to dig deep or connect with about the uncomfortable yet contemporary prejudices in the realm of planning. I decided to go on to pursue my master's in city planning at UC Berkeley, where I felt challenged by peers who came from all walks of life and where I found organizations such as CED Students of Color that are committed to advancing racial and environmental justice.
CED is also where I've met exceptional mentors who helped me land a job soon after graduating in 2015. I'm deeply proud of my alma mater, CED, and remain confident that it will continue to make diversity a priority. My higher education was made possible by scholarships, which were funded by by people who believe that public higher education is for everyone.
Sydney C., M.C.P. '24
I began my studies in 2012 and had the fortunate privilege of receiving a fellowship from CED. As a first generation college student, and the only person among my extended family to go to graduate school in the US, I did not know what to expect my first semester at Berkeley. The fellowship was crucial in allowing me to focus on my studies while I became oriented to the program and my responsibilities as a graduate student, instead of taking on a job my first semester to help me pay for my living expenses.
I am proud to have graduated from one of the more diverse DCRP classes that I believe was due in part to the important fellowship offered to many of my classmates. We cannot afford another generation of urban policies and practices that fail to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and that fail to address past injustices. As a leading educational and public institution, CED has a responsibility to eliminate barriers to higher education, particularly for people of color who have historically been excluded from the planning decisions that have impacted their communities.
David W., M.C.P. / M.S. '14
We have an absolute obligation to be improving the diversity of the planning profession. It is the right thing to do for all the students in the program, for the profession, and for the communities we serve.