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What is the history of the Campus Bridging Project?

The Campus Bridging Project is an ongoing initiative of the Othering and Belonging Institute supported by the Haas Jr. Fund. Our work is motivated by this central question: What does it take to bring the UC Berkeley campus community together across acknowledged differences? 

We began this work by investigating where divides (or breaking* ) are happening on Berkeley’s campus and asking how students navigate these cleavages? When speaking with various communities on campus, the Campus Bridging Project identified some of these key concerns. Students highlighted the lack of designated spaces, representation in faculty, and funding as leading to feelings of exclusion. 

Along with investigating instances of breaking on campus we also studied where and how individuals and groups were working to come together, what bridging* work was already being done. With this grounding in instances of both breaking and bridging, the project then worked to help train students and student leaders on the bridging framework, support groups already engaged in bridging work, and develop new programs. Some of the project’s past work has led us to work and partner with the Student Advocate’s Office, Berkeley Student Farms, poet Danez Smith, the Sustained Dialogue Institute, and many others.**

When we began interviewing students about their experiences on campus, respondents would often share stories of attending events, going to classes, or simply existing on Berkeley’s campus and having their presence and belonging as Berkeley students questioned. By doing the work to bridge diverse groups on campus, to invite folks into considering “a larger we”, this project aims to be part of the effort to make UC Berkeley a place where all community members experience a sense of belonging.***

Upcoming Events

Long bridges promo

Long Bridges

The Long Bridges Program seeks to address existing and emergent fractures seen across a variety of groups on campus. We are inviting groups to join us for single afternoon-long containers of guided facilitation, tasty lunches, bridging in action, and more! The main goal is to lower barriers of contact and interaction between groups and to help set the stage for them to build a deeper understanding of one another. Interested in our upcoming Graduate Student-Faculty program? Check out the interest form here!

course announcement

Bridging & Belonging Course

This course will focus on how we, as interconnected community members, can help bridge the gap from “othering” to “belonging.” Bridging calls us to imagine a larger, more inclusive "we." One of the ways we can bridge with one another is to engage in healthy dialogue, which requires us to listen deeply. You can find weekly recaps of the class on our Instagram (@campusbridgingproject)

Belonging resident company

Belonging Resident Company

The Belonging Resident Company experience is borne out of a collaboration between OBI and the Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) Department at UC Berkeley. Focusing particularly on movement, theater, mindfulness and collaboration, BRC offers a unique exploration of belonging.

Depolarization day

Depolarization Day

Want a chance to hear from experts studying the root of what’s driving us apart and how we come back together? Eager to build the skills to listen empathetically, elicit narratives of connection, and interview professionally? Looking for a chance to engage with groundbreaking documentary films that push us to expand our perspective? Come join The Othering and Belonging Institute’s Campus Bridging Project and The Social Cohesion Lab, along with our collaborators and co-sponsors (The Greater Good Science Center, Berkeley Haas DEIJB and Berkeley Haas HBSA) for a Depolarization Day on April 6th, 2024 from 10am-4pm. The interest form can be found here.

Artwork provided by artist Gustaf Ö Hjalmars as part of the Bridging & Belonging open call - a creative collaboration between Fine Acts and the Democracy & Belonging Forum, an initiative from the Othering and Belonging Institute (OBI) at the University of California, Berkeley. Learn more at fineacts.co/belonging.  

  • * For a deeper understanding of the project’s grounding frameworks as well as helpful definitions of: breaking, bridging, belonging and more we recommend checking out the rest of OBI’s website and especially the following podcast with john a. powell: https://soundcloud.com/otheringandbelonging
  • ** More information about these past events can be found in the sidebar. Information about current and upcoming events can be found above.
  • ***For a deeper understanding of the project’s grounding frameworks as well as helpful definitions of: breaking, bridging, belonging and more we recommend checking out the rest of OBI’s website and especially the following podcast with john a. powell: https://belonging.berkeley.edu/podcast-developing-shared-vocabulary