The Berkeley Forum: Dollars for Discourse
Who We Are
The Berkeley Forum is a non-partisan, student-run organization at the University of California, Berkeley. Established in 2012, the Forum hosts debates, panels, and talks by leading experts from a wide variety of fields. The Forum is an integral piece of the Berkeley campus we call home. It is an unmatched opportunity for students, faculty, and community members to come together (always for free!) and engage with the most pressing ideas of our time. Our platform not only allows experts to share their knowledge with an interested, intelligent audience, but also allows the audience to interact with and challenge the ideas being posed to them. The Forum’s history is filled with many such events from a variety of distinguished speakers. Over the past few semesters, we have hosted Chief Justice of California Tani-Cantil Sakauye, Mythbusters Co-Host Jamie Hyneman, US Senator Rand Paul, Radiolab Co-Host Robert Krulwwich, ACLU President Susan Herman, Head of the Pixar Research Group Tony DeRose, and Pulitzer Prize winner David Fahrenthold.
How Your Support Helps
Unfortunately, we receive limited funds from the university which only covers a fraction of the costs of our events. Many times, Forum members pay out of their own pockets for events. Thus, we are hoping to receive support from the broader campus community to continue to put on events for the broader campus community. Our current semester includes a record 16 debates, panels, and talks. As our organization seeks to consistently reach new audiences and promote more viewpoints, our limitations as a completely student-run nonprofit have created barriers that inhibit these goals. With your support, we hope to overcome this through the following 3 initiatives:
(1) $1500 to increase the number of debates and panels. As opposed to our talks, which only feature one speaker, our debates and panels often feature 2-4 speakers which can multiply costs of an event significantly. For instance, flying one speaker out from the East Coast can cost $500, but flying two speakers costs $1000. As a result, we limit the number of debates and panels we can put on. $1500 of this crowdfunding campaign will thus be used for organizing more debates and panels and thus diversify our platform even more.
(2) $1500 to attract more high-profile speakers. High-profile speakers often cost the Forum more money because of higher venue costs (bigger venues cost more money), higher transport and accommodation costs (many high-profile speakers are not based in the Bay Area), and higher security fees due to recent events. We hope to allocate $1000 towards accommodating such speakers and exposing the Berkeley community to more well-known speakers. Hosting just one high-profile speaker includes costs such as transport ($400 flight), accommodation ($100 hotel/night), security ($300), marketing ($100), and venue ($600), totaling $1500.
(3) $1000 to host more events at off-campus venues. This year, we will not be able to use many of the venues we used to get for free (especially in the Haas School of Business) because of changes in administrative rules. As a result, we will end up having to spend more money on venue rentals. To compensate for this, we would like to allocate $1000 towards increased venue costs as well as towards hosting more events in venues that are off-campus to make them more accessible.
The Berkeley Forum is excited to expose our community to incredible ideas and diversity of thought, which is why your support is CRUCIAL.
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