SURGE Project Update (Lower Sproul Redevelopment with Images of Floor Plans)

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all doing well. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Justin Sayarath and I am one of your twenty ASUC Senators. I am a third year economics major, Asian American and Asian Diaspora studies minor originally from San Diego, California. I have served our campus community as Vice President of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, Assistant Vice President of Programming for the Interfraternity Council, Managing Editor of Caliber Magazine, and a Cal Student Orientation (CalSO) Counselor. And now I am so proud to serve the Cal Community as your ASUC Senator.

I am writing to you today to update you about the SURGE Project. To jog your memory, the Lower Sproul Redevelopment is expected to start next year with the demolition of Eshleman hall and the implementation of the BEARS (Bringing Energy and Revitalization to Sproul) Initiative which was voted into fruition by the students in Spring 2010. The $223 million project will create a beautiful and well-deserved student center for students by the end of 2015. This huge project was initiated by the students for the students and  has required both students and administrators to work collaboratively to implement the revitalization. This is all great, but while such construction and demolition is occurring, the project will be entering a phase called SURGE.

While construction is occurring, stakeholders like student groups, the ASUC auxiliary, and more groups will have to “SURGE” out of Eshleman hall into temporary spaces. This transitionary phase is marked by many changes including the majority of student groups like the ones housed in Eshleman cage space on the ground floor, publications rooms on the ground floor, offices on the third and fifth floor, and the fourth floor ASUC auxiliary moving to smaller spaces in Hearst Annex and Hearst Gym. This is no easy task and Executive Vice President Chris Alabastro and Space Allocations Director Deejay Pepito have been doing an amazing job with what space they have. As OCF Director Dara Adib puts it, “They have a difficult job in that they are trying to cut a cupcake into a million little pieces” while stakeholders from different student groups are waiting for their piece. In addition, this task is also difficult because each student group and stakeholder have different needs and want their slice of the cupcake cut in a special way. The needs of student groups are extremely valid and as a firm believer  that the best part of UC Berkeley is the initiative students take in campus organizing and student activities, I definitely recognize the need for student groups to get what they need. It’s a huge issue of quality student life. The reality is that we will all (ASUC elected officials, campus officials, student group leaders, community members, etc.) have to work together and be innovative with what we do in such constrained spaces. We’ll have to find new avenues and new methods of student organizing and ensure that the quality of our student life isn’t put in jeopardy by this transitionary phase. But enough about that, these are issues that I am mulling over and always thinking about.

Surge has come a long way from the time when student stakeholders were first meeting. The system of representatives form different Eshleman spaces proved effective as stakeholders  were able to voice their opinions and work through different drafts. There may have been some lapses in communication between different members of the team, but EVP Alabastro and Space Allocations Director Pepito have been working tirelessly to satisfy all needs. I still have the original first draft SURGE drawings pinned up on my wall (Yes, I think about this too much), and they look nothing like the images below. Please take a look at them and let me know if you have any questions. I will make sure to bring them to EVP Alabastro and Deejay. Thank you again!

Here is a timeline of SURGE as well:

February 26th

SURGE Space Applications due

February 26 – March 6

Allocations process

March 7 – 11

Allocations released/student groups contacted

March 12 – 23

Student group training for Eshleman move out process
March 26 – 30
April 2nd

Begin packing process for all student groups

April 16 – 27

SURGE space tours for student groups

April 30 – May 4

RRR Week and Eshleman space walk-throughs

May 7 – 11

Finals Week and Eshleman space walk-throughs

May 14th



with love,

Justin Sayarath


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