BSC Students Organize to Save Rochdale

by The Save Rochdale Coalition

The Save Rochdale Coalition Block Party took place on April 29, 2022, and was a huge success! The Save Rochdale Coalition began organizing in January 2022 and focused on the block party as a key step in raising awareness about the potential loss of affordable student housing if Rochdale’s lease renewal remained incomplete.

The event kicked off with a march beginning at 3 p.m. outside of the University House and ending at the Block Party in front of Rochdale. Community organizations, local activists in solidarity with the BSC, and Rochdale and BSC members at large participated with speakers, fantastic music performances, art displays, and free food provided by Food Not Bombs, cooked by BSC member volunteers. BSC staff—shout out to Brenda, Katie, and Luke—sold t-shirts and provided ways to get involved with the cause. Grassroots organizers, including the People’s Park Council, also had tables at the block party!

The Block Party was the result of months of organizing meetings, cooperative teamwork, and volunteer contributions. The purpose of the march and block party was to raise awareness about how Rochdale, one of the largest and most affordable student housing apartments in all of Berkeley, is in danger of going under if the UC decided not to renew the BSC’s lease on the land unless the BSC paid for expensive seismic retrofits without financial support or control of the timeline. Affordable housing is a major concern in Berkeley and an important aspect is uplifting our community and its members. A couple hundred people attended the Block Party, we raised over $600 in donations and received media coverage by CBS news. Equally as important, members from the BSC, BSCAA, and other community members, had the opportunity to socialize, eat together, and learn and share with one another. Thank you to Nora and other members who distributed food, and to our volunteers who kept the internal operations going. Thank you to our community allies, shout out to People’s Park! And finally, thank you to everyone who attended, y’all brought the party to life! You can find more details on the BSC’s website.

Meanwhile, we gathered over 1,200 petition signatures. The ASUC, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, Vice Mayor Kate Harrison, and Councilmember Rigel Robinson sent statements in support of the BSC to UC leadership.

Recently, BSC leaders met with University officials to discuss Rochdale’s future. The University expressed support for donating the land under Rochdale to the BSC to continue its nonprofit affordable housing mission. The next phase of the campaign will need continued member and alumni involvement—keep listening and watching!

Students marching with signs that read save affordable student housing in Berkeley