Staff, faculty and partners of UC Berkeley’s College of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) celebrated the college’s inaugural school year at a picnic last week. 

Standing on the Campanile Esplanade in the center of campus, CDSS Dean Jennifer Chayes thanked the more than 130 attendees for their help in making CDSS the first new college at Berkeley in more than 50 years. Guests wearing blue hats embroidered with the college’s name cheered as Chayes shouted out each of their departments and organizations and acknowledged their role in CDSS’s creation.

“This never would have happened without all of you,” said Chayes. “You have been working tirelessly the entire time you’ve been in CDSS and really before the college came into being.” 

The UC Board of Regents voted to establish CDSS as a college in May, culminating a years-long journey sparked and energized by faculty, staff and students across campus. Now, the college is developing administrative and financial structures to operate similarly to other colleges on campus, including beginning work to transition certain undergraduate majors to CDSS.

The college’s mission is to educate the next generation of leaders to approach data ethically and masterfully; to complete cutting-edge research that advances the fields of statistics, computing and data science; to found new, interdisciplinary fields; and to use these efforts to help solve society’s greatest challenges like climate change.

This picnic provided an informal setting for individuals who’ve worked together towards this landmark goal for years to celebrate with one another.

Sitting around tables filled with CDSS logo reusable water bottles and plates of barbeque, staff and faculty caught up with colleagues about their summers and met some of their children. Some individuals met for the first time in person, having communicated for years by Zoom.

During her speech, Chayes said there will be many more events for people affiliated or invested in CDSS to come together as a community. And, with an ambitious mission for the college, there will be many opportunities to collaborate and contribute as well.

“Thanks so much for being part of this community,” Chayes said, before the conversations continued. “Have a great time."