UNITY Theme Program: Exploring Diverse Genders and Sexualities in Community
The UNITY Theme Program is a living-learning community that focuses on LGBTQ+ education, community-building, and leadership development. Our program empowers students to explore their identities and connect with various queer/trans communities at Cal while engaging issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. Through the academic seminar, residential experience, and resource center, UNITY promotes identity exploration, community engagement, activism, and education while providing resources and support in a queer and trans community space.
UNITY’s staff work to create resources and support for students as they explore identity, community, and advocacy through a lens of gender and sexual diversity. Our residential program includes options for gender-inclusive room assignments and centers the living experience around community building and holistic wellness, supported by a live-in theme program resident assistant. The academic curriculum focuses on learning about issues affecting queer and trans communities through discussion, reflection, and contexual education. Our program seeks to facilitate transformative dialogues and personal growth within the program while ensuring that members of our community respect each others’ lived experiences by adhering to community agreements, values, and principles.
The UNITY Theme Program also promotes student leadership and activism by encouraging students to have a meaningful impact on the greater LGBTQ+ community at Cal. Students participate in retreats and socials and have opportunities to engage in community outreach, event planning, and advocacy work through contextual education. UNITY students are able to learn more about themselves, develop a network of friends/mentors, access community resources, and gain valuable skills and knowledge to build a strong foundation for their time here at UC Berkeley.
UNITY students are expected to participate and be actively engaged in theme program activities and events, including:
- A yearlong Pass/No Pass seminar that meets once a week in Unit 3 (2 units in fall, 2 units in spring). The Resident Director determines the seminar’s schedule at the beginning of each semester.
- During Fall, the seminar is a two hour class centered on an exploration of queer & trans issues, identities, and communities. Students will learn about the broader LGBTQ+ community as well as various identities and issues within the community, as they reflect on their own experiences in dialogue with others.
- In Spring, the seminar is an hourlong discussion class centered around queer theory and leadership. Students will learn about and apply concepts of queer theory to their leadership experiences in their contextual education placements.
- Common Read/Media – In the fall seminar, students collaboratively pick an LGBTQ+ narrative to engage with as a cohort. The common read/media can be a book, play, TV show, or another form of media that explores queer/trans issues. Unity symposium, signature events and leadership retreats.
- Contextual Education is a method of teaching that roots academic concepts/scholarship in student experience. In the spring semester, students engage in 3-4 hours of community internship/volunteer work in conjunction with the academic seminar.
- Signature Events – UNITY holds signature programs throughout the year, several of which are collaborations with the Gender Equity Resource Center and Queer Alliance Resource Center.
- UNITY Retreat
- QTPie: A Campus LGBTQ+ Welcome
- Oakland Pride Parade & Festival
- Castro Scavenger Hunt
- Annual UNITY Drag Show
One of the potential placements for contextual education is working with the UNITY Resource Center, which is designed to be a community project and workspace supported by residential students, staff, and our campus/community partners. The Resource Center coordinates and hosts several signature events, creates events and programming to support queer and trans residents, a resource library, newsletters, and various projects that are led and determined by the UNITY Resource Interns each year.
Signature Events & Programming
Events include a wide variety of interaction with faculty and staff, as well as community activities. Examples of APATH activities include APATH Lantern Festival, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Cal Day, high school outreach, retreats, and much more.
UNITY residents live together in Unit 3’s Spens-Black Hall, which is situated a block from campus on the southside. For more information about Unit 3, including amenities and features, academic services, and more, please visit housing.berkeley.edu.
In an effort to expand student access to our community, we also have an Affiliate Program, where students can live in other residential communities on campus and still be a part of the UNITY Theme Program experience. The UNITY Affiliate Program allows students living outside of the theme floor to participate in the UNITY seminar, events, and community space. Anyone willing to explore their identity and grow as an individual is welcome to participate. All we ask is that you respect other participants, engage fully, and be willing to learn.
For a more in-depth look at the program, please visit us at unitythemeprogram.com.
If you have additional questions about living arrangements, please email Residential Life at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about the UNITY Theme Program (such as program requirements, application process, seminar, etc.), contact the program directly by emailing the UNITY Theme Program at email@example.com.