Democracy Camp

A group of three young women smile and talk outside

How do you take a desire to serve others, to be a changemaker, to have an impact on the issues you care about, and transform that into a meaningful public service career?

Democracy Camp is designed for Cal undergrads who are interested in enhancing our democracy through public service, and who are still discerning their unique pathway. Students can apply to one of two programs: Democracy Camp in Berkeley, the Matsui Center's alternative spring break program, or Democracy Camp in DC, a weeklong experiential learning program in the nation's capital. In both programs, students meet with guest speakers from different fields, gain professional development skills, and grow their network. Upon completing the program, participants are engaged, empowered, and informed about how to make an impact in their communities and beyond.

group picture of the 2022 democracy camp fellows

Monday, March 25 – Thursday, March 28, 2024

Democracy Camp in Berkeley is the Matsui Center’s alternative spring break program. Participants learn about career opportunities, network with guest speakers, and participate in professional development workshops. Throughout the week, students participate in a series of meetings with local and state leaders and gain exposure to different facets of public service: legislative paths, community organizations, local and state government, legal fields, research, and philanthropy. On Wednesday, Fellows take a field trip to Sacramento to visit the state capital.

2023 Democracy Camp in DC Fellows group photo with Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui

Friday, May 17 – Saturday, May 25, 2024

Democracy Camp in DC is an experiential learning program that exposes students to careers in government at the federal level while fostering a supportive community of service-minded peers. Students travel to Washington, DC, where they participate in a series of meetings with political appointees, career staff, and elected officials in the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches. The program also provides professional development training, with a focus on practical tools and skills, such as resume writing and networking. Over the weekend, students explore DC and visit cultural and historical sites.