University Spotlight - California Polytechnic State University

© Cole Berkeland

The California Polytechnic State University DU chapter in San Luis Obispo, California, is unique because of its small size and campus demographics. Most of the students do not actively hunt, but this hasn’t stopped the chapter from growing and recruiting new volunteers. Area Chairman Cole Berkeland sees an opportunity for experience, leadership development, and résumé building for the young volunteers. “Volunteering for the DU chapter here at Cal Poly has allowed me and the committee to meet other people who are like-minded conservationists,” Cole says.

Cole’s grandfather introduced him to duck hunting at a young age. He began going to DU banquets as a kid and started volunteering in high school for the San Jose chapter. His background as a volunteer and his passion for waterfowl and wetlands conservation led him to his new role as chairman as he began his senior year. “Recruiting your replacement is vital for chapter success,” Cole says. “I knew I had the experience to take it on, so I did not hesitate at the opportunity to give back and gain some valuable leadership skills as well.”

The Cal Poly chapter, which was formed in 2017, holds a shooting event in the spring that also features a dinner and raffle. They plan on growing that event while also looking for opportunities to host a second event during the year. The committee aims to raise money for DU’s conservation mission, but they also see the chapter as a platform for introducing fellow students to the outdoors and hunting. “We are always looking for ways to make the chapter better,” Cole says. “I am excited about the opportunity to attend Third Term this year in Memphis to gain the knowledge we need to recruit new members and grow.”

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