Order of the Golden Bear
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The Order of the Golden Bear is a fellowship of UC Berkeley students, faculty, and alumni who are committed to serving and bettering the University of California. Founded in 1900, The Order of the Golden Bear is a group that loves the University and its traditions and is dedicated to ensuring its continued prosperity far into the future. The Order serves as a forum for discussion where fellows gather every other week during the academic year to exchange ideas on a variety of topics pertinent to the well being of the campus community. The realization of this purpose of free exchange of ideas requires educated, controversial, and provocative discussions.
Fellows are free to discuss ideas amongst themselves, but never attribute opinions or remarks to their authors. To do so would jeopardize the safe haven that allows the Order to be a free exchange of ideas. The Order casts no votes to determine specific courses of action. Fellows gain a better understanding of the issues discussed and are entrusted to go and act as they see most effective in bettering the University. It is the duty of each to serve the University in their own capacity and in the ways that they deem most appropriate.
Despite its mystique, The Order is not a traditional secret society per se, although membership is usually kept in strict confidence and it maintains university traditions unique to The Order that reflect qualities found in many collegiate secret societies.
Membership in the Order includes influential members of the University administration, state government, and the Board of Regents. Some of the more active Berkeley alumni have been attending meetings with the Order for many years and pass on the history of the University and the Order through their personal attendance.
When it was founded, student membership was limited to undergraduate senior men at Berkeley. However, in 1972 this restriction was lifted and all students, not just men, with at least sophomore standing, including graduate and professional school students, have been eligible for fellowship.