Bruce Berkowitz has witnessed plenty of changes at Sonoma State University in his 30 plus years of working here, but despite his wealth of experience, he continues to grow and learn from those around him.
Program Coordinator for Associated Student Productions (ASP), Berkowitz moved to California in the 1970s from New York, where he was studying film. He worked in San Francisco until he decided to go back to school and started attending what was then Sonoma State College as a media studies major.
Realizing that there was little happening on campus apart from classes, Berkowitz decided to take action. "I ended up getting involved with the student union," he said. "It was a board because there was no student government back then, and I ran for office and I got in."
The main platform for his campaign was to bring a pub to campus. "The process of getting that to happen was an amazing education," he said. "In doing that I learned this whole thing about student involvement and student activities and that really influenced my direction so I got involved in doing programs and events as a student because there really was no organized process here."
After graduating in 1980, Berkowitz realized that there was no one to continue this work. When a staff position became available, Berkowitz applied and got the job.
"I started working in 1980, and I was a student in 1977, so most of my life has been affiliated with this organization," he said.
Throughout the years, Berkowitz has helped present or produce over 3,000 events. That is his estimate at least; he admits to losing count after 3,000.
His job consists of working with student staff to put on about 80 events each year that range from films, theater, and lectures to bowling nights, dance performances, and Build-A-Bear.
"About half our stuff is educational in some way," Berkowitz said. "You may be entertained while you're educated, but it has some components to learning." He is proud of the co-curricular events ASP has been involved with, and is also proud of the student leaders he has worked with over the years.
"I get to work with some pretty special student leaders, and employees who really are serious about what they do and I learn a lot, just watching them grow," he said.
Berkowitz is a proud father of a teenage daughter. Working with young people has provided some "interesting parallels" in terms of interacting with her. He has learned a lot.
"Its really helped me be a better advisor to know that people are going to change, they're going to shift, they're going to learn, they're going to come out of their shell, they're going to have good days, they're going to have bad days," Berkowitz said. "To me that adds a richness, so that's still the best part."
Berkowitz believes that "the world is run by those who show up," regardless of whether or not someone is a genius or an exceptional talent. It is the people who are committed and show up that make a difference both at SSU and in the world.