For the past 10 years, United States Servas sponsors an information table at the annual University of California Berkeley International House Cultural Faire which takes place for visitors, new students and parents, alumnae and visitors on the University of California’s (Berkeley Campus) CAL DAY . There are two floors of the International House dedicated to cultural dances and music, food and informational tables.This year the Polish Consulate was the sponsor of the event. In the past the Peace Corps, Rotary International and other consulates were some of the sponsors.
This year the Servas informational table was located between to the Swiss Consulate table and the UN UNA table. The San Francisco Bay area Servas members and friends were invited to staff the Servas booth. The US Servas BOX ( on loan from the Servas Office) provided the basic Servas informational materials, the colorful Servas brochures , Servas business cards, sample host lists, sample Servas forms and an international list of the number of hosts in each country . The BOX which was designed for such occasions was supplemented by a locally designed Servas Banner “Travel the World as a Guest of Servas” , 2 maps – one of the world, the other of the US States , 2 sample LOIs of 2 of my college Servas guests – one Domestic, this year a Servas Campus Connection Florida student named Togzan from Kazakhstan and the other a dental student with an International LOI from Servas Ukraine. There is a sign-up list for those who want to attend a local Servas Events. Eight (8) signed up for invitations which are sent electronically by event organizer and interviewer Susan Ovington.
The 60th Servas Anniversary mini table Poster created by Servas host, Wernher Krutein, with a globe of faces young and old, different races and some in ethnic dress entitled “Servas, Travel the World, Experience the Culture” “Peace Through Cross Cultural Homestays” which lists over 100 Servas Countries was a definite magnet for Faire goers. The first thing that the viewers want to know is my country on this list or are the countries where I want to visit on the list.
Because there are so many informational tables, the wandering Servas volunteers visit other tables to learn about the sponsors and introduce Servas to them with Servas business cards. For those interested in traveling, the volunteer refers to the “Servas International Host List Statistics 2013” (provided by the office which they carry with them) which tells how many hosts there were in each country that the potential traveler is interested in visiting. This list of statistics is a powerful tool for those staffing the information table as well as the wandering Servas volunteers experiencing the faire and ethnic foods and drinks.
At the April 7, 2013 Servas Potluck at the home of Enid Pollack in Oakland, there were about 30 present ( of which 9 were new to Servas) Volunteers were recruited to staff the Servas Table at the April 20,2013 UCB Cultural Faire,. Each volunteer signed up for 2-hour shifts. I want to thank volunteers Barry Burgess, Enid Pollock, Tom Coroneos, Patricia Schaffarczyk, and Peter Baluk.
Peter and his son met Togzan and me at the San Francisco Ocean Beach. Peter wondered how I could meet someone from Kazakhstan. He was interested in learning more about Servas and its international host system. He said he would be interested in attending a Servas Potluck. He was invited and did come to the next Potluck across the San Francisco Bay in Oakland.There he met many Servas members and learned more about Servas before volunteering to staff the UCB Servas Booth while not yet a Servas member himself. He loved his I House experience with so many Polish foods and programs being himself a Polish refugee whose family fled to/settled in England where he was raised. He certainly was an excellent promoter of Servas.
Servas working events are a wonderful way to build friendship among Servas and non-Servas volunteers.
Mary Jane Mikuriya, Northern California Regional Servas Coordinator