Max Schlosberg, a freshman at Berkeley High School (BHS), was appointed to the Youth Commission this March. The Youth Commission is a committee consisting of people ages 12 to 25, appointed by the city council and the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) School Board. “[I have] always wanted to do what I can for the community and for the school,” Schlosberg said, and on the commission, he wants to make sure youth perspective is heard, include middle schoolers in the commission’s deliberations, and help the board ensure that the county is in compliance with Vote16 by the next school board election in 2020.
Schlosberg learned of the vacancy on the commission because he has had an ear to the ground for policy-making opportunity, and his mom is friends with Board Director Ty Alper. Schlosberg also worked on the Measures O & P campaigns. He is in Jewish Youth for Community Action, a progressive activist organization that views activism through the lens of being Jewish. According to him, “[Being Jewish] helps me look through the eyes of a minority community so I can see what it’s like to be part of that.” Alper cited this along with Schlosberg’s participation in Youth and Government and his “demonstrated … leadership qualities” as the board’s main reasons for appointing him. Board Director Julie Sinai added that he is “an extremely active and engaged student in both the school and the community.” Schlosberg said he wants a career in government and politics “so I can do what I can to help people.” He already has his eyes on Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
Schlosberg was appointed by the board as a whole with a unanimous vote. Each of the five members of the board can appoint someone to the commission single-handedly, and the board as a collective can appoint four additional members. The city council can make nine appointments to the board. The commission may work more closely with the board or with the council, depending on which projects it decides to focus on. Alper recommended Schlosberg, but Alper said this is a formality because someone on the board has to officially recommend an applicant. Alper will be recommending two more applicants during the next board meetings, and strongly encourages Berkeley youth to apply to fill the board’s vacancies.
Schlosberg described the application as “super simple.” He said that “There’s a one-page application that you fill out, with very very short [writing piece where]you just say why you want to do it and then you list two references.” Even if the two applicants Alper will recommend are approved, the board can still appoint three more members, and four councilmembers have yet to appoint an applicant to the commission. Both Alper and Sinai stressed that they would like the Youth Commission to be more diverse. “If you get a really great diverse representation on the Youth Commission, it has the potential to be a really dynamic voice for young people on our city,” said Sinai.