As an undergraduate Justin was the philanthropy chairman for the Cal Beta chapter, in which he held the South Seas Charity Beach Volleyball Tournament 2 years in a row.
Since graduating from Berkeley, Justin has continued to stay engaged with its alumni network. In 2013, he co-founded The Blue & Gold Bas, the first young alumni gala, which served as the University’s most influential annual young alumni event and engagement tool Over 600 alumni were in attendance and thousands of dollars were raised when Justin helped run the organization. While ownership was officially transferred over to the University in 2017, Justin was key in growing the operating budget up to $50,000 in 2015 based on demand. Additionally, Justin Co-Founded the Berkeley Alumni Club of New York, the region’s largest young alumni group in partnership with the University. For his dedication and work ethic, Justin was named the UC Berkeley Bradford S. King Young Alumnus of the Year for excellence in service in 2015.
Currently, Justin is on the Board of Directors for the Berkeley Real Estate Alumni Association in which he chairs the Diversity & Student Engagement Committee which is focused on connecting industry leaders with undergraduate and grad students looking for careers in real estate, as well as amplifying diverse voices across the industry. As for Cal Beta, Justin is also a member of the SAE Housing Corporation.
When asked what Cal Beta and SAE meant to him, Justin shared “The brotherhood of being a Cal Beta, making the friends I’ve made, the memories I have, is something I deeply cherish. My best friends in the world are guys I met in this house. Two of my groomsmen were my pledge brothers, and I’ve been in 3 different weddings for Cal Betas, I even officiated one. So, for me, being an SAE has come to be synonymous with friendship, a true bond for life. And as I’ve experienced, it means constantly working to be a better friend, that’s important. Generally, being an SAE to me means that you are a person of high-quality character, that you are respectful, grounded, know how to have fun, know when to work hard, and ultimately, that you’re a leader and a challenger. And, Cal Betas have to have a deep affinity for Cal! You have to bleed blue & gold, and later in life, be part of the guard that supports the university in a meaningful way so that it may continue to be a world class institution.”
To the current undergraduates Justin had a few wise words to impart “Remember that you didn’t get there on your own. In some way shape or form, people have helped you get to where you are, they’ve helped create the space for you to work hard, take risks, have fun, and be your most successful self (with plenty more to go!) So, just remember to pay it forward whenever and however you are able to. I think a culture of giving back and lending your expertise to others is incredibly important. Also, travel now, and travel with friends! For most of you, once you leave college and start working, you will not have the time, flexibility, and mental freedom to enjoy it as much as you would enjoy now.”
Sharp has countless memories from being a member of the Cal Beta chapter. Sharp only had one roommate in the house, Chris Russi. They lived in the giant double room upstairs in the back of the house, overlooking the Quad. He shared, “One of my favorite memories is going up to the Stadium on the day they cut down the infamous Oak trees. The tree sitters had been living in the stadium’s Oak grove for nearly 2 years, and as a result we couldn’t begin the expansion and retrofit for Memorial Stadium. Finally, in Fall 2008 the University moved forward with clearing the tree dwellers and cutting down the trees. This was the epitome of a Berkeley showdown, pro-trees vs. pro-football (and university). I went up there with three of my other SAE bros - Mike Tepper, Connor Gerson, and Cory Miyamoto. We made a sign that said “Free Firewood” which we thought would rile up the crowd and be funny. We ended up being the poster kids for the “Pro-University” faction that was celebrating the cutting of the trees, and we were public enemy #1 for all the Berkeley crazies that went up there to stop the tree cutting. We ended up making the 5pm news and our picture was on the front page in the SF Chronicle the next day with our giant “free firewood” sign. The best part was that I was an environmental econ/science major, and spent the next month getting dirty looks and comments in my classes. But it was all worth it to see a new Memorial Stadium!