I am deeply thankful for the Y. The Y has been called the soul of Caltech, and has become known as the social consciousness of the campus.… Our students are amazing people, gifted with mighty intelligence and the drive to excel. We owe them a student life that looks at the whole person; we owe them a campus that respects and emphasizes human growth in all its bewildering and intriguing permutations. And we owe them an organization like the Y that is concerned with this most essential of all activities.
David Baltimore, Caltech President, 1997–2006, Nobel Laureate, 1975. 1998 Friends Dinner speech excerpt.
Raised So Far
Centennial Campaign Goal
Current Progress Toward Goal 83%

As the Caltech Y celebrates its 100th anniversary, we renew our commitment to Caltech students and the community. We know that a robust financial base is essential for future generations to gain the Caltech Y advantage. The Caltech Y Centennial Campaign will add $5 million dollars to the Caltech Y endowment to continue the formative experiences, trips, and programs that round out the first-rate education at Caltech. We invite you to join us on this next step of our amazing journey.

The Case For Giving

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Making a World of Difference for 100 Years

The Caltech Y was founded by students in 1916 to provide service and leadership opportunities that prepare students to become engaged, responsible citizens of the world. The Y seeks to broaden students’ worldviews and to raise social, ethical, and cultural awareness through teamwork, community engagement, activism, and leadership.

Our Mission

To enrich student life and challenge students to grow into responsible citizens of the world.

The Caltech Y’s mission and core values stand on Five Pillars: Leadership, Civic Engagement, Service, Adventure, and Perspective. Each Pillar opens a door to a new idea, person, thought, or activity that promotes change and growth.

The Caltech Y exists to help students discover their passion and purpose in everything they do. It lends its support and guidance to our students at an important stage in their lives. I salute the supporters and partners of the Caltech Y for your ongoing commitment and investment in the lives of our students. I thank all Caltech Y supporters for inspiring and encouraging students in their personal and academic journeys.
Jean-Lou Chameau,
, California Institute of Technology

One Student’s Story: Laura Decker

Hi, I’m Laura Decker, recipient of the 2011 Studenski Award. I’m sorry I can’t be with you this evening, but I’m — where else — at a fencing tournament. I would like to thank the Caltech Y Board for granting me this prestigious award.

When I first came to Caltech, I knew what my future had in store for me: chemistry was my life. When my roommate convinced me to take beginning fencing class, I had no idea what a tremendous influence it would have on me. This award is allowing me to pursue avenues that I never knew existed. I will be attending fencing camps, summer nationals, and my first World Cup in Reno, New York, New Jersey, Boston and LA.

I would like to thank the Board for this tremendous opportunity to fulfill a dream I didn’t even know that I had.

The Five Pillars

The Caltech Y’s mission and core values stand on Five Pillars: Leadership, Civic Engagement, Service, Adventure, and Perspective. These Pillars have made the Y strong for the past 100 years and will continue to be the foundation for its future.

  • Perspective


    Caltech Y programs broaden student views, and give them pause to believe that their lives can be multidimensional.

  • Adventure


    Outdoor trips to many exciting venues each year serve student adventurers from novice to seasoned.

  • Service


    A range of on-campus and off-campus community service projects fits each student’s schedule and interest.

  • Civic Engagement

    Civic Engagement

    The Caltech Y’s long history of advocating for student civic engagement complements the students’ first-class education with first-class citizenship.

  • Leadership


    Students play a key role in initiating and organizing every Caltech Y program and activity.

The Y taught me to be a leader and to fight, with words and actions, for a society that is more tolerant and compassionate. I am an empowered and more involved educator because of the lessons I learned at the Y. The Caltech Y was the catalyst that changed the course of my life. It gave me a social consciousness that cannot be learned in any classroom. It equipped me to take my intellectual gifts and apply them to being the change that I wish to see in the world.
Abel Bourbois, Class of 2003

Caltech Y Programs

The Caltech Y’s core values—Leadership, Civic Engagement, Service, Adventure, and Perspective—are made tangible through the educational, social, outdoor, and service programs that enrich student life and challenge students to grow into responsible citizens of the world. By initiating, implementing, and leading the various activities, students are fully engaged in all aspects of the Caltech Y programs.

Impact of the Caltech Y

Impact on the Institute

By complementing Caltech’s first-class education with first-class citizenship, all Caltech Y programs support the Caltech mission “to investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology...while educating outstanding students to become creative members [...]

Impact on the Community

The Caltech Y teaches future leaders the importance of service and challenges students to “give back” by sharing their knowledge or extending their helping hands to benefit the community. Through the Y, Caltech students [...]

Impact on Students

The Caltech Y nurtures self-confidence, social adaptability, self expression, the capacity to live and work with others, and an appreciation for responsibility. As a student-led, student-initiated organization, Caltech Y gives students the opportunity to [...]