SBCC Foundation virtual gala raises money and awareness


Courtesy image from the Santa Barbara City College Foundation.

Paula Rodenas, Staff Writer

The Spring Forward Gala, a virtual event hosted by the SBCC Foundation, was held on Thursday, Oct. 1.

To maintain the foundation running, “It really takes the dedication of an incredible board of volunteers,” said Geoff Green.

Green is the chief executive officer of the City College foundation and introduced the event.

The Gala took place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and celebrated the many ways City College helps and inspires its students.

Usually there is a registration fee for the Gala. However, “We believe that everyone should be able to celebrate with us,” said Green.

The 50 minute event was hosted through PayBee, an online fundraising platform that lets audience members donate while watching a live event.

Green started the event by talking about the foundation’s beginnings.

The Foundation was founded 44 years ago by a group of community members who loved City College, explained Green. And it’s only grown since then.

The event followed up by showing three videos of two City College graduate students, and two current students.

One of the videos featured Alberto Lule, a student who was in prison before attending City College. Lule talked about his experience and explained how he found his love for art while incarcerated. His passion started with small cartoon drawings, but soon leveled up.

“It’s really hard for someone with a criminal background to get a job,” said Lule. “But City College and the art department really helped.”

Another student featured on the videos was Pratima Sherpa.

Sherpa talked about her experience at City College being an immigrant from Nepal.

City College gave her the opportunity to be part of a girls golf team. In Nepal there aren’t many golf teams for women, Sherpa explained, that’s why she loves City College.

After the videos, the event featured guest speaker, Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab.

Goldrick-Rab is a sociologist, author, and professor at Temple University. Goldrick-Rab is also an advocate for college access and equity.

She started a non-profit organization, and is also an activist who tries to find solutions regarding students having difficulties accessing college.

“They will buy their textbooks before they have enough to eat,” said Goldrick-Rab, “They will put their tuition before their rent.”

The Gala ended with Green thanking everyone who donated to the foundation. 

Goldrick-Rab explained how the amount doesn’t matter, even $50 can make a huge difference. She explained that it’s important not to assume that all students have access to all their school and living expenses, no matter the college they attend.

“Thank you so much for caring about your students’ futures,” said Goldrick-Rab.