A movement led by Allan Hancock College students to impact educational opportunities available in the Lompoc Valley has received a significant financial boost. The Fund for Santa Barbara, a non-profit community foundation, awarded a $4,800 grant to the college’s Students Organizing for Advocacy and Retention (SOAR) Club.
“The grant provides us with the resources we need to kick start our efforts to bringing a vibrant student life to the Lompoc Valley Center,” said Michael Huggins, Associated Student Body Government (ASBG) president and SOAR club officer. “I believe we can make major strides toward permanently changing our campus and enhancing the lives of our students.”
The goal of the grant is to help SOAR club members, who all take classes at the college’s Lompoc Valley Center, lead social change within the Lompoc community starting on campus. With a few thousand students at the center each semester, Huggins wants to change the fact there are just three active students clubs at the Lompoc Valley Center.
“I envision a campus with an active student leadership, advocacy organizations and a diverse array of clubs. We want people to connect with other students, get involved in the college and the community, and to grow as individuals,” said Huggins. “I see our efforts today as laying the groundwork for such a system. We want to create an identity at the Lompoc Valley Center that instills pride in all of us for being Bulldogs.”
As administrators of the grant, club members will organize events with community-based organizations to provide additional educational opportunities to historically underrepresented populations in education. Students plan to create accessible and visible meeting spaces and host creative events on campus.
“Students are charged to make the center from a commuter-feeling campus to a welcoming and engaging learning hub for students,” said Antonio Ramirez, academic counselor and SOAR club advisor. “Research show students who feel engaged and valued and a part of the campus community perform higher academically than their non-engaged peers.”
Students will attend a grants award party hosted by the Fund for Santa Barbara later this month.
The Fund for Santa Barbara supports grassroots organizations working for social, economic, environmental and political change in Santa Barbara County. The organization has distributed over $5 million to more than 900 grassroots projects.