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UCSB’s Philanthropic Efforts Recognized at Awards Dinner

UCSB hosted the 2014 Campus Philanthropy Awards Dinner last Thursday night at the Mosher Alumni House to honor the charity efforts of various student philanthropic organizations.

The featured winners of the evening included on-campus organizations MUSIC Club, Dance Marathon, La Escuelita and Greeks 4 Kids. The MUSIC Club and Dance Marathon received $625 each to continue their philanthropic services while La Escuelita and Greeks 4 Kids each received $375. The dinner was attended not only by representatives of the nominated organizations, but also by four speakers who each briefly spoke about the importance of philanthropy; the speakers, including Assistant Dean of Development of the Bren School of Environmental Science Jennifer Deacon, Adsum Education Foundation Treasurer Travis Wilson, Education Director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Niki Sandoval and Vice President of Philanthropic Efforts of the Santa Barbara Foundation Jan Campbell.

A student committee sponsored by the UCSB Alumni Association, UCSB First encourages students to support philanthropic efforts on campus and in the community. During the dinner, Wilson commended the student organizations for their services and said UCSB students have a responsibility to take care of the community around them.

“I think that UCSB graduates have the ability to become truly gifted givers, and therefore, we all have the responsibility and the obligation to become leaders and work hard to create positive change in our communities,” Wilson said. “It is the ability to inspire others that define true leaders.”

Volunteer organization The MUSIC Club partners with the Goleta Boys and Girls Club to work with local schools and organizations to teach young children music. The club brings UCSB undergraduate volunteers to local elementary schools to provide the children with help on homework as well as instruction on a variety of musical instruments.

Bruno Berastain, a third-year math major and on-site coordinator between the Goleta Boys and Girls Club and The MUSIC Club, said he was surprised that his organization won an award and praised the other groups in attendance.

“There are a lot of other people here who I think really deserve just as much recognition, so it’s definitely surprising in that aspect,” Barastain said. “I definitely feel like we got lucky.”

Dance Marathon, founded in 2012 by UCSB students, is a group that focuses on raising money for the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and the Santa Barbara Cottage Children’s Hospital via a dance marathon event. The organization also works to receive donations from locals within the Santa Barbara area.

In addition, La Escuelita is a non-profit community service student organization that provides bilingual tutoring services to children in I.V. and Goleta. It also plans three annual events throughout the year that consist of Safe Halloween, Thanksgiving Dinner and Student Parent Conference. The group has been serving community members within its focus areas for close to 40 years.

Finally, Greeks 4 Kids is an inter-fraternity charity located in I.V. that raises money to provide toys, books and supplies to children in hospitals, as well as general money donations to various children’s hospitals.

Carl Provenzano, third-year biopsychology major, is the co-founder of Greeks 4 Kids as well as Interfraternity Council President and he said he believes philanthropy signifies “what it means to be a Gaucho.”

“We’re all so lucky to be here at UCSB,” Provenzano said. “We have been given so much, and it is our responsibility to give back.”

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