This Saturday, former Gauchos in the food, catering and wine businesses will be gathering on campus to present their gourmet foods and unique drinks for the third annual Taste of UCSB.
With events ranging from live music to a silent auction, Taste of UCSB is predicted to be a highlight for the more than 6,000 alumni who are expected on campus this weekend, according to Associate Director of the UCSB Alumni Association John Lofthus. As part of the seventh annual All Gaucho Reunion , Taste of UCSB is designed to remind alumni of the food and culture around Santa Barbara and encourage a continuing relationship with the campus, Lofthus said.
Lofthus said this event is crucial to keeping alumni involved in and supportive of the UCSB campus because it gives them a space to reengage with old friends, faculty members and even current students.
“An event like the reunion, where we are bringing back thousands of alumni, getting them on campus and hopefully reengaging them with this wonderful university and allowing them to see the pieces that they remember and that they loved are still here is really the first step in engaging our alumni and creating this life-long relationship with them,” Lofthus said.
According to Loftus, alumni support, although sometimes unnoticed by the average student, is an extremely important part for the maintenance and progression of the UCSB campus.
“As the university moves towards the future, alumni support is going to be more and more critical and when we look at alumni support we look at philanthropy, advocacy and then service back to the university,” Lofthus said. “It’s impossible if they don’t have some sort of relationship with the university.”
In the past there have been attempts at hosting other events to get alumni re-involved in the campus community, but none as successful as the All Gaucho Reunion Weekend, Loftus said.
“We briefly tried a winter homecoming in the 90s around basketball and that lasted for a few years,” Loftus said. “But the alumni and the university both felt that we really need a weekend to not only honor and acknowledge the alumni but to also provide an opportunity for them to come back.”
In addition to reminding the alumni of their favorite aspects of campus, Taste of UCSB will also offer visitors an opportunity to give back to their campus by donating to the A.S. Food Bank, according to Tuyen Nguyen, Supervisor of the A.S. Food Bank. Nguyen said the Food Bank will not only be collecting donations, but hosting a luncheon to celebrate and raise money this weekend.
“The A.S. Food Bank will be at various events throughout the weekend, including the Taste of UCSB to close out Saturday,” Nguyen said. “We will be collecting donations that are nonperishable as well as monetary donations and to close out the weekend the A.S. Food Bank is putting on the ‘Back to the Future’ luncheon.”
Registration for the event costs $30 for current students over the age of 21 and members of the Alumni Association and $35 for nonmembers.