Student-Run Open Mic Night To Raise Funds, Awareness For Variety of Charitable Causes

UCSB’s Residential and Community Living and the Hub are sponsoring a night of performances tonight to raise money for multiple charities through an event called “Change for Change: An Open Mic Night for Many Causes.”

Change for Change will invite students to show off their talents through a variety of performances, with tonight’s 15 featured acts including singing, spoken word, ballroom dancing, a cappella, mash-up and original song. Each act will choose a charity organization of their choice and then audience members will be encouraged to donate spare change to their favorite acts, with these funds then being donated to the act’s selected charity.

Angela Trinh, a third-year economics and psychology double major, organized the event as a large-scale Resident Assistant (RA) program with three other RAs — fourth-year sociology majors Alexia Enriquez and Julia Anderson and fourth-year global studies and German double major Sam Topuzes. Trinh said Change for Change was inspired by her experiences in putting on open mic nights as an RA for the Santa Catalina residence halls last year.

“I wanted to do something similar to what I had done before, but I wanted to do something on a bigger scale to challenge myself,” Trinh said. “I realized we never had anything like that in our department, and we have the resources for it and the talent, and it’s better than just food. The money can go towards a good cause.”

Each performer has chosen to support a different charity, and for second-year literature major and first-time spoken word performer Bailey Loverin, the choice of charity was influenced by personal experiences as well as a desire to perform.

“Lately, there’s been a lot of stuff I felt like I had to say,” Loverin said. “I wanted to share it and put myself out there in that way, and Change for Change seemed like a great way to do that because it’s also charity-based.”

Loverin chose the UCSB Care Fund, which helps women navigate the expenses of pressing charges against sexual offenders. Accordingly, her piece is centered on the topic of sexual violence, but Loverin said she has given it a light-hearted tone.

“Five different guys asked me blatantly about my sex life in casual conversation. I had another guy offer me a job and a date at the same time,” Loverin said. “It is about life experiences as a woman, especially being hyper-sexualized … but it’s also kind of funny, I think.”

Meanwhile, fourth-year sociology major and singer Morgan Vinson will sing an original song called “A Little Bit Brighter,” which she previously performed last month at Rock Against Rape, a benefit concert sponsored by the Women’s Center.

“It’s an optimistic song,” Vinson said, noting that the lyrics are about how “the blues are a little bit greener” and “even if this guy doesn’t say hi to me, it’s okay because another guy’s going to come down the road later.”

Vinson’s donations will go to Keep A Child Alive, a charity supported by Alicia Keys that offers counseling and establishes treatment centers for people afflicted with AIDS. Vinson said she chose to support Keep A Child Alive because of the documentary Alicia in Africa, in which Keys takes five of her fans to Africa and shows them how AIDS tears families apart.

“I was really moved because there are so many kids who are raped, and that’s how they get AIDS,” Vinson said. “A lot of kids are orphans because their parents die of AIDS, so the charity provides support groups for these orphans, and they also bring food and supplies to people that have AIDS because they can’t really leave their house.”

Other charity groups to be supported tonight include the Alzheimer’s Association, American Red Cross, UCSB’s Queer Student Union, National Eating Disorders Association, Resource Center for Sexual Gender Diversity, Incredible Children’s Art Network, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Philippine Typhoon Haiyan Relief, Make-A-Wish America, United Way of Santa Barbara, Because of Hope and Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.


A version of this story appeared on page 3 of Thursday, February 13, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.