Vet Fest honors military at BC

Zach Sullivan, Reporter

Bakersfield College hosted Vet Fest on Nov. 2 to celebrate the veterans on campus while also providing them an opportunity to access resources they may not have known about. The event ran from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and featured live music, free food, and raffles.

According to Lisa Kent, equity program manager, the event was financed by the office of student success and equity.

Armando Trujillo, veteran’s educational adviser at Bakersfield College, said the point of the event was to celebrate the veterans here on campus, as well as highlight the services we have in our community that are available to veteran students.

Trujillo said his goal is to help as many veterans as he can gain access to necessary resources vital to their success. “My goal is to help these vets learn about what’s out there, help them and their families become successful. Whether it be counseling, financial assistance or job opportunities. There’s a lot out there in the community that the vets don’t know about, so I hope they were able to take away some info that’s valuable to them, and helps them in their re-adjustment.”

Trujillo believes that the event was beneficial to both regular students and veteran students. “I definitely do, I know it’s an open event so we put it out to everybody, the student organizations here that, you know, no one knows who’s who. So if we can help identify, we have a veteran that comes around, he/she might know about the veteran’s services that are available, but the point is an outdoor club, man that’s what I’m interested in, and vice versa.

“I think this event is very informative to everyone on campus,” Trujillo said.

Paul Beckworth, a history professor at BC who is also the staff veteran’s director, estimated about 650 veterans were present at the event, on top of the numerous students who were also in attendance.

Kent said that making sure veterans get the help they need is a major priority, and the event was beneficial to all the veterans who attended. “Veterans are one of our target populations, so our goal is to see that they get specialized support,” Kent said.

Michaela Acton, 32, a student at Bakersfield College, said the event went well in her view and was put on for a good cause. “It’s great, I love anything to do with veterans. My husband is a veteran so anything, any way I can support veterans is great for me,” Acton said.

Acton said she felt the event was beneficial to not just veterans, but all students. “I believe it’s beneficial because people that don’t know about the veteran’s benefits available, it’s a good way to get people out and see what you all can get involved in.”

Tony Nool, an outreach and admissions representative at Fresno Pacific University, is both a veteran and former BC student. Nool said that coming back to BC and seeing the outpour of support for the veterans was great to see. “Oh, yeah, definitely it means a lot just to have everybody out here at one place at one time, all the different resources. BC was my home for a long time, and being a vet as well just to have them all out here is great, it’s awesome.

“Look out here at how many of us are here. There’s a lot of us that do need a lot of help, there’s a lot of us that need a lot of resources. So to have it all centralized, and everyone knows where Bakersfield College is at, it’s great,” Nool said.

Cody Ferguson, 21, president of the drama club at BC, felt that the festival itself was well-put together compared to previous events. “It looks well done in comparison to what I’ve seen out here. So far so great, the opening speech was really nice, really moving. To see the commitment for the veterans, and how much we want to support us and give out, it’s nice to see the community grow.

“We always have all the club events right over here in front of the cafeteria and to me it’s always cluttered. That’s where all the students are and where every smoker on campus wants to stand. But having booths over here, it’s nice, it’s secluded, and it doesn’t affect any classes around here it seems like.”

Paul Ortiz, 34, spoke exuberantly when asked about the event. “I think it’s awesome, the food seems really good. I went to college in Fresno and they never had anything like this. The food, the atmosphere is very peaceful, the band is good, all I can say is BC rocks!”