BC campus holds Vet Fest for second year


Alisia Sanchez

Veteran Wesley Barrientos is the president of the BC Veterans Club, and helped organize last year’s Vet Fest, continues his participation in this year’s event.

Alisia Sanchez, Photographer

The Bakersfield College Veterans Club showed support for its veteran students at this year’s second annual Vet Fest, held on campus Nov. 6.

The event took place in the open grass area between the Grace Van Dyke Bird Library and Student Services building, and consisted of vendors whose collaborative goal was to assist veteran students and their family members, as well as those who support veterans.

“We’re trying to let the Bakersfield College community know that we’re part of the general community, and that we’re in the classes,” said Veterans Services Educational Adviser Tina Mendoza. “We’re also here to be part of the BC family, so, if possible, [the event is] not solely for veterans, but it’s for people that support veterans.”

Last year, the event was put together by Veterans Club President Wesley Barrientos and Interim Associate Dean Paul Beckworth. Mendoza said that due to the fact that last year’s event was put together a month before its date, it was a little disorganized. This year, however, the event was put together four months before by Barrientos, Beckworth, Mendoza, and Counseling Office Supervisor Bernadette Martinez. A team effort contributed to this year’s organization, Mendoza said.

“The turnout’s great,” Mendoza said. “From my understanding, we’ve doubled our vendors from last year, and we’ve had less disorganization … Last year was the first time, so this was the second year, and we’ve learned from our mistakes, and it’s way better.”

Some of the vendors in attendance were the Employment Development Department, WIC, and 2-1-1. Recruiters for the Air Force, Army and Navy were also present as well as CalVet, Vet Center and the Wounded Heroes Fund. CSUB, financial aid and EOP&S also had booths present to make information available to veterans and students. The Veterans Club also had a booth at the event, and was run by Barrientos and other members.

Barrientos, who took over the Veterans Club a year and a half ago, said that the club consisted of only three members then. Now, the club consists of between 60 and 70 members. Barrientos has deployed three times to Iraq. He was wounded twice in his second deployment, receiving two Purple Hearts. He received another in his third deployment, during which he lost both his legs.

“Now I’m home … trying to go to school, and trying to do better for my community,” he said. “[The Vet Fest] is my legacy that I’ll leave behind when I leave BC.”