Saturday, June 2, 2018

An Open Letter to SBCC

Dear SBCC,

Thank you. In two years you did wonders for me. You gave me a great education in which I learned how to write, calculate, and think critically at a higher level. You gave me great professors who taught me how to care. You gave me great mentors who encouraged me and provided for me a higher level of learning. You gave me awesome counselors who ensured I would get into my dream school and graduate on time. You gave me a community where I could choose my path, be it one of active participation or just academics. You gave me friends that I´m sure I´ll have for the rest of my life. You gave me oppurtunities to lead in clubs, organizations, and campus committees. But most importantly, you taught me the importance of asking questions like ´´why´´ and ´´how´´. Why are things as they are? Why do I feel a certain way about this thing? Why should I remain dynamic in my views? How do I change that? How do I get from point A to B? How do I play into the bigger picture? Two years wasn´t long, but it sure was enough. So again, thank you. To those considering the school, absolutley do it. Embrace the institution and all its component parts. Embrace the ideas and people because I guarantee, you will come out of it with a new perspective and there is nothing more important in this world than that.

Signing off from an Internet Cafe in Barcelona,
Matt Esguerra

P.S. Check out some of my favorite moments in pictures from the past two years at CC

The Bridge Sit in Spring 2017

VP External Debate Spring 2017

Cristian and I w/ Monique Limon

The first Senate Board I sat on

The Sacramento Internship Program <3

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Music Festivals and College

Democracy in America Talk

Music festivals are something I would say are somewhat a part of the college experience. Especially down in the central coast where we are decently located to a lot of major cities that put on festivals (Santa Barbara/Lucidity; Palm Desert/Coachella; Los Angeles/Camp Flognaw/Day'n'Nite; Bradley/Lightning in a Bottle). Back in January I decided that the summer between SBCC and wherever I was to transfer to was going to be a trans-formative one.
Climate Change Talk
 I impulsively bought a round trip ticket to my favorite city (Barcelona), and bought a music festival ticket for Lightning in a Bottle. I've always asked avid festival-goers what their favorite festival is and every single time it seems to be Lightning in a Bottle. Lightning in a Bottle is a four day festival situated on Lake Bradley. It is put on by the Do Lab, one of the co-curators of the Coachella festival. It is a lot smaller than festivals like Coachella, but still is fairly sized at around 30,000 attendees. 
Dancing with my friends Theo and Jackie
There are a couple of things that set it apart. The first would be that the camping pass is a part of the ticket price ($305) so you're not really paying extra for finding a place to stay. The second would be there is a lot more to do than just see artists. There are a number of different classes and talks, some of which were great (regenerative agriculture, climate change explained), and others less than educational/rational (extraterrestrials on Earth). The third would be how diverse the festival is. People of all different ages were in attendance. There were people in their 60s and people that were 7. A lot of that is probably due to the fact that the environment of LIB is very positive. People never really got mad, conflict was rare, and I never heard of anything getting stolen. That is what made the festival so awesome for me. Being able to trust strangers and just listen to some great music is an awesome experience. Another great part of it was I able to see my favorite artist, Anderson .Paak from Oxnard, CA (805 represent!) along with some of my best friends from high school, friends from college, and people I would've never otherwise been able to meet. If you plan on attending a festival, be sure to do some research on what to expect, ask acquaintances and friends alike what their takes are on it, grab some friends, and embrace the best you.





Monday, May 21, 2018

My Next Chapter: UCLA

This will be the first of a series of blogs I will be writing in my days before and following my commencement at SBCC. I hope to express some sentiments that readers (especially prospective students) take to heart.

A little
The Acceptance Letter
over one week ago I was able to visit UCLA and explore a bit more what might be in store for me for the next couple years. The day started with a presentation in Pauley Pavilion (the basketball arena) with an address from the Chancellor and other administrators that specifically oversee transfer students. After the address there were various workshops across campus for various transfer-related fields of interest; I attended the "First-Year Experience" where I learned about the transition from semester to quarter system which is apparently hell. I also learned how to sign up for classes, orientation, and what to expect to make sure administratively I'm all set. These were all very helpful, but what I found to be the most helpful was the academics/activities fair. Regardless of what school you're looking at this is the most important aspect of any admit/open house day. There is where they present representatives from the various majors/minors, departments on campus (financial aid), clubs, volunteering opportunities, and other services that will be accessible if you happen to assume the position of a student some day. I was able to speak to representatives from my major, political science, and figure out what emphasis I would like to study while at UCLA. I've decided on methods and models, a statistical approach to politics that seeks to give valuable skills for the political workforce. Classes include statistical analysis of political data, legislative strategy, and negotiation tactics. All of which I'm very excited to engross myself in. I also will be minoring in public affairs (public policy) and hopefully going to DC in my senior year with other UC students alike in the UCDC program. I also was able to talk to the financial aid department and figure out how student loans work, the process of scholarship reimbursement, and the short term loans offered on campus. When tackling a large investment like undergraduate college whether it be at SBCC or beyond, it is vital to remain conscious of what you are getting yourself into. More often than not I encounter fellow students confused about things that could alter their academic career for the near future. The more educated you are about your education, the better chance you have to succeed in the long term.

All in all Bruin day was very helpful for me and I'm once again excited for what the future holds for me in Westwood.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The SBCC Associated Student Government: My Story

Enjoy these Historical SBCC Pictures!

In February of 2017 I became a member of the ASG, aka the Associated Student Government at SBCC. I was a wide-eyed freshman who was appointed as Commissioner of Marketing due to my previous experience in high school and with an internship I had back in Sacramento. I was a part of the new ASG. Previously (Before 2017-2018 year) the government was comprised of 6 positions: President, VP of Internal Affairs, VP of External Affairs, VP of Operations and Finance, Student Trustee, and Student Advocate. Beyond that there were around 6-10 members at large or "senators". When I came on, the ASG became more specialized. They added on the positions of Commissioner of Marketing, Philanthropy, Fundraising, Academics, Events, and Clubs. This was to ensure that there were no more auxiliary positions, everyone had a job. The change was excellent and the Senate ran as a well oiled machine. With Dylan Raiman as the sharpest president/leader, no one slacked. We ensured everyone was held accountable and the overall culture was not unlike one of a family. Fast forward to April of 2017 I ran for VP of External Affairs, won The Channels endorsement, and the rest is history. Going into the 2017-2018 year we were ready. With an executive board of veterans in our own respective rights, the new year was looking strong.
One of the early iterations of the ASG
But there was a problem, there were reports of the new president breaking election rules the previous year and there was evidence to back up that claim. As we were in summer and hadn't appointed any new members, it was an internal affair. All of us except for the president served on the election commission and tried our own president. The craziest part was the board was split, and I, as the swing vote put her over the edge for impeachment. The hardest decision I ever made, but at the same time an easy one. The evidence was clear and I was fully aware. It was hard for the next couple of weeks. Starting off a new year with the impeachment of the President was something very difficult to comeback from. We also caught a lot of flak from the administration and other forces, but what we did was right and there is no one doubting it now. Eventually we moved on, appointed new members and the rest is history. We were able to accomplish a lot this year and I'm very proud. I was able to implement feminine hygiene product dispensers in three bathrooms on campus, get the Student Senate for CA Community Colleges to endorse two resolutions, hosted a town hall with our Assemblywoman and State Senator, and become more of a legislative liaison between the students and the State Legislature. I'm proud of this year and all we accomplished. That is why I resigned on Wednesday.
Main Campus Cafeteria
I had the epiphany Tuesday night that I would draft a resolution that would require the Registrar's Office to release grade distributions for all classes on campus so students would be able to see just what they might be getting themselves into. It is common practice and can be seen at schools such as Santa Monica and UCLA. I wrote an email to the ASG and our reporter explaining it and in essence asking for it to be on the agenda for our Friday meeting. But in the email I talked so positively of it, and because of that, in essence, did something wrong. The Channels Reporter whom I had CC'd in the email realized I had broken Brown Act. So I decided to resign. I believe in the ASG as the longest standing student institution on campus and believe in its long term integrity. I went out on my own terms and for the greater good. In Plato's Crito he speaks of a higher lawlessness, which is abiding by the rules so as to ensure the legitimacy of the social contract the people have agreed to. By being a member of the ASG and the SBCC student body I agreed to these terms, to follow our constitution, by-laws, and the Brown Act. I respect the Channels Reporter who went after me as she was keeping me accountable to the duties and rules I was to subscribe to. I accidentally broke them and I must own up to it. So as of now I'm done with my term on the ASG but I'm proud of all we accomplished. I'm beyond honored to have served the students at SBCC. It was the best thing that happened to me at this school by far. It also further cemented that I feel the call to civic service. I hope for the best for this awesome institution and I'm excited to see what get's done in the long term future.
Freshman used to have to wear these hats!

I leave you with this quote,
"The highest reach of injustice is to be deemed just when you are not"-Plato

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

My Favorite SBCC Classes

Joe White=SBCC Legend
As I come down from one of the most exciting days of my life, I've been in this weirdly introspective mood. I've been thinking a lot about my time SBCC in a much more critical way and really reflected on what classes I felt pushed me to grow. So with that I would like to list a few of these classes that I hope everyone might be able to take.

1. Philosophy 100 with Joe White
I took Phil 100 my first semester at SBCC and frankly it was probably the best academic decision I've made in college. Philosophy 100 overviews every facet of philosophy and it proved very useful for the long term as philosophy is intertwined with so many other subjects. The class also pushed me to think about ideas from all angles, giving me an open mind, and the tools I needed for a successful academic career.

2. Comm 131 with Rebekah Guiterrez
Comm 131 or public speaking was an absolute thrill to take. I went from someone who thought I knew public speaking, to realizing I kinda know about public speaking at the most basic levels. In the class you learn how to format different kinds of speeches, how to be interesting, and how to end a speech on a memorable note. This class surely is helpful to any and all people who are interested in developing their communications skills to the next level.

3. Pols 131/132 with Manoutcher Eskandari-Qajar
Cristian, Manou, and I in Sacramento
Professor Eskandari is a legend on the SBCC campus. From being named Professor of the Year, being a member of the Qajar dynasty, and having the sharpest wit around, he truly is one of the cornerstones of the SBCC campus. His comparative and political theory classes push you to think at that next level that is expected in upper-division college/graduate school. His goal for you is to come out at the end with a more thoughtful and analytical approach to politics and your opinions about them. Frankly, I think that's something everyone needs in the world. His class is not easy, but it's well worth the time.

4. Astronomy 101 with Sean Kelly
Astronomy 101 really changed my life in the sense that every lecture I was in awe. I was in awe with how large the universe was, how small I am comparatively, and how happy the students were during every single class. A lot of that has to do with Sean Kelly, who is one of the happiest/best teachers you could ever have. Imagine a world with Mr. Rogers, but he's your teacher, and he wants everyone to succeed and learn a little bit more about the universe. Best GE I ever took.

Sean Kelly!
5. Logic 205 with Marc Bobro
Imagine a class that is centered around basically riddles, brain teasers, and ensuring the currency of your arguments are perfect. That is this class. While it can be tough it has proven most useful in the art of rhetoric. I've been able to understand the validity of others' and my arguments in a way I would have never been able to before. If you're up for a challenge and have to do a couple of elective, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

I Got into My Dream School



My father always likes to use a certain form of imagery to motivate me when assessing goals. "You are here (pretend like a Filipino man is pointing at one end of the table). However, you want to be here (pretend like a Filipino man is pointing at the other end of the table). Every single decision in life will either bring you closer to this end goal or move you away." He said it constantly growing up and while it got annoying, it became rather helpful once I started school at SBCC.

In September of 2016 I remember receiving back my first ever college test in MATH 107, an algebra remediation class. I remember looking at the score and seeing I got an 89%. I was excited. I did well on my first test and I was proud. And then I took a step back and dismay took over. The grade I got was great and I would have been ecstatic in high school, but I needed to do better to reach my goal. Now is game time and there's no more second chances, community college is the second chance. That day all that time ago was when I decided I was for sure going to go to UCLA and do everything in my powers to minimize my ability to not reaching that goal. I worked for almost two years harder than I ever had before. I spent a week working on essays, not the night before it was due. I turned in homework that I actually double checked and made sure the answers were right before turning it in. I partook in study groups, set a daily study time in the library, and actually went to talk to my teachers to better understand classes better. School had become a full-time job, the way I should've treated it back in high school. 

Yesterday evening at around 5:15 I opened up the UCLA admissions portal to find that I had been accepted into my dream school. I was surrounded by some of my closest friends in Santa Barbara and the feeling could have not been better. I earned it. Two years in the making and now, I'm here. I'm ready for the next chapter and I'm ready to finish SBCC on the highest of notes.

Vamos Vaqueros and Go Bruins!
-Matt 


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Deltopia


Courtesy of SanLuisObispo.com
Deltopia is a staple of Isla Vista culture. Every year you can turn on the news the first Saturday after UCSB’s Spring Break and watch constant news coverage of the event. You get the idea of what goes on, but what/how/why does it exist?

Deltopia is an offshoot of what originally was “Floatopia”, a day event created by the UCSB students in 2003. The word float comes from the idea that students would bring their “floaties” and relax/party at the beach during the day. And what a great idea it was. Isla Vista, although normally more busy during the night time is much more beautiful during the day. The ocean views, lively atmosphere, and consistently temperate weather makes it perfect for day time enjoyment. As years went by the UC Police Department started to hammer down on the activities that come with Floatopia including underage drinking, littering, and other party-related effects so as to not harm the environment and keep the students of SBCC and UCSB safe. Eventually, the governing entities of Goleta blocked access to the beach ending Floatopia as we knew it. Until 2010, when in protest the students started throwing parties on Del Playa Drive. Floatopia had essentially become Deltopia and life has been the same ever since.

Deltopia today is a very structured event. There are unstated rules that students know they must comply with, otherwise be at risk of citation or fine from any of the sheriff's, UC Police Officers, or Isla Vista Foot Patrol. Some of the rules include not sitting on a curb, walking around with an open container, and not playing music at a high volume past 6:00 PM as there is a noise ordinance to shut down party-goers earlier in the day. The question is now, what does the future of Deltopia look like as it is a dynamic event with the ever present interests of the students and authorities at play?

Courtesy of the Daily Nexus
The idea is that it is here to stay, the SB Independent reported that there were 56 citations, 25 people arrested, and 25 people sent to the hospital for alcohol/drug overdose from Deltopia 2018. On paper it sounds bad, but looking to just a couple years ago the numbers have gone done from 130 citations, 190 arrests, and 50 alcohol/drug overdoses respectively. The overall trend is positive. A lot of this can be attributed to the dwindling number of out of towners coming who don't know the protocol in IV. The new campaign that SBCC, UCSB, and authorities have started in the past couple years is to “Keep it Local,” and I think it is one that all interests can agree with. If you’re not from Isla Vista then you probably don't know the “unspoken rules” that might not apply in your own college town. For one most parties in IV are private, meaning you have to know someone there to get in. Because of this you are probably more inclined to sneak into parties with people who might not want you there, causing issues with the homeowners. This isn’t to discourage out of towners from coming, but if you do stay with a friend who can at least show you the ropes, find you a party, and ensure your’s and the residents’ of IV safety.

My Deltopia looked a lot like most IV residents. I went to the house of someone I know and spent the whole day there. I will say it was a very fun experience with my IV people and I'm sure to miss Oceanside parties next year, but I also did have an interaction with police that left a less than favorable impression with me. Around 5 officers walked into our party citing noise levels at 5:40ish and kicked everyone out. What really tipped me over wasn't that they didn't have probable cause for entry as that is somewhat typical for a day like Deltopia, but a police officer took out his baton in an aggressive manner and said “Back the hell up,” as me and my friend were walking out at a brisk pace. My presumption was he thought we were attempting to get in some form of altercation with him, despite both of us being about 10 feet away. I understand it was probably a stressful day for him, but it did feel superfluous. As with all things, that was the script and that's a reality on Deltopia. Nevertheless the day was fun and safe and that's attributed to our own governance at our own party and the police who kept the streets and impaired students safe.