CALEXICO – As smooth Latin jazz music flowed, San Diego State University’s Imperial Valley campus welcomed the community Friday to its fourth annual “Taste of the Valley” scholarship fundraiser. Visitors arrived at the tasting event wearing white and beige attire, ready to enjoy a fun and rhythmic evening of “Caribbean Nights,” as well as taste savory dishes from 20 local restaurants.
“The number one goal is to make sure all of the money we raise goes to student scholarships, especially from our sponsors and restaurants who helped us this evening,” said Jose Landeros, SDSU-IV director of Development and Community Affairs. “We also want to highlight the institution and make the community aware of the wonderful things we do here on campus, since most people don’t get to see the school but once a year.”
Guests were formally greeted by volunteer students from the school’s IVUP Ambassador’s Club, who benefit from scholarships funded. Additional help included the Associated Student Council (ASC) and planning committee. Luis Hernandez and Hector Teran Jr., who are part of the ASC, served as emcees for the evening, and explained to the audience the importance of contributing to the cause as each shared his accomplishments and future goals.
Tickets for the event were $40 each, and gave guests and students complete access to the food offered at the restaurant booths. Each table featured a story of a student who benefits from the scholarships, impacting the attendees on what their generosity has on a student’s financial status.
“I love to support our local university and the students who take advantage of these scholarships,” said Martha Gomez, a resident of Calexico. “The food is wonderful and the evening is very nice. It’s a great chance to socialize.” Gomez came to the event with her friend, Sandra Tauler, explaining they have attended for more than two years.
Families and friends meandered through the tables to savor the food, desserts and wine as guests were entertained with Latin jazz music that set the low key ambience of the night. Later in the evening, they participated in raffles and prices.
“I’ve been talking to people and they love the event. We want to bring the community together each year and let people know how great this campus is,” said Dr. Gregorio Ponce, Dean of SDSU-IV. “Everyone is welcome to be here and be part of our school’s community.”