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031218 Hancock love your club

Students from Hancock College's DREAM, Drama and Alpha Gamma Sigma clubs pose for a photo following the kickoff of the college's second Love Your Club crowdfunding campaign.

Mathew Burciaga, Staff

Five Hancock College clubs — the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS); the Jazz and Pep Club; the Drama Club; the Alpha Gamma Sigma (AGS) Honor Society; and the DREAM Club — are asking the community for support during the college's second Love Your Club crowdfunding campaign.

Groups hope to raise between $1,000 and $3,000 during the monthlong campaign to accomplish a wide variety of tasks, including feeding the homeless, financing a free play or funding scholarships for California Dream Act students.

"It's a great idea to raise funds through crowdfunding," said Stephanie Robb, student activities coordinator. Use of traditional crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe or Kickstarter are banned under college regulations, she explained. However, after recognizing the viability of online crowdfunding, the college foundation board purchased a proprietary crowdfunding platform for student organizations.

"Last year was our first attempt at it and we did great," Robb said. More than $15,000 in donations was raised during last year's campaign, according to Natalie Rucobo, advancement specialist.

Rucobo explained that groups were chosen following a campuswide application and presentation process, and will be utilizing various means of promotion to solicit community donations. Yesenia Beas, DREAM Club president and student trustee, said the group was very grateful to be selected by the college to participate in the crowdfunding campaign. 

"It's really exciting to know we can get funds from community members who support our same goals," she said. Funds donated to the DREAM Club will go to two student scholarships and creation of a dedicated DREAM Center for undocumented students.

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Jacob Sleczowski, member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma college honor society, hopes to use the funds they raise to purchase food and items necessary to prepare hot breakfast for the homeless at the Good Samaritan Homeless Shelter in Santa Maria.

"Getting selected was exciting and a relief," he said. "All the work we had done building up to this ultimately paid off."

Drama Club President Jessica Garcia called participating in the crowdfunding campaign a good experience, one that will carry over to their professional careers. The group hopes to raise funds to finance their spring production, and to fund an end-of-the-year trip and outreach projects with local high school drama clubs.

"Art is a shared experience," she explained. "Even if we do gain professional experience, it's more important that we generate a feeling from our audience and help [cultivate] an artistic mindset among the youth."

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga

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