Over 2,000 graduating seniors gathered in Storke Plaza Thursday morning for UCSB First’s annual Senior Class Breakfast. From 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., students were greeted with a free pancake breakfast and a warm introduction to UCSB First’s philanthropic mission.
“It’s a really great philanthropic effort, and it really mobilizes the senior class,” said Deepika Chandrashekar, a co-chair of UCSB First, during an interview with The Bottom Line. “We are trying to engage them as young alumni, and hopefully provide them with motivation to give back to our campus.”
UCSB First made several improvements to the Senior Class Breakfast this year, including a change in venue from the Mosher Alumni House’s parking lot to Storke Plaza. The new venue was chosen to accommodate more seniors and to widen the event’s scope, according to Director of Event Planning Sarah Lynch.
“It’s on a grander scale then ever before, which is fantastic for us,” said Lynch during an interview with The Bottom Line. “It had more of a campus feel and a better atmosphere in my opinion.”
UCSB First also chose to freshly prepare rather than cater pancakes this year. The decision was popular with graduating seniors, who certainly enjoyed the homemade pancakes. However, the fresh pancakes presented new challenges for UCSB First volunteers, Chandrashekar said.
Luckily for them, several UCSB alumni and trustee members assisted the volunteers. Even Dilling Yang, Chancellor Henry Yang’s wife, made an appearance. She helped serve and prepare pancakes for students. Yang called the breakfast a “wonderful” experience during an interview with The Bottom Line.
The event was also popular with graduating seniors who seized the opportunity to reminisce with old friends and think about the future. In general, the students seemed excited to graduate and hopeful for the next chapter in their lives — be it full-time work, travel, or graduate school.
“It’s a big milestone in my life,” said Joe Trent, a fourth year history major who attended the breakfast. “It was a fun four years, and I’m really looking forward to graduating, just because I want to enjoy the effort that I put into this.”
Other students, however, were more tepid. “I feel stoked, nervous, and scared,” said Jeilo Gauna, a graduating transfer student studying psychology. “I guess I’m trying to mentally prepare myself … You never know what’s going to happen after you graduate.”
Although attitudes toward graduation were mixed, all of the seniors seemed to appreciate the breakfast event and enjoyed their free pancakes and senior class t-shirt.