Edith Mata

Edith Mata is the Bakersfield College Student Government Association president and a full-time student at Bakersfield College.

Week 10 of the fall semester is in full swing at Bakersfield College! In the midst of the daily hustle of campus life, it was great to experience Homecoming Week 2021, which has been a BC tradition since 1957. Our Homecoming theme this year was “Through the Test of Time Renegades Rip Forward.” The theme highlights how strong our community is aside from all the adversities our community has faced throughout the pandemic. We continue to rip forward with courage and strength to better tomorrows. Throughout the week, various homecoming student activities were hosted, culminating with the final Renegade Homecoming football game on Saturday, Oct. 16 with a fantastic fireworks spectacular display!

These types of traditions strengthen our legacy and are extremely important for connecting with our greater Kern County community. Most of us have a tie to Bakersfield College. Whether you were a student yourself or had a friend or family member attend, Renegades are everywhere throughout this community doing good things.

It’s important that we make time as a BC community for honored traditions like football games at Memorial Stadium, homecoming week, involvement festivals, campus speakers and so much more. These traditions have been paused or placed online for the past two years and that made this Homecoming celebration extra special as we marked the return of a few in-person student events. I am so pleased and relieved that BC has provided me with flexible options for my educational goals during this pandemic, but nothing beats being on campus, thriving.

As a BC student and the SGA president, I am grateful to have flexible options for my classes, while also having options to stay connected to the campus community. Being a full-time student and a mother requires constant adaptability and juggling of responsibilities. The fully online, hybrid and rural site options helped me develop an ideal schedule that works with my lifestyle. It's wonderful to see the Renegade community protecting and looking out for one another by following the protocols set forth, using the KCCD campus pass app, and practicing social courtesies in the classroom and on campus.

Our annual homecoming week supports our Renegade Pantry programs and this year we hosted the Renegades Care Pop Up Closet. Non-perishable food items, professional clothing and hygiene item donations are always welcome. This year, students were able to visit the pop-up tent in the middle of campus to shop for basic necessities free to them. Our Renegade Pantry has been a constant support to our students, even myself, throughout the pandemic. It has stayed open throughout the pandemic while providing curbside pick-up. The Renegade Pantry is another example of BC tradition and a semblance of community service, a core value at BC.

For Homecoming, I wanted to create a welcoming environment and also support health and wellness through creativity and art. Studies have shown that expressing oneself through art can help people with depression, and so, alongside my fellow Renegades and community artists, we designed and painted a beautiful Monarch butterfly mural to symbolize that “through the test of time Renegades rip forward” with resilience, unity and strength.

During the week, many students who passed by helped to paint the mural, and then at the game, individuals took pictures standing in front of it showing excitement while cheering on our team. Then, the following week the mural was display outside student life in support of Undocumented Student week of action. My overall goal with the Monarch Butterfly mural is to inspire everyone to continue pursuing their educational goals and dreams at Bakersfield College.

The homecoming football game was definitely a highlight of the week. I haven’t been to a game in a long time and energy was simply over the moon. Starting with the parking lot filled with our famous tailgating crews, the stadium was packed with fans wearing red, nachos and hot dogs cooked by our BC Food Services team, the smell and sound of the cannon going off after each touchdown, and of course the fireworks display at the end of the game. This served as a beacon of hope and sign of the resilience of the Renegade community.

Edith Mata is the Bakersfield College Student Government Association president and a full-time student at Bakersfield College.