Fires tore through Napa Valley in early October, devastating the region and destroying the lives of many who lost loved ones, homes and entire communities. Among those affected were students, faculty and staff at Sonoma State, and in solidarity with its fellow California State University, Stanislaus State is raising funds to help the campus community get back on its feet.
The Stanislaus State Campus Cares Fund, created by the California Faculty Association Stanislaus Chapter to provide aid to students dealing with food insecurity, homelessness or unexpected emergencies, kickstarted a crowdfunding effort to assist the fire victims at Sonoma State. The CFA has agreed to give the Sonoma State Fire Victims Fund 50 percent of all donations it receives from Oct. 16 through Dec. 31. The CFA already exceeded its initial goal of $2,500, less than 24 hours after it began.
Since then, $5,471 has been raised, thanks largely in part to a $2,000 donation from the University Police Department and an anonymous $500 donation. On Tuesday night, which, fittingly, is the national day of giving back known as Giving Tuesday, a special presentation during halftime of Stanislaus State’s men’s basketball home game against Sonoma State honored and brought attention to the fundraising effort.
“As Sonoma suffered those devastating fires, our hearts went out to all of our colleagues and students at Sonoma State, many of whom were displaced by the fires,” said Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn. “We are very fortunate that Campus Cares was started by the CFA…and in the spirit of that principle, we acknowledge the need for the Sonoma State community as they recover from the wildfires, and we wanted to contribute to that need.”
The Sonoma State campus re-opened to students Oct. 18, just nine days after fires swept through the area, halting classes and flipping the lives of many upside down. More than 50 students, faculty and staff lost their homes, including Sonoma State President Judy K. Sakaki.
Though she was not present at Tuesday’s game, Sakaki expressed her gratitude toward Stanislaus State for the fundraising efforts in a statement to the Journal, thanking the university’s campus community for its kindness and generosity.
“We are grateful that the Warriors are supportive of Noma Nation in its time of need. Expressions of care have come from many quarters, but we are especially grateful to our CSU family at Stanislaus,” said Sakaki. “Our community was rocked to its core, but we have found strength and resilience in the days and weeks since the fires. We are moving forward with a spirit of togetherness, hope and gratitude.”
A check for 50 percent of the funds raised will be presented to Sonoma State in the new year. The remaining 50 percent of funds will be used to help Stanislaus State students facing emergency situations stay in school.
“One of the really neat things about being in the CSU is that we get to care for our students,” said CFA President Steven Filling. “We get to put our money where our mouth is, and really importantly tonight, caring for our students means not just our Warriors, but our students in Sonoma too. You’ve had our thoughts and prayers, and at the end of the year you’ll get our check.”
Funds will continue to be collected through Dec. 31, and Junn encouraged Tuesday night’s crowd at Fitzpatrick Arena to give to those in need in the spirit of Giving Tuesday.
“Tonight, Warriors and Seawolves, we stand together and we continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers,” said Junn.
To donate to Stan State Campus Cares, visit www.stanforacause.csustan.edu. Stanislaus State encourages the community to donate to the Food Insecurity Fund as well as the Student Emergency Fund.