Thousands of K-12 students from the South Plains area plowed through Texas Tech University’s Student Union Building recently for the 15th annual Back to School Fiesta (BTSF), an event that provides students with educational resources and school supplies for the upcoming year.
Hosted by Texas Tech’s Office of Community Engagement along with the Office of the President and Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, the event began in the summer of 2000, serving only 300 students and their families in a parking lot, but has grown and expanded over the years.
“We had a phenomenal turnout for the 15th annual Back to School Fiesta,” Heather Martinez, director of Texas Tech’s Office of Community Engagement. “Through the generosity of Texas Tech and its community partners and volunteers, we were able to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people.
“If we can change just one life and get them excited about education and taking another step toward becoming a Red Raider, then we are doing our job.”
Students who attended BTSF received backpacks filled with school supplies while they learned about educational resources on campus and participated in activities such as a Texas Tech athlete meet and greet, climbing a rockwall with Lubbock’s YWCA, driving remote-controlled robots and learning chess techniques with Texas Tech’s Chess program.
Texas Tech officials hope this event encourages students at a young age to pursue higher education.
“Back to School Fiesta is about showing the community and our K-12 students why we believe that ‘From Here, It’s Possible,’ and making them feel as though they are a part of the Red Raider family,” said Mari Samarripas, section coordinator of the Office of Community Engagement. “It’s an opportunity that provides more than free school supplies and giveaways, but an opportunity to share the Red Raider spirit that is welcoming, opportunistic and exciting.”