Graphic: Sac State Connection header

JUNE 2011
Group Photo Of One Book Winners
(Lt. to Rt.) David Leon, Yesenia Sandoval Lopez, Ruth Ibarra, Sergio Garibay, Jeanette Plascencia

Alumni Chapter and One Book Program Announce Essay Winner

Thanks to the generous funding of the Latino Alumni Chapter, the Sacramento State One Book Program presented awards to two students as part of the first One Book Essay contest.  Ruth Ibarra, president of the Latino Alumni Chapter, presented the awards to Yesenia Sandoval Lopez and Sergio Garibay at a recognition ceremony on May 19. Their standout essays were inspired by the 2010-11 One Book selection, The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea.

Over 75 submissions were received and after review by a panel of judges including faculty, alumni, students and staff, Lopez, a graduating Senior, was awarded first prize and $500.00 for her essay which looked carefully at the theoretical underpinnings of the issues raised in Luis Alberto Urrea’s book.  Garibay, a first year student, was awarded second prize and $250.00 for his investigation into his personal connections on the topic of “crossing borders.”  Also in attendance at the presentation were Professors Elvia Ramirez and Julie Figueroa who had assigned the winning essays, as well as the judges including Professor Dan Melzer, Reading and Writing Coordinator, Professor David Leon, Ethnic Studies, and Ms. Jeanette Plascencia, Multicultural Center. 

The Latino Alumni Chapter was approached by the One Book Program to co-sponsor the One Book selection for the academic year of 2010-2011.  Since this year’s selection, The Devil’s Highway, focuses on immigration policies and the need for immigration reform, the Latino Alumni Chapter seized the opportunity to be involved in a university- and community-wide discussion that affects many Latino students.  “We were especially thrilled that the book would be read in various classes throughout different disciplines because it would show how immigration affects everyone and everything not just immigrants,” says Chapter President Ruth Ibarra.  “The Latino Alumni Chapter believes that everyone has a voice, but many find it difficult to use it.  An essay contest would be one way students could use their voices to share their experiences, viewpoints, and beliefs on immigration reform.”

“The Latino Alumni Chapter believes that it is important to be involved with the University.  It is our way to continue to be involved and give back to the place that gave us so much: education, memories, financing, friendships, etc. As alumni, it is imperative we help students that are in need. We know how difficult it was to pay for college.  We are committed to giving back to future Latino Alumni members through scholarship, sponsoring various academic programs and student groups.

Alumni Association chapters are comprised of alumni volunteers who have united on behalf of the Alumni Association in support of a common interest, academic area, or professional field. All members of the Alumni Association can choose to support at least one chapter of preference. To learn more about chapters, contact Hannah Kook,, 916.278.3861.

California State University, Sacramento • Alumni Association
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6024 • (916) 278-6295 •