On July 5, Clatsop Community College (CCC) instructor Fernando Rojas started his journey cycling across Oregon to fundraise for CCC students.
Under the name “The Bandit Biking For Books," Rojas plans to visit every community college in Oregon, finishing the 1600-mile route back at CCC.
The fundraising goal is $150,000, which can help pay for three terms’ worth of textbooks for CCC students.
Rojas attended several community colleges during his years as a student, and said the influence that community colleges have in their communities is invaluable.
“I just think that that system is one of the gems that we have for helping people move into the middle class or beyond,” Rojas said. “I can’t believe how I was able to work part-time and pay for my tuition and pay for my books. The ‘bang for the buck’ that is available there is phenomenal.”
Rojas found that a student at CCC can end up paying around $1600 for textbooks per term, and some students can’t afford the extra expense.
“It’s a privilege to be able to do something to make our state--and our neighboring state of Washington--better, and by way of education and by way of helping students that need that help,” Rojas said. “I’m not in it for the glory, I’m not in it to win a gold medal; I don’t have those skills, I’ve never had those skills, and that’s okay. I think I can do my part for this beautiful state that I call home.”
Rojas plans to finish his ride back at Clatsop Community College on July 25.