Lane Community College’s English as a Second Language program held a community fundraiser on Thursday night at Ninkasi Brewery in the Whiteaker neighborhood of Eugene. Ninkasi Brewery donated $1 per pint sold. Local band, Loftan played at the event and ESL staff was there from 2-8 p.m.

The goal of the fundraiser was to raise $2257 which will provide 48 scholarships to cover the $47 fee for ESL classes. At print time the fundraiser has raised over $700 in cash donations and is waiting for the final sales contribution from Ninkasi Brewery.

ESL provides two programs at the Main and Downtown Lane campuses. Intensive English is a more academic oriented program and Community English focuses on conversational English use. The program currently has about 400 students. About half of the program’s students are area residents and half are international students. “We are gearing towards growth,” says ESL Dean Anna Gates Tapia.

Lane’s ESL program gets funding from two federal sources, the Workforce Investment Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act. With the new Trump administration in Washington there is uncertainty about the future of such federal funding sources. ESL staff says they may see some decline in the program but services provided to local residents are still important.

Since the election some students have reported problems with harassment in the community. Fortunately none have reported any incidents at Lane. “There is a lot of uncertainty right now and uncertainty makes anxiety,” Tapia said.

This was Loftan’s first performance at a fundraiser. They landed the gig through a member of the advisory committee, who attends a pilates class taught by band member Janell Riedl. Band member Julian Mahncke moved from Germany two years ago and feels strongly about the opportunities provided by English as a Second Language.

The Whiteaker music scene has been open and welcoming, according to Loftan. The group says “we don’t fit with the Bluegrass scene around the district”, but said they feel more like a Folk and Indie band. The band has info and music videos posted on their website at thebandloftan.com.

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