The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

A Panther always cares for its cubs; One-time student now helps current students succeed


Diane Martinez Hermosilla

[email protected]

Guest Writer

Are you lost? Did you walk into the Student Center by accident or to find help?

A kind man catches sight of you. You don’t feel comfortable being approached by someone, especially when you’re unclear why you stepped into this room in the first place. However, something about this man makes you feel comfortable.

Perhaps it’s his warm smile. Perhaps the look on his face shows he cares. Or maybe it’s the fact that he took the time to look your way, and see that you needed help, answered your questions to his best capacity and walked you toward the destination you needed to go to.

The man is Christopher Torres, 42, and he is there at that small cubicle at the back of STCC 105, helping those who stumble upon his way. He advocates for City College students as the campus student affairs specialist. Despite his relaxed and kind demeanor, Torres has overcome many challenges and obstacles along the way to be the person he is now.

Torres understands the needs of City College students. Having been a City College student himself, he knows well the difficulties and challenges that many students encounter as they strive to acquire a higher level of education and better lifestyle. This is why Torres dedicates most of his time coordinating events and programs to help students.

“I view my job through the lens of a student,” says Torres. “The most effective way to get students connected to their campus is to provide as much information, as many resources, as many opportunities as humanly possible. Because as a student, I would like to go, ‘Wow! I never thought this would be here. And now I know about this.’”

Torres coordinates events like Welcome Day, People’s Day and much more. He invites club members and program specialists to events to increase awareness of student services. He also makes programs like EOPS, CalWorks and disability programs accessible during events so that students are more aware of their existence.

Annalea Padilla, a communication studies major and student help employee who works alongside Torres, describes him as  “very community-based” and always eager to get people involved in events. Padilla enjoys working in the Student Leadership and Development office and admires Torres’ work and commitment.

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In recent years Torres has also created events to help students with their basic necessities. He gives away free meals during events. He invites nail technology students from the Cosmetology department to offer free manicures. These are little things that his department funds for students.

“We always have starving students on campus. We have many homeless students on campus,” says Torres, “and if I can relieve them, even if it’s just one day getting one free meal, that’s something.”

Torres often hosts events where he invites healthcare and enrollment specialists from Covered California, because he knows well that students are in need of healthcare services.

Considering himself a “grassroots product,” Torres is compelled to give back to a community he feels has influenced him to become the person he is today.

Torres was in his early 30s when he came to City College, desperate to get a job. As a father, he felt it was necessary to earn an education to provide for his family. He was a high school dropout, and at a time when unemployment was at its highest, he found it even more difficult to find a job.

It wasn’t long before Torres met people that would motivate him to achieve greater academic goals, making use of programs and opportunities. He eventually overcame his difficulties. He acquired a job as a student clerk and eventually earned an associate’s degree in administration of justice and social sciences.

Torres then transferred to Sacramento State and earned a bachelor’s degree. Years later he earned a master’s degree in counseling. Motivated to continue helping students, Torres has become a campus counselor. He says someday, he would like to influence policy changes that would help college communities and students.

Torres has accomplished much in the last 10 years. He uses his personal experience to bring about changes. He helps in whatever manner he can and is conscientious of the needs of others.

Torres often uses his life experience to reach out to fellow students and to motivate them to give their best and not lose hope.

Torres and his group of students and employees host People’s Day each year in May, a special day to celebrate and say goodbye to another school year. They offer a free pancake breakfast in the morning and fun activities, like face painting and jumping houses. Local craft vendors set up booths on this special day.  

City College students always know they have something to look forward to with People’s Day, another event hosted by Torres, with the primary goal to help, encourage and educate his students.

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