The Princeton Review recently published its “Top 20 Party Schools” list for 2013-2014, and UCSB moved up from No. 7 in 2012 to No. 2. I wrote the following letter to The Princeton Review in response to this ranking:
I firmly believe this designation not only to be wholly specious, but also ¾ and perhaps more importantly ¾ a disservice to our students, alumni and faculty. We should be number one.
Have you been to our campus? We are surrounded by ocean and beach on three sides, with mountain views backing us. So do I find it surprising that we’re again on the Princeton Review’s “Top Party Schools” list? Absolutely not. We should be! After all, our campus more closely resembles a five-star resort than the No. 2 university in the world for research (Leiden, 2013).
So do we party? Definitely! However, there is a misconception that surrounds the word “party.” We here at UCSB party in many different ways. “Partying” does not always consist of keg stands and burning couches. Partying can mean a few celebratory dance steps after acing an exam, or a toast with friends over a glass of freshly squeezed carrot juice from the Isla Vista Co-op (a foundation in I.V. for 50 years and counting). At UCSB, partying is synonymous with enjoying a cupcake at Crushcakes, soaking up some rays at Campus Point with friends and sipping coffee out of a biodegradable cup on campus. Instead of naming us the “Number 2 Party School” you should’ve named us the “Party to” school.
We are party to having five professors with Nobel prizes teaching and inspiring students on our campus. We are party to being one of the top 10 “coolest schools” in the nation, as ranked by Sierra Magazine (2013) for our efforts to make our campus environmentally friendly including the fact that “50 percent of food served is local.” We are party to being a public university that can boast about the fact that 46.8 percent of our classes house 20 students (U.S. News, 2013). We are party to having an “average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, [of] 91.2 percent” (U.S. News, 2013). We are party to attending a university that provides 58.3 percent of its undergraduates with “need-based financial aid” (U.S. News, 2013). We are party to attending the 35th best university in the world (Times Higher Education, 2012) out of 200 universities examined.
I love our school, and I love being party to a forward-thinking and environmentally conscious community that encourages and inspires students to contribute not only through academics, but through our extracurricular activities as well. So do we party? Hell yes, we do. We party because we are an institution full of high-achievers and there’s always something to celebrate about at UCSB.
Charlotte A. Rushforth is a fourth-year communications major at UCSB.