In a coordinated effort with Adopt-a-Block, over 300 students organized on Sunday to clean the streets of Isla Vista after a day of Deltopia festivities.
Adopt-a-Block’s annual post-Deltopia cleaning event saw 316 registered volunteers as well as many more unregistered volunteers, all of who in total collected more than 6,000 pounds of trash in 563 combined hours. This is Adopt-a-Block’s second largest event following “Halloclean,” the annual post-Halloween cleanup.
Due to the large-scale nature of Deltopia, Adopt-a-Block supervisor Adam Porte said this particular cleanup was handled differently from normal cleanups. On a normal day, Porte would dispatch people to different areas of Isla Vista with the largest amounts of trash or debris. For this year’s Deltopia, however, Porte said the entirety of Isla Vista was “completely trashed” on Sunday morning.
“Luckily, I had those 300-plus volunteers, and I was able to dispatch them all throughout Isla Vista, and they actually did an outstanding job, especially on Del Playa, which was probably the worst part of everything,” Porte said.
With a crew equipped with dustpans and brooms, the team was able to clean up almost all the broken glass across the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive, according to Porte, who said many other Isla Vista residents joined the effort, which had begun around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.
“You could tell they were residents on Del Playa. They were already out with their own brooms and their own trash bags and were picking all that stuff up themselves,” Porte said. “I think they were definitely way more receptive than usual. Everyone was a little bit surprised with what happened.”
Porte said he felt disappointed in the behavior and lack of respect that Deltopia attendees had toward the community through the way they treated Isla Vista. He said he was initially worried the cleanup task would be too much for the volunteers to complete, but grew more confident as more residents joined in.
“I was nervous when I first got in because I rode down Del Playa, and I didn’t even know if 100 or 200 volunteers could clean all of it up,” Porte said. “It was very overwhelming, but then I thought about [it], saw people coming out of their houses, and saw everyone pitching in, and I got a little bit excited, like, ‘We can do this.’”
According to Porte, the community demonstrates strong support for Adopt-a-Block’s mission to maintain Isla Vista as an environmentally safe and beautiful community.
“Before the event, I was preparing for a risk management meeting for Greek life on campus and sent around a couple of photos of last year’s Deltopia, and the streets were just trashed in those photos,” Porte said. “One of the sergeants from the [UC Police Department] caught me on my way out. He gave me 40 dollars to buy water for my volunteers.”
Then, on the following Saturday, Porte said he was at Costco purchasing bananas and cookies for the volunteers when a stranger volunteered to assist with his cause.
“I was waiting in line to check out and the guy behind me asked me why I was buying so much, so I explained to him our cleanup, and a woman in front of me says, ‘No, no, no. My husband is going to pay for this,’” Porte said.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, a third-year communication major and an employee for the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District, said he was disappointed by the way Isla Vista was treated. As a Del Playa resident, Fitzpatrick said he has “never seen [the street] as trashed as it was.”
“There were red cups everywhere and broken bottles,” Fitzpatrick said. “Anything that you could think of that would be on the streets was on the streets, and it was just everywhere. I wasn’t happy with it at all and I was embarrassed to see it like that.”
According to Fitzpatrick, this image of I.V. perpetuates a sense of carelessness and irresponsibility in its residents, which he said is an unfair representation for first-time visitors and others to see.
“It looked like we basically just didn’t care about our community, whereas there are a lot of kids that do,” Fitzpatrick said. “I know there were a lot of kids that, after everything happened at 1 a.m. in the morning, were outside picking up stuff.”
According to Fitzpatrick, this year’s post-Deltopia trash amount consisted of much more garbage, particularly broken glass, than in previous years. He said instead of just lining the curbs, this time the litter cluttered the streets.
“I’ve never seen so much broken glass on the streets. Usually, you’ll just see lots of cigarette buds, paper towels or plates. It was just all shattered glass and it was just way more of a mess,” Fitzpatrick said.
Photo by Alex Gonzalez / Daily Nexus
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 10 edition of the Daily Nexus.