The Associated Students Isla Vista Community Relations Committee (IVCRC) will host its first-ever Isla Vista Week from Monday through Friday to educate students and community members about I.V.’s history and issues involving I.V. environment, housing, community and more.
The event series will begin Monday afternoon with an on-foot tour of I.V. led by IVCRC and will end Friday night with I.V. First Friday, an entertainment event typically held on the first Friday of each month of the academic year. Other events include an environment and sustainability presentation by A.S. Recycling on Tuesday, a family craft and community art project on Wednesday and a student housing forum hosted by the Isla Vista Housing Coalition on Thursday.
IVCRC external chair and fourth-year political science major Daniela Bayon said the events are aimed at building a community that cares about prominent issues currently surrounding I.V.
“We’re trying to bring students, families and community members together through a variety of different relationships, events, and programs,” Bayon said.
According to Bayon, IVCRC wants to expand their community involvement beyond their annual Pardall Carnival and Chilla Vista events, which are held annually in Fall and Spring quarters respectively.
I do believe there is a housing crisis in Isla Vista. I was one of the many students who had to couch surf this past fall, and unfortunately, this is not new to Isla Vista. It has been going on for many years where students are desperate for housing, families get evicted, and rent prices skyrocket. – Alejandra Melgoza, Isla Vista Housing Coalition organizer and second-year Chicana/o studies and history of public policy major
“It became our goal as a committee to do more, and to really focus on issue-based activism,” Bayon said. “It’s really come out of this concept to bring awareness to issues in Isla Vista and address them with community members who are already working on things.”
Bayon said the housing forum is the start of IVCRC’s plan to eventually create a press release to be presented to university administration with a list of demands concerning what organizers call the current housing crisis in I.V.
“We want to hear from the average student at UCSB that struggles with housing,” Bayon said. “A lot of the advisers on the Chancellor’s Housing Committee don’t grasp the idea that there is a housing crisis, so our goal is to raise awareness through this forum and the stories of some of these students to UCSB administration.”
Alejandra Melgoza, Isla Vista Housing Coalition organizer and a second-year Chicana/o studies and history of public policy major, said the alleged housing crisis in I.V. is a prevalent issue facing all students living off-campus.
“I do believe there is a housing crisis in Isla Vista,” Melgoza said in an email. “I was one of the many students who had to couch surf this past fall, and unfortunately, this is not new to Isla Vista. It has been going on for many years where students are desperate for housing, families get evicted, and rent prices skyrocket.”
Melgoza said she hopes the Thursday forum at the Pardall Center will allow students to share their personal experiences with housing in I.V. and prompt collective action toward addressing housing issues.
“It will be an open dialogue in which any issues may be brought up,” Melgoza said in an email. “I hope that with our collected efforts we can find a solution to give students and families affordable housing, knowledge on their rights as tenants, and put a stop to evictions.”
Second-year English major Julia Swensen, who will be attending I.V. Week, said she is confident IVCRC will succeed in improving the I.V. community through this week’s series of events.
“I’ve really liked the past events that IVCRC has put on, and they’ve done a good job of educating the community about the things we don’t know about Isla Vista,” Swensen said.
Bayon said that she hopes this is the first of many such events to continue the process of building community relationships in I.V.
“We just really want to build the sense of community that cares about each other through these resources and networks, especially in light of what happened last spring on May 23rd, I think the community is looking for a healing project … something new we can build together to contribute to Isla Vista,” Bayon said.
[Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly named Daniela Bayon IVCRC special events coordinator. She is actually the external chair for the committee. This article has been updated accordingly.]
For more information, see the event’s Facebook page here.