In an effort to provide a safer Halloween for I.V. residents, several student organizations have planned substitute events to partying, such as trick-or-treating and a hangout spot
Student organizations will be hosting several events this Halloween weekend to provide alternative options to the Isla Vista party scene.
Isla Vista’s Halloween celebration has historically drawn crowds of 20,000 to 40,000 students and out-of-towners to festivities on Del Playa Drive. This Halloween weekend, there will be approximately 200 officers from both the UC Police Department and Santa Barbara Sherriff’s Department stationed in I.V. Student organizations such as Take Back the Night (TBTM), the Associated Students (A.S.) Commission on Public Safety and the A.S. External Vice President of Local Affairs (EVPLA) office have planned multiple events this weekend to give students options to safely celebrate Halloween.
External Vice President of Local Affairs and third-year history of public policy major Paola Dela Cruz said A.S. will host Pardall Center Chill Space from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday on the first floor of the Pardall Center, open to anyone in I.V. over Halloween weekend.
“My main goal is only to provide local, safe and educational events during Halloween,” Dela Cruz said.
TBTN Co-Chair and third-year political science major Gema Hernández Nava said TBTN will host an additional student event from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday on the second floor of the Pardall Center, called Pardall Center Safe Space. Hernández Nava said advocates from Campus Advocacy and Resources Education (C.A.R.E.) and the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center will be on site to assist students who experience harassment during the Halloween weekend.
“We know it can get a little hectic when people get more drunk and when it gets later,” Hernández Nava said. “It’s called a safe space so that people can come and chill if they need a place. They can talk to an advocate if they’ve experienced something dramatic or because they didn’t know what to do in a situation.”
Dela Cruz said her office will also be hosting Haunt the Loop from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in the I.V. business area, a trick-or-treat event for Isla Vista residents to go visit I.V. businesses and receive gifts and candy.
“We are trying to shift culture and get families to come and actually trick-or-treat here,” Dela Cruz said. “They can actually enjoy Halloween. It’s not just drunk students partying.”
A.S. Commission on Public Safety Chair and second-year political science and global studies double-major Dwayne Mosbey said student organizations are working alongside police officers to implement the University of California Isla Vista Volunteering Program (UCIV) — a public volunteer program that mediates between police officers and I.V. partygoers. According to Mosbey, UCIV volunteers will be distributing water, escorting residents to their homes and warning residents of the noise ordinance, which restricts residents from playing loud music past 6 p.m., to prevent citations.
“[UCIV] is something very simple that we at UCSB can do just to ensure that people in our community, as well as the people coming in, are safe,” Mosbey said. “Even though, in a way, it is a little bit of a reactive measure, it drastically reduces the incidents that are going to be happening that night.”
According to Mosbey, volunteers and partygoers alike have praised UCIV in the past, and it will likely be a permanent facet for future Halloween and Deltopia weekends.
“So far, students have loved it. [Volunteers] have a chance to interact with the community and they get volunteer hours for doing something they would have loved to do anyways,” Mosbey said. “It’s looking like it will be a permanent thing for UCSB to have.”
Senior Associate Dean of Student Life Debbie Fleming said the Isla Vista party scene is largely “uni-dimensional” and does not provide enough options for the university’s diverse and “sophisticated” student population. Fleming said student organizations are hosting alternative events to accommodate the wide interests of UCSB students.
“Every student doesn’t just want to walk up and down the street or party. Some of our students would really like to have music, entertainment and other things to do,” Fleming said. “I think this is really about giving students options so that there isn’t just this one-size-fits-all attitude or campus environment.”
Fleming said she hopes student organizations will begin hosting alternative events to I.V.’s party scene every weekend, rather than just during Halloween and Deltopia.
“I would love to see us have a vibrant weekend music scene that would be happening on campus that would give students an alternative to underage drinking in I.V. or the kind of party scene that can be riskier,” Fleming said. “I actually think that what I’m seeing is that students want that, and I’m hoping we can have a partnership around that.”
A version of this story appeared on p. 3 of the Thursday, October 29 issue of the Daily Nexus.