UCSB recently announced that it will be spending $40,000 on ads discouraging non-locals from coming to I.V. for Deltopia 2017. As we’ve seen in the past, Isla Vista weekends like Halloween and Deltopia have drawn massive and sometimes uncontrollable crowds. Safety in I.V. should always be a top priority; however, there are much greater issues our university faces than a few rowdy days a year, and $40,000 seems like it could be better spent somewhere else.
To continue to be a top university, UCSB must focus on the quality of education and keep up with standards other progressive schools are setting. This includes new technology, policy adoption and accommodating students of all backgrounds. To ensure productivity and innovation in the coming years, we must educate this generation to the best of our ability, and that means increasing funding for learning potential, not mass coverage of a regular old weekend in I.V.
This $40k supposedly comes out of funds gifted by alumni. If it were my money, I would want it to stretch as far as possible to engage students and give them unique opportunities, and, somehow, Pandora ads asking out-of-towners not to party in Santa Barbara doesn’t really affect my education whatsoever. Those funds could be used to hire a few extra counselors at C.A.P.S. so that the only available appointment to discuss serious mental health issues isn’t a few weeks or even months out. The money could go directly to financial aid so that we can be a university that educates students from unlimited socioeconomic backgrounds in this land of unequal opportunity. Perhaps best of all, those $40,000 could support the Syrian refugee students UCSB just resolved to admit, a motion that makes me incredibly proud of my school.
“Spending money is like watering your plants: What you focus on grows, and everything else dies.”
Of course, there remains the question of student safety during Deltopia weekend. The more people who attend, the more likely it is to get out of control; it is with good intentions that UCSB officials instated these advertisements discouraging visitors. The argument can be made that student safety is as essential as their learning experience. However, there are much more effective and efficient ways to keep it local. I.V. kids can stay safe without the help of advertisements; road blockades and police presence will keep the excitement under control. Any partying has the potential for danger. A picture in the corner of my Facebook page reminding me not to invite my friends from UCLA up for the weekend won’t discourage me any more than a quick email from the UCSB Office of Student Life will.
Students can easily communicate to their non-local friends that I.V. is already crowded enough, and hearing it on the radio between songs is unnecessary. Since we have limited funds to make our university a prime learning environment, we have to prioritize.
If people know about Deltopia and want to come, no ad will stop them. However, when that weekend is over and they’re long gone, all of UCSB’s students will still be here, and they need resources. I wanted to write on this issue because when I heard fellow students complaining about how much money would be wasted on these ads, I started to seriously consider how money affects a university’s ability to educate the most students in the best way possible. With just a few extra fundraisers or by saving money not spent on unnecessary publicity for I.V., the number of students admitted on scholarships could double.
Spending money is like watering your plants: What you focus on grows, and everything else dies. Of course, we will still have money for the great education programs available here at UCSB with or without the anti-Deltopia ads, but the point is that every dollar counts. What we prioritize will grow the most, and it is important to be mindful of exactly what we are allowing to grow. Perhaps a more effective method of keeping Deltopia weekend safe would be distributing emails or student-made signs encouraging mild, peaceful behavior no matter how many people show up. Perhaps letting students or student leadership have a say in what some of the alumni “gift funds” go to would create a more well-rounded foundation so that some departments won’t go underfunded.
Money is power, and UCSB leaders are given the huge responsibility of handling this power. It is my hope that underprivileged students and a supreme education foundation are prioritized over UCSB’s party reputation.
Olivia Yazzolino hopes the university reconsiders their investment in Deltopia-related advertising.