I was skating to the office one Saturday afternoon when I noticed an event going on in Storke Plaza. I noticed it not because of the humongous outdoor tent, or the dense throng of attendees, but rather because of the delectable wafting smell of still warm catered food. I was down to my last few dollars in my bank account and wasn’t about to spend it on some overpriced burrito. I certainly wasn’t in the mood to eat more instant noodles. That’s when I, or at least my stomach, decided to crash my very first private event.

I scouted the party and saw all the telltale signs of an event just begging to be crashed: numerous access points, wandering guests, semi-formal wear and the most importantly, no nametags. I skated back to my place, put on some decent looking clothes and walked back to Storke Plaza. I didn’t bother to find out what the event was for. It could’ve been charity, a reunion, birthday party or a group showcasing the campus. I was there for food and food alone. I grabbed some coleslaw, mashed potatoes, some slices of ham and a couple sugar cookies. I followed behind a wandering couple before breaking away and heading to the office. Luckily I didn’t have to travel far between each destination.

My friend, Ryan, has more balls than I do. He’s managed to crash private parties for actor John Cleese and musicians Sarah Chang and Ashley Wass. These events are more heavily monitored than the outdoor gatherings I’ve managed to sneak into. There’s usually just one entry point, a guest list, formal attire and the bane of most crashers, a doorperson handing out nametags. Ryan got into the Cleese party by pretending to know another guest. He got into the other party by entering with a group of people that included Sarah Chang and Ashley Wass. Unfortunately, Ryan was asked to leave both parties mere minutes after entering by security, who with whom he had come. He left politely without making a scene.

I agree with Ryan’s actions after getting caught. Getting inside isn’t the problem; it’s keeping from getting kicked out. Crashing an event doesn’t hurt anyone; however, you are taking advantage of the unaware hosts, so at the very least you should have some tact and courtesy. I only go for the free food, but I’m sure there are more ways to get some fun out of it. I’ll leave that to your imagination.

UCSB hosts plenty of events throughout the year. There are even several that are open to the public but not necessarily advertised. The music program has several recitals throughout the year that culminate with an enticing table of hors d’oeuvres outside Geiringer Hall in the Music Building. There are also art exhibitions in the College of Creative Studies and the Art Building. The exhibitions in the Art Building are usually on Wednesday afternoons and even have wine available. Academic departments also host get togethers so the faculty and students can get to know each other better. Expect plenty of pizza from this type of event.

The easiest way to find out about an event is by keeping a close eye on Facebook events and the campus calendar. Even better would be to get in the habit of wandering campus on weekends, when these events usually take place. If you plan on crashing something more posh, make sure to keep a set of formal clothes at the ready. While you’re at it, get a marker and some index cards for a makeshift nametag. It certainly doesn’t hurt to get to know people on the inside as well. Face your back to security and look for a bathroom if you plan on spending a lot of time there. Stick nearby groups of people and keep up the composure that you belong there.

These social gatherings are meant to bring people together. As long as you don’t detract from that or stir up trouble, feel free to crash as many events as you want. My name is Mark Batalla and I’ll be seeing you at the next meeting.