Local organizers hope Isla Vista residents will donate, rather than douse, their couches this spring, as the Great Isla Vista Extravaganza Project prepares to collect furniture.
G.I.V.E., a local campaign to recycle furniture, clothing and other reusable items, will accept donations in the Embarcadero Hall parking lot between June 13 and June 22. Organizers will sell the collected items in the same lot on June 23, with proceeds going directly toward projects in I.V.
UCSB and I.V. Liaison for the G.I.V.E. Project Catherine Boyer said the event was especially useful for when students throw out many of their belongings at the end of the school year.
“The G.I.V.E. Project in Isla Vista provides an easy way for people to donate usable items that other people need so that the items are not discarded as trash and taken to the landfill,” Boyer said.
As the project’s purpose is to benefit the community, Boyer said the sale prices are affordable. Some couches in years past have sold for as little as $5, and prices do not exceed $50 for higher quality furniture.
Several Isla Vista-based charities and non-profit organizations will receive donations from the sale, including the Teen Center, Youth Projects, Isla Vista Recreation and Park District recreation programs and the St. Brigid Fellowship. Items that are not sold are donated directly to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, an international Catholic charity with a Los Angeles-based council that serves poor and homeless in L.A., Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
Event organizers said the G.I.V.E. Project serves as an alternative to the couch burning, cited as a problem in I.V. over the past few years. During last year’s spring Finals Week, there were 31 documented couch burnings and 19 arrests, according to I.V. Foot Patrol records.
Assistant Judicial Affairs Coordinator Angie Tozier said the university can take several actions if a student is involved in an arson case.
“A committee has to decide if we extend jurisdiction,” Tozier said. “Some of the potential sanctions are quarter suspensions, community service and research papers.”
As a response to this potential threat, IVFP officers are going undercover in street clothes to monitor I.V. couch burnings.
Lt. Sol Linver , IVFP station commander, said students have a responsibility to the community and should not engage in the illegal act of couch burning.
“I would say this community has given something to them for the past four years, and I would say they should give something back,” Linver said. “Donating is a much better alternative than burning it out in the street. We will have officers in plain clothes, undercover for the sole purpose of arresting people starting couch fires.”
Regardless of the penalties involved for burning couches, Boyer said the motivation for donating is for residents to reconnect with the community and give new life to furniture that might otherwise have gone to waste.
“We encourage people to think about their belongings as reusable and to give someone else a chance to use it,” Boyer said. “It develops a higher sense of community.”