We came in to the office yesterday, all tanner/pinker than when we left on Thursday, laughing about the drunken events that made up Floatopia 2009. But we were left wondering about the mess that was left behind.
Is this gigantic, wild event the sort of thing we want to be hosting?
We hate to be a buzzkill. This is hard for us to write, especially because most of us were drunk and happy and safe on the beach. But for those who were not so happy or drunk or safe — the police officers who were assigned the responsibility of caring for all of us, the beachgoers who were carted away on stretchers, the people who cleaned up after us — Floatopia was not exactly fabulous.
Thirteen people were booked by the county jail. Thirteen people were taken to the hospital. Two people tumbled off the cliff and at least one person nearly drowned. Granted, most of these things — minus the drowning — could reasonably happen on any particularly wild weekend. Nonetheless, the question still stands: Do we want to turn Floatopia into the Halloween of Spring Quarter?
They say hindsight is 20/20, so it would probably do us some good to look back at what happened on Saturday with clearer vision. The beach was left littered with rafts, cups, cans, bottles, towels, flip flops and Frisbees — all things that aren’t exactly biodegradable or Mother Earth-approved. Thousands of Isla Vistans and even more out-of-towners drank obscene and probably irresponsible amounts of alcohol down on the beach.
We have to ask ourselves if these shenanigans are what we want in our town. If we decide, as a whole, that we’d like to host a Halloween-esque party on the beach, then let’s do it.
But, really, do we need this whole show? Do we need sponsored booths on the beach and tons of hooch to have a great time? We would be perfectly happy with the Floatopia of years past, where people only knew the date by word-of-mouth and we Isla Vistans were satisfied with a couple (or a shit load) of beers on the ocean.
Floatopia isn’t going away, nor should it. We’re at the only school in the country with its own beach, so we owe it to ourselves to take full advantage of it. Moreover, an event like Floatopia only helps UCSB make its mark.
However, we have to ask what kind of exposure we’re really getting. Do we want to be synonymous with falling off cliffs, puking on cops and destroying the beach we rep so hard? Or do we want UCSB to be known as a school full of students that can get down on the weekend and still dominate the classroom on Monday?