Let’s talk about Isla Vista. Let’s talk about UC Santa Barbara. Let’s point some fingers at all the horrible things we do. How we destroy our beaches with events like Floatopia. How we destroy our streets with Halloween. How we cost the city boundless amounts of money and are a general drain on society. Isla Vista is Santa Barbara County’s unwanted stepchild, the bastard offspring SB just couldn’t get rid of. The city of Santa Barbara doesn’t want Isla Vista, Goleta doesn’t want Isla Vista – nobody wants us. So what do we do? Sure enough, we act out like any child denied the attention it wants. We fuck shit up. And it turns out we’re damn good at it. And really, if anyone were going to get rid of us, it would’ve happened ages ago when we burned down the Bank of America.
It’s time UCSB and the inhabitants of Isla Vista were appreciated and recognized for the wealth and contributions they bring this county. The university itself provides countless jobs, supporting several communities around Goleta and Santa Barbara. And we students, bringing in our daddies’ credit cards, are the sole reason several dozen establishments in Santa Barbara can exist at the stature they do. Is there a soul in this county that thinks the bars and clubs downtown would be doing half as well as they do were it not for students and our “horrible drinking habits”? Is there anyone who can deny the county’s economy is helped by the students who work at your department stores, wait your tables, stock your shelves, cook your food and spend their paychecks in your local shops? We provide both the labor and spending that allows the high and mighty of Santa Barbara to sit back as we serve their gourmet meals that few of us can afford. Living two or three or four to a room, we students provide a constantly replenished, willing working class for the county that’s extremely attractive to boot.
So how about a little relaxation when we throw a fucking party? Yeah, Floatopia trashed our beaches and Halloween trashed our streets. But how many beach cleanups are organized by non-university entities? I’m with Excursion Club and know that we’re not alone in having hosted several beach cleanups over the years. Isla Vista Surfrider, A.S., frats and sororities, EAP; the list goes on.
So when we make a mess on the spot you surf at, like a weekend tourist coming out in the safety of daylight to check out the ghetto, and when we make too much noise at night in what used to be your quiet beach town, quit bitching and whining and see what we do bring to this place. Or better yet, take a positive approach and create an alternative. Give us something we want to do more, give us something we can be proud of, because until that happens we’ll be proud of our own creations. As anyone who’s seen Floatopia or Halloween can’t help but admit, Isla Vistans are damn good at making a big fucking party from nothing. We will find ourselves something to do, some way to have fun, whether the community acknowledges us or not.