Playboy Magazine has named UCSB the number eight party school in the nation.
Released last Friday, Playboy’s 2010 Top 10 Party Schools list dubbed UCSB the eighth wildest campus in the country. With plenty of beach access, a socially active student body and the healthy party scene in Isla Vista, UCSB made it back onto the list after several years of being excluded. UCSB was last ranked in the top 10 in 2006, when Playboy put the university at number two.
According to Playboy’s junior publicist Steve Mazeika, a thriving social presence, location, atmosphere, nightlife and even academics were taken into account for the formulation of their rankings.
“We consider a lot of different things,” Mazeika said. “Basically, we’re looking for a place that someone who wants to live the Playboy lifestyle would want to go to school. It has to be the full package.”
Additionally, Mazeika said in order to represent an accurate general opinion, Playboy’s editors base their rankings on a variety of sources, including responses from online voters, student readers and campus representatives.
This year, the University of Texas at Austin took the title as the top party school in the country.
Though many are glad to see UCSB back in action on the list, not everyone is thrilled about the “Playboy lifestyle” UCSB supposedly caters to.
Vice Chancellor Michael Young said many negative connotations come with being ranked one of the nation’s top party schools, and this ranking may drive away qualified students who feel they would be better suited at a more disciplined university.
“Despite records to the contrary, people want to continue to say we’re a party school, even with the presence of five Nobel Prize winners and outstanding academics,” Young said. “But our statistics will speak for themselves, and students need to remember that this list distracts people from what is important.”
Clayton Carlson, Associated Students external vice president of local affairs, said now is not the time for UCSB to be getting more risqué publicity.
“This list ties back to events like Floatopia — the publicity around Floatopia was not good,” Carlson said. “And it seems like bad stereotypes of our school just keep getting perpetuated. Playboy has the power to affect so many people and I think that this list may push possible candidates for the school away. ”
Jake Wiskel, a second-year business-economics major, said it’s all about finding a balance between the crazy I.V. parties and the prestigious academics that make the school what it is.
“People party pretty fucking hard at UCSB so it’s not surprising that we’re on the list,” Wiskel said. “But the partying isn’t what defines UCSB, it’s what enriches the environment.”
In addition, UCSB has consistently been featured on the Princeton Review’s Top 20 Party Schools list. While the two lists have no connection and apparently operate based on different criteria — Princeton Review ranked Penn State as top party school of 2010 — both publications agree on UCSB’s party factor.
Young said in the end, it comes down to the UCSB community to uphold the campus’s academic status.
“It’s about individual responsibility and personal choice,” Young said. “If we all operate in the way we want it to be, it will be that way.”
Similarly, Carlson added that maintaining a balance between work and play is necessary for the university’s integrity.
“I think it comes back to being a good member of the community and proving to people that we as students at UCSB can go out and party but still get our stuff done,” Carlson said.
Party School, So What?
UCSB boasts over 90% retention rate which means students aren’t partying so much they are dropping out. So what’s the problem with being listed as a party school? UCSB is ranked the 12th best public school in the nation, so the academics aren’t letting kids slide by, they have to be smart and work hard to succeed. Young is worried about pushing away potential applicants, yet the average high school GPA and test scores of incoming freshmen continue to rise. It would seem that if the Chancellor looked at the population of his school he would find that the students are very intelligent people who happen to also have a very socially outgoing personality. Perhaps the combination of high scholastic achievement and balls to the walls fun is what draws students here. So when Mr. Young looks down his nose at UCSB’s reputation, he’s really looking down his nose at us. What a wonderful way for the head of a school to view his students.