Okay, let me first start off by saying Isla Vista may be one of the coolest places geographically to live, ever. But we have something that we need to address: the foundation of Isla Vista, the University of Santa Barbara, may be losing its reputation as a prestigious university. Instead, in four to five years, your desired employer may be looking over your resume, and he or she might think, “Oh UCSB, that party school in California.” I don’t know about you but I came here for an education. Of course I want to have fun while I am here, but the image of IV as the troubled child of Santa Barbara is ruining UCSB’s reputation as the prestigious research university, a reputation that we have come to under-appreciate.

I am a student who came to this university on my own volition. Not to mention on my own dollar. I, you, we, got into one of the best university systems in the nation: the University of California — a prestigious University that was and hopefully will stay, a leading landmark for education around the world.

The UC system has (in case you haven’t paid attention in your ginormous lecture hall classes), one of the finest study abroad programs in the nation. You can travel practically any-where and make the classes fit your major. Most people in our country place traveling abroad somewhere on their bucket list, next to attending a world cup or living by the beach. We can ac-complish it just by going to school. All you have to do is make your way into a second story of-fice on campus and meet with an advisor and you can travel abroad. Our generation has it better than any other generation before us.

But alas with all our opportunities, we perpetuate a drink till you can’t remember, hump like you have never humped before attitude here on campus. I get it, we are all beautiful and smart, and all doors should be open to us. But what have we done to earn it? Got slightly better grades than our peers in high school? There are many more important people doing much more important things around the world and, by upholding this attitude, we are showing that we truly deserve the name, “the entitled generation.”

I propose a different idea for our generation. Philosophers like Neil Howe and William Strauss write that our generation will be the entitled generation, but they also argue that due to increasing technologies and the resulting interconnectedness of our global economy we will be-come a more civic minded generation. We will begin to understand our local actions and their global implications. “Think global act local,” — sound familiar? We are the generation that was nicknamed generation Y until they could come up with a better name for us. I think they were onto something when they nicknamed us that, but we need to take this opportunity to prove that we are not just generation “Y,” but generation “Why.”
When we look at our communities, we have a moral obligation to ask ourselves “why?” Why can’t we have more electric cars? Why don’t more healthy people choose to ride bikes in-stead of drive cars? Why can’t we come up with a framework for sustainable local organic agri-culture? Why are people committing crimes and violence against one-another?

When we ask ourselves why, we do what all great scientists and researchers have done before us: we question the existing framework, we critique, we analyze, we troubleshoot and we find alternatives. Asking “why?” is something we did when we were young, but at some point our parents stopped giving us answers or they just answered, “because thats just the way it is.”

I refuse to believe issues around the globe, like violence and poverty, exist because “that’s just the way it is.” I also refuse to believe that our beautiful community of Isla Vista and consequently UC Santa Barbara need to fall victim to taking the label of a party school because “that’s just the way it is.” We need to take a more critical look at our lives and ask ourselves what it is that we want to make our university and our world into.

It is time to re-appreciate our own lives, our own community, and our own school. Re-take pride in being Gaucho Strong. Not because this is just a fun place to be with really cool people — we are more than that. We are smart. We are what makes up a major research university. And it is time to act like it. Ask why your friends want to drink on a Tuesday night during midterms. Ask your professors why we learn what we do. Questioning yourselves, your friends and your university will, at the very least, spark some creativity within you. Creativity leads to knowledge, and knowledge can create change. Questioning makes us scientists, makes us re-searchers and makes us what UCSB is all about.

Riley Brann is currently asking why we keep spending 15$ for Nacho’s at Freebird’s. No answers yet.

Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.