To continue preparation for the May 23 memorial, representatives from Isla Vista Tenants Union (IVTU), the I.V. Food Cooperative and Associated Students met Thursday afternoon at the Pardall Center.
The time of remembrance will begin with a memorial tree-planting at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) and conclude with the MMXIV Music in Memory concert. Attendees of Thursday’s meeting discussed details for events such as the candlelight vigil on March 23 and the memorial paddle out on May 27, in addition to new ideas for crafts using recycled materials, potlucks at the food Co-op and Zumba dancing.
A.S. Isla Vista Community Advisor Diana Collins Puente said I.V. Open Lab is planning a Blue Night art installation to feature blue and yellow LED lights throughout I.V. and campus.
“They are actually going to light up as much of Isla Vista as possible, as well as campus,” Collins Puente said. “What they are really hoping to do is have businesses adopt that.”
I.V. Food Co-op Outreach and Education Coordinator Ashley Audycki said the Co-op wanted to host a potluck at the Pardall Center, and the meeting attendees decided the dinner should take place May 25.
Third-year global studies and linguistics major and IVTU Vice President Alexandra Meallet said there should be forums for open discussion surrounding the series of memorial events.
“I know it’s still a time when we’re becoming more comfortable with speaking about it [the May 23 tragedy] and I think open group discussion is pretty healthy,” Meallet said.
A.S. Pardall Center staff member Natalie Dimas said her sorority Sigma Alpha Zeta has been discussing arranging a Zumba class if they could secure funding and coordinate with the Pardall Center staff.
“Dancing can relieve stress and it is a method of coping,” Dimas said. “I’ve been looking around and seeing if I could find a Zumba instructor that would provide the class at a reduced price, if anything.”
Counseling and Psychological Services (C.A.P.S.) Director Jeanne Stanford said it is important to remember individuals cope with tragedy in different ways and to be respectful of other’s methods if they differ from your own.
“I am aware of people who don’t want to hear anything else about it … and then there’s people that want to remember it,” Stanford said. “Whether you want to turn away from it or you want to delve into it, we shouldn’t be judging each other.”
Stanford said C.A.P.S. staff will be available for anyone who wants to talk about the events of May 23 last year, but will not push their services on anyone who does not approach them.
“We are not saying that anybody needs counseling,” Stanford said. “We didn’t do that last year, because we had just drop-in consultation, because it was an unusual event.”
Audycki said she thinks local art stores would be willing to help provide craft supplies for an artistic-themed event to commemorate the tragedy and help students heal.
“I feel like it would be really therapeutic for some people to be able to create with something that could’ve been destroyed,” Audycki said.
Puentes said one goal of the memorial events is to tailor them to the variety of ways that students can cope with last year’s tragedy and find healing through community.
“A lot of what we are trying to do is help people access a lot of different ways to be involved, whether it’s more actively or passively,” Puentes said. “We definitely want to make sure that we have mental health and counselling services available to people in a place that is in the community.”
Stanford said the memorial events will provide an opportunity to honor the students lost and restore faith in humanity.
“Naturally, as human beings, we remember what happened,” Stanford said. “What we’re doing with remembrances and anniversary events are about community and about restoring people’s faith in humanity.”