What do you love most about Isla Vista?

“The fact that I can watch the sun set on the ocean from my backyard.” -Jennifer Shao

“The thing I love most about Isla Vista is that everyone here is as scared shitless about the future as I am. Behind the rigorous school work and infamous party scenes are young people just trying to be successful in a world that seems much bigger than they ever imagined.” -Kiyah Nelson

“I immediately felt at home in I.V. It’s 1.8 square miles of ratchets, the most beautiful sunsets, some of the greatest people and pizza.” -Ava Talehakimi

“I love I.V. because it’s where I found myself.” -Courtney Hadnett

“I love Isla Vista because, when the weather’s nice and I’ve got beer on ice, my friends are by my side and I don’t even have to think twice.” -Kalyn Nelson

“I love I.V. because the fun and laid-back community vibe makes everyone feel at home.” -Briette Shea

“Because, for all intents and purposes, it was a world populated solely by college students. It was the Island of Misfit Toys and the Lord of the Flies. It was everything a 20-something could possibly need in one square mile. It was gorgeous weather and live music and parties, day and night. It was shabby and dirty and broken in the most perfect ways. It was friends and boys and laughter and tears. It was where I grew up. Go Gauchos!” -Tammy Nelson, class of 1992 via Facebook

“I love skateboarding on my Thursdays off on the smoothly paved streets of I.V. to grab a latte, a bagel sandwich from the Bagel Café and go do some reading on the porch swing at Window to the Sea park.” -Tasha Tandler

“I love the food. It’s hella tight.” – Alex Mellin

“I really like eating lunch on Pardall, because I always see my friends biking back and forth from class and they stop and chat, and it makes it seem like a really small, close community. I also love I.V. Theater movies!” – James Harrington

“The thing that [comes] to mind is El Sitio. It makes me feel like I’m at home because, every time I walk in, they’re playing great music that’s in Spanish and I like to chill there with my friends. It is kind of an escape.” -Sam

“I love I.V. because it’s not just a city — it’s like a village where everyone knows everyone. Community is essential to our survival and, from it, we grow individually. Isla Vista sparkles and overflows with love.” -@photohope via Instagram

“I like the vibe/aura of it. It’s positive and lighthearted, but also thoughtful and reflective. Also, the people know how to live life but also know when to buckle down and study/give back to their community.” -Beth

“I love Isla Vista for the opportunities it gives for people to be themselves and be who they are! The people and events that happen here allow anyone to express their true selves and be who they want!” -Abbie

“I mean, I think it begins with I.V. being a place where independence really takes place. For the first time, there really is nobody on top of you; no R.A.s and no parents. You’re free to make whatever decision you like and so is the guy next door. Yet nobody really likes to be alone. So I.V. reflects a unit of individuals who work together as one without really even knowing it. It is a way of living in the real world, yet still having so many others around you in the exact same situation. The real world can be scary and lonely, but I.V. has a sense of community for independent college kids unlike any other place in the world. The fact that it’s right by the beach and that all your friends are a couple blocks away are also something you’ll never find around. But personally, I think the sense of community is most reflected by how you can see people constantly talking shit about CC kids and stuff like that on Yik Yak, and yet when anything bad happens, the way I.V. comes together against it is just amazing. You can write about how people like immediately text their friends as soon as they hear about a threat, and how, after the shooting, the community came together to mourn their deaths in ways you just wouldn’t see anywhere else.” -Vatche Agob

“I love that it’s so close to the beach and that everybody connects as a community because we are all close in age, so we all know the struggles one another is going through. Well, mostly everybody. And it’s just like a huge sleepover.” -Max Ahuelican

“From being out-of-state, I love how, in I.V., I’ve been able to come here and find a solid friend group and meet a lot of people who are down to be homies. A lot of times you’ll be walking through I.V. and see one of your friends in the street and they say hi. You don’t get that in a lot of other places, so that’s what I love about I.V.” -Shannon Carroll

“What I love most about Isla Vista is the transparency. We are a community that loves, hurts and grows without facades or walls. Our greatest tragedy was an open show for the world to see, yet at the same time, our strength to combat the hate was also showcased. Isla Vista has given me my highest highs and my lowest lows because of how intense and passionate people here are. The people that flock here and stay for more than just the weekend are unique, creative and brilliant on many different platforms. You feel the love as you walk our streets and hear friends laughing from balconies, expressing their love through shared memories. I love Isla Vista for being Isla Vista: unashamed, uncensored, unforgettable.” -Jasmine San Nicolas

“I love Isla Vista because it’s a family. Just like with blood family, there are different generations — traditions continuously being passed down and relatives you may not know, but once you find out they’re a part of your family, you’re instantly connected. There’s constant love for one another. That’s I.V.” -@mariahleyba via Instagram

“I love that it’s unique; it’s not like any other town I’ve ever been to.” -Grayson Hernandez

“Isla Vista was the first and, as I realized later, the only time I was surrounded by people as motivated as I was about their future and the learning process. These same people were equally as dedicated to enjoying an active social life. I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had while living in I.V. To this day, I consider the day I moved away from I.V. as one of the saddest days of my life, as I realized a unique chapter of my life was coming to an end.” -Tim Kerr, class of 1978

The quotes featured in this week’s Opinion section were gathered by writers for Nexustentialism, as well as through online submissions via Facebook and Instagram. The quotes serve to celebrate UCSB’s Come Together: Isla Vista Remembrance in memorial of the tragedy that occurred last May.