The Isla Vista Community Services District Board of Directors appointed UC Santa Barbara student Ela Schulz to fill the board’s vacancy at a Feb. 8 special meeting.

Ela Schulz was appointed to fill the board’s vacancy during the IVCSD Feb. 8 special meeting. Courtesy Ela Schulz.

Ethan Bertrand stepped down as Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) director to serve on the Goleta Union School District Board in December 2022. Schulz will serve out the remainder of Bertrand’s four-year term, which is set to expire December 2024.

As the newest appointed member, second-year political science and history double major Schulz said she hopes to represent the student and Greek life communities by increasing each group’s visibility and championing the respective group’s issues.

She underlined her number one priority in office as improving public safety for residents, noting the lighting walks and I.V. Safety Stations as important existing programs that she hopes to see expanded.

“I love all the work that we have already done for the lighting walks, but it does need to be more accessible on less popular streets,” she said. “Any way that we can improve public safety for students in the community and families in the community is a really big one for me.”

Schulz detailed her experience as a member of the I.V. community and her recent interest in getting more involved.

“I didn’t really get involved until early this year, but I quickly found that the town itself is so unique and beautiful and sweet, and I really do love it, and I do want to work to represent students and families within this community because I care so much about the community,” she said. 

Schulz lived in Tropicana Gardens Residence Hall last academic year, her first exposure to the college environment of I.V. — an area of under one square mile. She reflected on her freshman year as “a little bit of a moment,” and took her first year as a student adjusting to campus life.

Since then, Schulz joined UCSB Model United Nations, pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta and UCSB Campus Democrats. She worked as a campaign intern for Congressman Salud Carbajal during the November 2022 midterm elections, canvassing, door knocking and registering voters.

She first got to know about IVCSD and its functions through her experience on the campaign.  

“I really, really love I.V. and I love what IVCSD does. I think they make actual tangible change in the community, and I really love that, and I love how I want to help people within our community,” Schulz said. “It is such a wonderful little place and I really do want to make it a better place.”

While Schulz did not have the opportunity to attend IVCSD meetings live, she watched recorded board meetings in preparation for the role. To further prepare herself for her duties as a local official, she plans to conduct personal research and rely on her fellow board members for support.

“I’m a huge fan of research. If there’s something I don’t know, I will immediately go look it up. I love learning,” Schulz said. “So if I don’t know something, and I do want to and I think it’s important to learn or expand on it, I will go look it up. I will research it. I will ask my coworkers and my friends to give me a proper solution or answer to my question.”

“I really do want to make the community a better place, not in any way saying that it’s not already an amazing place,” she continued. “But if I can make it better for even one person, make it happier, healthier, safer for one person by the time that I am done with my term, then I will feel successful. I will feel that I have done something right in my work.”

Schulz applied for the seat in competition with five other candidates in consideration: Henry Sarria, Kellen Beckett, Christina Lydick, Scott Ball and Brian Naraghi. Naraghi and Beckett are both UCSB students.

At the Feb. 8 special meeting, former IVCSD director Bertrand offered his personal criteria for consideration to the current board members. He advised that the ideal candidate would provide a diverse perspective, maintain a commitment to social justice, be willing to connect IVCSD with underserved organizations and new communities and have a strong grasp on local issues.

“It’s really important that we do have diverse perspectives at this table and as director Brandt has been asking, it’s really important that we have someone who is committed to advocating for equity, diversity, inclusion and especially justice,” Bertrand said. “Someone who you feel really has a handle on the issues that matter for the future of Isla Vista.”

Schulz expressed her gratitude and excitement for the appointment, especially considering her relatively young age.

“Quite frankly, I’m a little shocked. Like realistically I am very young, I am 20. But I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be involved with something like this. There’s so much opportunity to make change.”

A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the Feb. 16, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Nisha Malley
Nisha Malley (she/her/hers) is the County News Editor for the 2022-23 school year. Previously, Malley was an Assistant News Editor for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at