Fourth-year psychological & brain sciences major and 2023-24 External Vice President for Local Affairs Osaze Osayande is primarily focusing her office on investing in community resources for the upcoming academic year, as well as starting long-term initiatives she’s set since her campaign.
“During my campaign, the biggest thing I was running on was reimagining our community safety to be less punitive and investing in our community resources,” Osayande said. “So our office, in terms of the school year as it starts, is focusing on making sure that resources on campus and in Isla Vista are more well known and accessible.”
The External Vice President for Local Affairs (EVPLA) acts as a student representative to Isla Vista governmental agencies and the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, and an intermediary between the county and Isla Vista community.
The first upcoming event for the Office of the EVPLA is a “Know Your Resources” fair on Oct. 2 to spread awareness on campus and community resources for new and returning UCSB students through tabling.
“It’s geared toward allowing new students and returning Gauchos to become more acquainted with the resources on campus that serve them,” Osayande said.
The office also plans to create a “Know Your Resources” digital handbook for students to access and learn of said resources in one centralized location. The handbook will be available to access via QR code that will be included as part of the “welcome” items incoming UCSB students receive.
“The QR code will be in a little flier that’s going in all of the welcome bags for new student convocations and will be going to all the new students, which I’m excited about,” Osayande said. “It gives the opportunity to distribute that and for new students to have that information.”
Osayande is also planning a CalFresh enrollment workshop during the Week of Welcome in fall in collaboration with UCSB Thrive — a campus organization that focuses on campus food security and basic needs.
“We’re doing a collaboration with them because me and my security coordinator really want to emphasize CalFresh and the resource that it is and ensure that students who are eligible are aware of it and take the opportunity to sign up for it as soon as possible,” she said.
Continuing to work alongside community initiatives, the office will sponsor a mobile STI unit put on by Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics — a chain of medical clinics in Santa Barbara focused on affordable healthcare and substance abuse treatment. These units will provide free STI testing for anyone in the community and will be set up at the Isla Vista Community Center.
“The dates and times are still to be determined, but I did want to advertise that because that’s something exciting that’s in the works,” Osayande said. “We also host a UCSHIP and healthcare workshop to break that down for new students as well.”
The office also has year-long projects to tackle, one of which is solidifying UCIV, a public volunteer program in Isla Vista. To start, Osayande said the office is working to expand the shifts schedule for volunteers, changing the base for UCIV volunteers based on community needs at that moment and ensuring that the UC Santa Barbara’s presence is more prevalent in Isla Vista.
“My predecessor Hailey [Stankiewicz] got it up and running again post-COVID, which is really exciting, so we’re now solidifying it as a presence on campus and ensuring that students are aware of it,” she said.
Osayande and her office are also looking to spearhead more lighthearted events in Isla Vista to advertise the EVPLA office while bringing education and entertainment to the community. One particular event Osayande mentioned was a back-to-school night in collaboration with the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District (IVRPD).
“It’s going to be in Little Acorn Park, just a really fun ‘welcome back to the community’ event,” she said. “There’s going to be live music, food and it will be a fun way to bring the community together in an engaging way and advertise our office and the IVRPD.”
To build community relationships and create a strong network, the office has met with various Isla Vista and campus organizations.
“Building those relationships will be really helpful and will give my office a good grounding to have that accessibility and relationship with these organizations,” Osayande said.
Looking forward, the office will have a long-term mission toward restorative justice in Isla Vista, with upcoming initiatives like a Halloween town hall and keeping communications with the UCSB Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies in terms of policing in the community.
“We want [law enforcement] to definitely be centered around restorative justice and have that as a focal point in conversation,” she said.
Overall, Osayande said she’s excited to see what her office can accomplish in this coming academic year.
“Get excited for a fun year,” she said. “I’m excited to see what our office can do in terms of assisting the student population in any way we can. I’m excited to see all these events come to fruition and see the impact that it can have on the student body.”
A version of this article appeared on p. 6 of the August 24, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.