The UC Santa Barbara Office of the External Vice President for Local Affairs hosted its first-ever Back to School Night on Oct. 6 at Little Acorn Park.
The Office of the External Vice President for Local Affairs (EVPLA) partnered with the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District to welcome in the new academic year with a community-centered celebration.
From 5-8 p.m., several local food trucks and jewelry and clothing vendors were stationed around the park at the event. I.V. bands Dead Set and Dawn Patrol performed throughout the night as students huddled around a main stage.
Back to School Night was the second EVPLA event of the school year following the office’s Know Your Resources Fair on Oct. 2.
EVPLA and fourth-year psychological & brain sciences major Osaze Osayande hopes this will become an annual EVPLA tradition.
“The aim when I was thinking this up was to have a really positive, fun, welcoming and warm environment to welcome students and community members back,” Osayande said. “Isla Vista is such a beautiful community, and I think this event really highlights it.”
Fashion was a major component of the event, as fashion booths were flocked by community members trying to get deals on clothing and jewelry.
Ayslin Nungaray, a Santa Barbara City College first-year biology major, hosted a fashion booth she ran with her mother and sisters at the event.
“I love the people here. Everyone here is so positive I love the vibe,” Nungaray said.
One jewelry vendor, fourth-year economics major Lolo Stevens, sold affordable 24-karat gold-plated and sterling silver basics and statement jewelry for her business Layered by Lolo.
“It’s an amazing event. Osaze has put so much work into it. It’s super cool to see the energy, everyone dancing and all these businesses being supported by it,” Stevens said.
A table hosted by UCSB Fashion Club gave away free glitter tattoos along with stickers and patches. Fashion Club’s Assistant Event Director and third-year communication major Victoria Doretto said the club “wants to create a community that really inspires people and [gives] a space to talk about fashion and art and all things related.”
There were also various Isla Vista-based businesses at the event. Elubia’s Kitchen, a food truck selling gluten-free Latin American cuisine, is co-owned by Goleta-native and UCSB alumn Ruben Orozco.
“The most important thing is to get the new students and the current students together and [that] we introduce our food to them so they can try something different,” Orozco said.
Students also sat on blankets or stood up to watch the live performances of Dead Set and Dawn Patrol.
“I’ve never heard of this band before, but I’m a big fan of the Grateful Dead, so I figured I’d come down and check it out,” Rowan Steger, a third-year chemical engineering major, said during the Dead Set performance. “Everyone’s dancing. It’s a good time. We’re all enjoying ourselves out here.”
“In terms of EVPLA, definitely look out,” Osayande said. “We’ve been working a lot over the summer, and we have some really engaging and powerful events for the rest of the school year.”
A version of this article appeared on p. __ of the Oct. 12, 2023 print edition of the Daily Nexus.