Let Us Prove Floatopia 2 Can Be Done Right
by Rebecca Bachman


On April 22, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young sent an e-mail to the entire student body urging, rather guilting, us into boycotting Floatopia 2. He effectively asked us to “do the right thing” and not participate. Upon reading this e-mail, I was outraged and disgusted. Young needs to understand Floatopia and its history from a student’s point of view; we are not barbaric, irresponsible, hypocritical children. We are students who love to have fun, make mistakes, and learn quickly. We need a chance, and have not been given one, to prove that we can enjoy a magical holiday like Floatopia without destroying the planet and ourselves.

Never before in Floatopia history has the aftermath and corresponding response been so negative. This year was also the largest turn out Floatopia has ever seen, and consequently the most environmentally damaging. We get it. We understand. This year’s first Floatopia was really detrimental to the environment. I think it is correct to assume that most Isla Vistans consider themselves to be environmentally conscious, and we regret the effect we had. But we have not been given a chance to improve! We haven’t done it again yet! A closer look at what actually happened might give people like Young, who did not even attend, a better understanding of the real problem at hand.
First, April 4 was a beautiful day. It was ridiculously lucky that it was sunny and warm. Last year the first Floatopia fell on a cold and foggy day when even the drunkest celebrators’ dedication was challenged. That’s why the environmental damage was so relatively minuscule last year; nobody went!
Second, since this was the biggest Floatopia in the history of Isla Vista, people were swept up in the chaos unexpectedly and were largely unprepared. Nobody foresaw that thousands of bikini-clad co-eds would be getting low to Luda and chugging Keystones so freely, and when it was realized that this was to be the norm on the beach, swarms quickly succumbed and joined in. It’s not as if we all headed to the beach planning on partying and not picking up after ourselves. It’s just that when we actually got there, everybody was so collectively excited that our level of preparedness was insufficient. By the time everyone read the negative responses, they probably couldn’t even clearly remember having left the beach. When partiers were finally good and drunk and ready to leave, they had honestly forgotten the things they had brought, and because of the complete lack of having ever been in a situation quite like this before, cleaning up didn’t warrant a passing thought. But it is impossible and utterly rude to think that, in response to the post-Floatopia criticism, students would continue to abandon the mess apathetically.
Third, a disproportionate number of visitors come the first weekend of every quarter because the parties are abundant regardless of whether they occur on the beach. This is especially true of spring quarter because many of our peers who do not attend UCs are still on spring break with nothing to do but road trip up to I.V. for the crazy, inevitable parties. Ecological devastation from Floatopia 1 aside, to equal the number of attendees at Floatopia 2 would be impossible.
My fourth and final argument is this: Floatpoia is fun! In his e-mail, Young quoted a Floatopia promoter who allegedly “boasted that UCSB is the, only campus in the nation with its own beach.” He followed that quotation by saying we do not take responsibility for our privileged position and by implying that as irresponsible, selfish kids, we do not deserve the ability to take advantage of our beautiful beach. It’s true; we are extraordinarily lucky to have a long, striking beach as our back yard, but it’s nothing if we don’t use it. And when college students use something, they really get creative. Floatopia is an establishment that I truly appreciate; it astounds me. It’s so fun. Nowhere else in the nation can you walk home from class on the beach, or watch the sunrise over the ocean every morning. And you certainly cannot enjoy a good old-fashioned day of day drinking in the middle of the ocean unless you’re in the one and only Isla Vista. A UCSB without Floatopia is a UCSB without its fantastic, creative way of having fun and celebrating life! Floatopia, in a way, embodies the exceptional character of our student body.
In his e-mail, Young argued that Floatopia 2 doesn’t have to be inevitable; that we can stop it. But what he doesn’t realize is that the damage done by Floatopia doesn’t have to be inevitable. Floatopia 2, if done with the responsibility and dedication that we are capable of, will not only be ridiculously fun, but it won’t even inflict damage! I am confident that the very real threat of elimination of the exquisite event will encourage genuine efforts of students to come prepared and clean up after themselves. We are smart and responsible, and we reserve the right to have fun without hurting anybody.

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