Friendship Manor Has Unique Population in Isla Vista


Emma Daugherty
Staff Writer

In a community that is known for its extremely high population of college students, nothing could seem more out of place than a retirement home. Surprisingly, the sorority girls of Pi Beta Phi and the frat brothers in Alpha Epsilon Pi have just that in their backyard.

Friendship Manor is located at 6647 El Colegio Road and provides “Senior Living, Senior Housing and Apartments in Santa Barbara, California.”

In 1973 there was a change in ownership that changed the building from being a privately owned college dorm to a non-profit charity-sponsored retirement home. The original mission of the Manor was to provide affordable housing to seniors, which they can still proudly attest to today.

The location allows for an array of various activities for the residents, including trips to Camino Real Marketplace, Lazy Acres, and UCSB’s campus.

Cynthia Nigra, a UCSB alumna, now works at the Manor’s front desk and is very satisfied with Friendship Manor’s accessibility to community activities.

“The location provides many opportunities. Residents can use the university’s library and the pool,” Nigra said. “The community of Isla Vista is very nice with so many places to eat and grocery shop.”

But not all UCSB students are aware of this welcoming establishment.

“I have never heard of Friendship Manor,” second-year Taylor Singer said. “Isla Vista is a place for a bunch of rowdy college kids. It seems counter intuitive to place senior citizens in this type of community.”

While some students may empathize with Singer’s viewpoint, living near senior citizens provides many opportunities.

Friendship Manor Marketing Director Patricia Fabing explained how the Manor is always trying to build bridges between seniors and students because both groups have so much to offer to one another.

“We have war heroes, artists, and one man writing a novel,” Fabing said regarding the diversity of the residents.

“In return, [the residents] love younger people. Students come with high energy and the ability to listen.”

There are many ways for students to get involved, including working in the Manor’s dining room or corner store or attending one of their many social events. The Manor is also very willing to accommodate any student suggestions for events and activities.

“Students keep us lively,” Nigra said. “When they help in the lunch lines or play Bingo on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is good for us old folks.”

To get involved contact Patricia Fabing at (805) 968-0771 or email her at

Photos By: Emma Daughtery