Photo by Ivy Kuo, Staff Photographer
The laid-back, fun atmosphere of University of California, Santa Barbara and Isla Vista has become a key facet of our party-school image, for both good and bad. Living it up in Isla Vista can at times be risky; luckily, there is a student group dedicated to ensuring that we stay safe while partying and enjoying all that Isla Vista has to offer.
Life of the Party, a student-based organization that promotes safe partying and drinking habits, is not an alcohol and drug abstention program.
“We’re not going out and telling people what they should and shouldn’t do,” said Life of the Party intern Kaylee Rabjon, a fourth-year psychology major. ”We’re about prevention, safety, and outreach. We want to help students understand the best choices they can make.”
The majority of students at UCSB have seen the Just Call 911 yellow key tags at events and on campus. Part of UCSB Life of the Party’s outreach is a Just Call 911 campaign, urging students to “just call 911” if they suspect someone of having alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose. The Just Call 911 yellow key tags even give students discounts and free food at a handful of local businesses, such as Woodstock’s and Giovanni’s.
This past year the team of Life of the Party interns has expanded. A group of eight devoted interns does marketing and outreach for a variety of campaigns to increase awareness and safety at UCSB. The group began as an attempt to address alcohol and drug-related incidents for students by students.
“The idea was that we had education and outreach being done at a professional level from out counselors, educators, and paraprofessionals, but we did not have a ‘student voice,’” said Lacey Johnson, a counselor in the Alcohol & Drug Program.
The student group is steadily increasing in popularity and impact across campus.
“Our events are growing,” said fourth-year communication major and Life of the Party intern Jason Vego. “We have bigger, more mainstream events that are filling up faster.” Recently, Life of the Party put on a dodgeball tournament that had between 150 and 200 students in attendance.
“We do educational tabling and encourage students to get in contact with professional staff and advertise what we have going on here [at UCSB], whether it’s tobacco cessation or mediation,” said intern Nikole Burg, fourth-year communication and sociology double major. “A lot of what we do is putting a student face on the Alcohol and Drug Program and make it more approachable.” Burg is aware that many students are wary of the services offered on campus, and encourages students to talk to peer interns.
In light of spring’s popular celebration Deltopia, Life of the Party has been partnering with a few other student organizations such as Health and Wellness to focus on its STRIVE campaign: Students Taking Responsibility in Isla Vista Everyday.
“We’ve been using that campaign to encourage safety surrounding all aspects of Deltopia, from safety at the cliffs to responsibility of your own actions, to caution with friends,” said Burg. In contrast to their involvement with Halloween, Life of the Party has taken a bit of a back seat in regard to Deltopia. Burg emphasizes the University’s implementation of its own regulations, and encourages students to get involved with the Adopt-A-Block cleanup.
Life of the Party has also put together a festival safety campaign. As many UCSB students will be attending music festivals in the near future, Life of the Party’s campaign emphasizes harm reduction. Different topics related to festival safety include planning, popular drugs at festivals, and post-festival comedowns.
Peer intern Camille Marti, fourth-year communication and psychology double major, encourages students to attend volunteer meetings, which are held every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. on the second floor of Embarcadero. All levels of experience are encouraged.
For more information about Life of the Party and its campaigns, please visit http://lifeoftheparty.sa.ucsb.edu/.