Illustration by Hector Lizarraga, Staff Illustrator
I’m just going to put it out there. University of California, Santa Barbara is a lame school.
There is basically nothing constructive to do or experience here. Aside from the hundreds of clubs and organizations that cover an astounding variety of interests and objectives, the innumerable performances and activities to attend, the endless opportunities to play a sport, comprehensive career services to help us prepare for our futures, the pervasive opportunities to engage in research, the beautiful weather and locale, and the robust sense of community, there is, again, basically nothing for us.
But then, thank God, came Deltopia 2014—and hope.
This frighteningly-excessive-block-party-turned-riotous-nightmare that has been relentlessly criticized by the community was exactly what we needed and a great thing for this institution we all feel so unconcerned about. This event brought us wide national coverage when prospective students normally overlook us for universities like Berkeley, Stanford, and UCLA. Hell, Deltopia, within moments of its start, brought us a plethora of new students who then went on to engage with our community services and help participate in promoting our image throughout the country.
Unfortunately, however, very few at this school cared enough to help promote our image that night; of the hundreds of arrests and citations, a mere 9 percent were UCSB students. Thousands of others, apparently, decided to actually be safe and realize that it’s actually quite simple to avoid dangerous situations in Isla Vista. I can only ask: Where’s the devotion? Why do we at this school care so little about our image that so few students went out of their way to garner such attention? And to top it off, Gauchos everywhere had the nerve to denounce the night’s events and demand and work toward safer events in the future.
Deltopia and the ensuing riot have provided us with the type of exposure and prestige today’s young, prospective students crave—like a Buzzfeed article from the following day. Otherwise, we’re stuck with a short, pitiful list of apparently prestigious accomplishments that include being ranked the 11th best public university in the country by U.S. News and World Report, being ranked number two in the world by Leiden University regarding impact in the field of science, having five Nobel Prize winning professors, maintaining 11 national institutes and centers, being one of the most environmentally friendly campuses in the nation, and being home to many of the best academic departments in the world. Pathetic. Prospective students and their parents are not looking for a top-tier learning environment that is both engaging and creative, and these things are not churning out Buzzfeed articles and Reddit posts.
Rather than focus on the various opportunities to learn, get involved, and develop as a person in UCSB’s engaging environment, I encourage prospective students and parents to continue basing their opinions on and promoting a totally fragmentary reputation for our university on a single regrettable event. In today’s fast-paced, read-only-the-headline kind of world, it only makes sense to judge a university this way, and I sincerely hope, for the good of this school, that everyone continues to do so.