Where Campus and County Meet: UCSB Students Do More Than Drugs

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Where Campus and County Meet: UCSB Students Do More Than Drugs By Sarah Healy – Staff Writer & Diana Ray – Staff Writer Thursday May 30, 2002 Editor’s Note:This is the second in a three-part series looking at UCSB’s role in county politics. Today’s story examines UCSB student’s contribution to the local community while attending school and after graduation. They are the ones who rise with the sun to feed the homeless, spend hours reading The Berenstain Bears to local children and pick up trash along the beach. They engage in the most advanced research, push papers, assign probation, plan housing for Santa Barbara County and even ask if you want fries with that. And sometimes, they sway County elections. UCSB students are involved in all aspects of Santa Barbara County through jobs, internships and volunteering, though many times the more negative contributions – crime and partying – receive more attention. In Isla Vista, statistics such as 3,500 arrests and citations, 18 percent of County crime, overshadow statistics such as an average of 2,500 volunteers contributing through the Community Affairs Board, four student-initiated outreach programs, three active environmental clubs, and one educational program centered around organic pear trees. “Of course, our students, faculty, and staff are the true face of UCSB in our community,” Chancellor Henry Yang said. “I’m very proud of the sense of service and compassion demonstrated by so many of our members.” Through the Isla Vista Literacy programs, 131 students read to children form Isla Vista and Goleta. Thirty other students work with special needs people while 20 to 30 more work with Santa Barbara Special Olympics. “Students need to get that pat on the back in terms of what they’ve done,” said CAB Associate Director James To, who believes students often go unrecognized for their work in the community. Through fraternities and sororities, approximately 200 students work with local children through the I.V. Children’s Center through “play days” or tutoring. “You know there is a lot of negative publicity with UCSB,” I.V. Youth Projects Executive Director LuAnn Miller said. “I really think they make a difference. We could not exist without volunteers.” A Question of Voting Though students’ efforts spread out through the community and as far as Los Angeles, most of the student population is concentrated in I.V. The new proposed boundaries for the city of Goleta that passed last November did not include I.V. in part because of concerns in residential Goleta neighborhoods about the impact the student vote would make in local affairs, Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell said. “When we were proceeding toward incorporation, there was a strong feeling that we should not include I.V. or UCSB within the boundaries of our city because people in the more residential parts of Goleta would perceive the students’ vote as overwhelming the rest of the city,” she said. “Some of this stems from a negative perception of students as a voting block and seeing students as not having the same stake in the community and the major impact they can have on decisions made in the city.” The negative perceptions of the student voting block is unwarranted, Santa Barbara City Mayor Pro-Tempore Harold Fairly said. “The students who are registered and vote here impact us,” he said. “By large you have to think of the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta not as political entities like the federal or state government, but rather police, fire, roads, airport, water quality – service to the city. Where’s the politics in that?” After Graduation After graduation, a ready supply of educated graduates continue to provide labor with UCSB serving as an “incubator” for potential employees for the Santa Barbara area. “[UCSB] is on the leading edge of some high tech fields, but that has to be reconciled with the ability of people to afford housing within the area of their business,” said Michael Powers, the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments’ planning division’s deputy director. “I’m sure [industries] benefit because very well-educated students come out of the university.” Powers said that lifestyle is one of the central considerations alumni have to take into account after graduation. Even if a higher salary or a better occupation are available elsewhere, these may be sacrificed in order to stay in the area and enjoy the Santa Barbara setting. Out of about 130,000 total UCSB alumni, approximately 15,000 alumni live in the Santa Barbara area, according to a count taken around July 2001, Alumni Association Membership Coordinator Darilyn Kisch said. According to a survey of undergraduate alumni from the class of 2000, 16 percent remained in the local area including Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, Santa Maria, Lompoc and Santa Ynez. Sixty-eight percent moved elsewhere in California and 9 percent moved to other states. Staff Writer Cameron Balakhanpour also contributed to this article. :nav Source: http://www.ucsbdailynexus.com/news/2002/3286.html

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