It’s only natural for new freshmen to require a little bit of time to get
acclimated to the unique social and geographical climate that is
Isla Vista. Between the dangerous bike paths and
the debaucherous block parties, there is a lot to
get used to when you first move to I.V. This problem is only
exacerbated if you are one of the many people just looking to spend
a few weeks, days, or hours in our tiny little town. If you are
lucky enough to get the opportunity to live in—or even visit—the
capital of collegiate conviviality known as I.V.,
it might help to know just a little bit about how things operate
around here. In fact, whether you’re here to get a four- (or five-)
year college education, or you’re just checking out the town for a
day or two, it can’t hurt to keep in mind the basic codes of
conduct for two of the most important and unique situations you
will encounter during your time here.

First of all—and perhaps most importantly for those people
looking to avoid serious injuries during their time here—pay
attention to the bike paths. These infamous aisles are the arteries
of the UCSB campus, and they are chock full of student cyclists
rushing to and from class with little to no time to worry about
whether or not they hit poor unsuspecting bystanders on the way. I
don’t want to make all of us students out to be heartless or
anything, I just want to make it clear that the campus is full of
signs warning pedestrians to be careful around the bike paths, and
students rushing to make it to class on time are going to rely on
those signs as a guarantee that they can go as fast as they can
possibly pedal without worrying about passing pedestrians. So
basically, when it comes to the bike paths, your best bet is to
keep your eyes open and keep in mind what you learned in
kindergarten—look both ways before you try to cross. And
. Running helps quite a bit too.

Isla%20Vista%20Halloween.jpgOnce you’ve mastered the art of crossing
the bike paths without incurring any bodily harm, it’s time to move
on to the far more delicate—but much more delightful—art of
proper partying. Here’s the deal: When we’re not
rushing to class, we Isla Vistans are generally a pretty genial
bunch. Most of us will open our homes and our handles with very
little hesitation, although there are some basic things you can do
to increase your chances of overcoming what little hesitation there
may be when you show up at the door of the nearest D.P. party.
First of all, understand that you are a guest in someone else’s
home—this is especially important if you choose to come to one of
my parties. Try not to break anything, puke
if you must puke at all, don’t start any fights,
and just generally practice what your momma taught you: Do unto
others as you would have them do unto you. With that said, it also
helps if you try not to get your host in any sort of legal trouble,
so don’t go wandering around with a beer if you’re underage and,
better yet, don’t drink at all unless you know the person providing
the alcohol or have a fairly good idea that they don’t mind you
consuming their Coors Light. Basically, my point is this: When it
comes to partying in I.V., make sure you keep in mind that anyone
brave enough to open their home to dozens of drunk
of debauchery is risking property damage,
possible problems with the police, and probable puke on their
carpets just to provide a good time for their guests, so the least
you can do is treat them and their home with respect.

So there you have it—my suggestions for successfully mastering
two of I.V.’s most important institutions. Whether you’re
attempting to cross the bike paths without incurring any injuries
or trying to infiltrate the nearest party without incurring the
wrath of your host, the rules are basically the same. Be
, be respectful, and be sure
not to try and cross the bike paths in front of me
I’m running late. But don’t worry, I’m only late for class on the
mornings between Monday and Friday.

as we’re on the topic of respecting the members of our lovely
little town, it’s worth noting that our community is made up of
many different people and not just the party-loving pupils of UCSB
mentioned above. Many of these people live off of low wages—or
without steady employment at all—and a lot of them spend their days
dealing with a range of important issues, from unfair evictions to
skyrocketing health care costs, that go above and beyond the
dilemma of deciding who gets the last can of Coors.

With that in mind, perhaps one way we can show our respect for
those often-overlooked members of our community is by coming
together to discuss—and maybe even find ways to deal with—the
aforementioned issues. At 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 22,
California OneCareNow, a group that tries to
educate Californians about health-care issues, is holding an event
at Friendship Manor to help stimulate discussion
about health care and, specifically, the idea of universal health
insurance. The event will include a screening of the group’s
One Care Now DVD, a discussion, and refreshments. It will
conclude with a march to People’s Park and a
candlelight vigil for the 2,000 uninsured Californians who die each
year because of their lack of health insurance.

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