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Monday, November 19 , 2018, 4:11 am | Fair 48º


Kids Speaking Up: The Floatopian Disaster

Residents beware as a horde of college students descends on Del Playa this weekend

On the weekend of April 4-5, the Del Playa beach at UCSB was bombarded with college students from — well, everywhere. Floatopia 1 was an incredible party for its attendees and, in all honesty, a big pain in the neck for everyone else.

The amount of trash left in its wake was nearly enough to fill a local dump, not to mention ruin the beach for anyone who should want to enjoy it. Floatopia II is scheduled for Saturday when, once again, there will be a mass collection of drunken college students on plastic floats.

In an attempt to save our beaches and our students from harm, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday to discuss the possibility of banning alcohol from the 6500 to 6800 blocks of Del Playa Drive for the next several months.

Though many students are opposed to Santa Barbara’s mini prohibition, I agree with advocates for the ban. Alcohol, college students, plastic rafts and the deep blue sea have never been the best combination. The risk of drowning when intoxicated is extremely high, as is the risk of wandering off one of Isla Vista’s many bluffs.

To a certain extent, the risks can be decreased by the presence of police officers and volunteers, but with the sheer numbers of people in attendance, it’s hard to keep everyone safe. However, with the county picking up the tab for the Floatopia safety effort, that’s about $25,000 that could be going elsewhere.

As a resident of Goleta, I am alarmed by the possibility of a repeat of events. With more than 12,000 people having RSVP’d on Facebook, this Goleta may not be safe this weekend. Besides UCSB students, people from up and down California will flock to our beaches for the event. Even students from multiple local high schools were found to be among the crowd of the Floatopia 1 party. It is not a safe environment for anyone.

All in all, Floatopia II is a bad idea. Being a high school student, I understand the feeling of the school year being nearly over and wanting to throw an all-out party. All the same, when people’s right to safety is compromised, it’s time to draw the line.

This weekend, all residents should be wary and alert. Floatopia is bad for our beaches, our students and our residents. On Saturday, stay safe and batten down the hatches. We’re in for a bumpy ride.

— Olivia Campbell is a Dos Pueblos High freshman and contributor to Kids Speaking Up, a local group working to educate youth on social, national and political issues and inspire them to write.

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