Many transfer students arrive at UCSB and are overwhelmed by the high amounts of alcohol that are consumed in Isla Vista. For some students, it stays a shock but for many students, it can easily become a domineering activity for those who partake.

We (a Winter 2011 ED 118 work group) started our research by brainstorming issues, which we as transfer students as well as fellow transfer students, have experience in the area of drinking and partying. We considered the negative effects that we have experienced or seen friends experience from excessive drinking such as lower grades, health consequences, and social problems.


The significance of excessive drinking is evident just from stepping foot into the Isla Vista community on a weekend night. UCSB has grown a reputation for large amounts of drinking on weekends and during events such as Halloween and Floatopia.

Drinking in general is not the issue. The significant concern is when it is done excessively. This act is often refereed to as binge drinking. Excessive drinking can occur through activities that most college students do not consider to be seriously harmful such as drinking games, keg stands, "pre-gaming" with shots before going to a party (where they continue to drink).

(From )
  • Drinking is deeply ingrained in campus culture at many universities across the Nation.

  • Alcohol Abuse and Dependence: 31 percent of college students met criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and 6 percent for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence in the past 12 months, according to questionnaire-based self-reports about their drinking.

  • Eighty-three percent of college students drink, and 41 percent report drinking five or more drinks on an occasion in the past 2 weeks, a particularly dangerous pattern of consumption.

  • In addition, anecdotal reports and some research studies indicate that many college students drink far more than five drinks per occasion.

  • Example: An extreme example is the practice of attempting to drink 21 shots within the first hour starting at midnight of one’s 21st birthday, which has resulted in alcohol poisonings.

  • College drinking has been a frustratingly persistent problem on America’s campuses. The tradition of drinking on and around campus is strong, and despite efforts to curtail the behavior, the majority of students—both underage and of age—drink, many of them heavily. The negative consequences of alcohol consumption by our Nation’s college students are wide-ranging.

Consequencces of Binge Drinking:
  • Missing classes & falling behind in school
  • Decreased GPA
  • Hangovers
  • Forgot where they were or what they did
  • Physical injury
  • Sexual assault & date rape
  • Doing something you later regret
  • Unprotected sex
  • Argument with another
  • Alcohol Poisoning & Death

***Excessive Drinking also affects those who do not partake. They are affected through those around them. These consequences range from being hit, pushed, or shoved, property damage, involvment in arguments, taking care of drunken students, and studying or sleeping interrupted.

How Does Excessive Driking Affect The UCSB Transfer Student?

The undergraduate population may experience this issue when starting here as a freshman, but transfer students differ in the severity of it. Transfer students immediately begin upper division courses upon enrollment. Our life is more academically demanding. Transfer students who cannot quickly get acclimated to the new environment or who cannot control themselves in the amount of their drinking face greater consequences. Transfer students do not have the same leniency of time to mess up in school and bounce back later on down the road.

The issue of excessive drinking is more extreme for transfer students at a research university compared to the community colleges that most transfer students come from. Many transfer students are exposed to drinking at their community colleges but they are not in an environment where it is concentrated into a few blocks near the ocean. Transfer students may have heard stories and seen Youtube video of the Isla Vista party scene, but it is much different when experienced first-hand.


Although there is no silver bullet, we do have evidence that a variety of individual, environmental, and campus–community approaches can work. Their effectiveness will depend on the culture and context of a particular campus. Generally, strategies that encompass multiple aspects of campus life, including the surrounding community, have been most successful. (

Through research on the Internet and assistance of the UCSB Kiosk, we were able to find these resources that address the issue.

1. UCSB Alcohol and Drug Program
  • Good for helping yourself or others you may know with a problem with a drinking problem
  • Good for helping yourself or others you may know with a problem with a drinking problem
  • Offers self help groups
  • Free and confidential counseling
  • Substance free housing
  • Offers seminars
  • Offers education courses in drinking
  • Located at Embarcadero Hall (935 Embarcadero Del Norte, across from Woodstock's)
2. UCSB After Dark
  • The UCSB After Dark Weekend Calendar, is a UCSB weekly entertainment guide highlighting Thursday, Friday and Saturday night alcohol-free and non-alcohol centered events happening on campus, around Isla Vista and in the communities of Goleta and Santa Barbara
  • There is a calendar that is provided as a resource to students and campus organizations and supported by the Office of Student Life fee.
  • Offers late night events and alternatives to the college party scene
  • Some examples of these events are speakers sponsored by the UCSB Arts & Lectures Program, Zodo’s Bowling in Goleta, concerts on campus or around Santa Barbara area, sporting UCSB sporting events, etc.
  • These are fun events for college students who do drink as well, but would like a break from the typical weekend IV drinking night or want to try something new.

3. Life of The Party
  • Good source to help students handle the overwhelming partying who can handle their alcohol but want to participate in safe partying
  • Life of the Party is all about living it up in all the right ways. They are a student group that encourages our fellow Gauchos to have fun in the Isla Vista and Santa Barbara social scenes and enjoy it regret-free. They’ve got tips on how to be a great party thrower, partygoer, and how to avoid arrests and citations. Plus, they’ll give you a head’s up about DUI checkpoints and what draws the attention of the IVFP.
  • Their website is

4. The Wellness Program
  • As we learned in class, this is a great resource for overcoming the new exposure to excessive drinking at UCSB
  • Helps you get your life back to balance and being healthy
  • Shows you how to have fun without the need to have alcohol
  • UCSB Health & Wellness Programs encourages and supports a healthy, balanced and thriving campus community.
  • They offer a variety of programs- classes, internships, education, and services-designed to motivate positive behavior change and healthy environments.
  • Students, staff and faculty can use this website to explore the many health and wellness opportunities available at UCSB and in the Santa Barbara community.

5. The UCSB Recreation Center
  • The Rec center’s amenities are very useful to helping a student get healthy. The Rec Center is great for the students who drink but want to balance it with their physical and mental health as well by exercising and participating in physical activities. The Rec Center is also great for students who are trying to step away from drinking and find their health again. This Rec Center offers rock climbing, intramural sports, adventure programs, camps, aquatics, fitness classes, personal training, recreational sports, etc.

There is Hope

Transferring into this new environment is challenging in a community where the issue of excessive drinking is high. It can be overwhelming for those who experience secondhand effects, for those struggling with alcoholism, or those struggling with how to have a fun time drinking but in a responsible, balanced way. If you or a friend are experiencing what you might consider an excessive drinking problem, contact the resources we provided above. These resources consist of people that are willng and ready to help you or a friend and any way they can. You are NOT ALONE in facing this issue and the first step to overcoming the shock of excessive drinking aat UCSB is to seek help.

Here is the link to a powerpoint that provieds this same information in an fun way:

Creators: Jennifer Brasseal, Tommy Trauger, Jamie Flores, Jose Maldonado.