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Get Involved! Build Connections, Make Friends, and Be a Part of the Santa Barbara City College Community!

For many when you decide to take the leap of faith and move away for college, the most difficult part is getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people. Already you are at an advantage with having your suitemates and those who live on your floor, but there are still many more opportunities to get involved and meet new people.

Week of Welcome

The Week of Welcome is a Tropicana Tradition where every day of the first week of school has a budget to help you get to know other people in the building who share similar interests. Past WOW programs have included:

  • Wheel Fun – Explore Santa Barbara! Surrey bike around the pier and shoreline of downtown SB.
  • Taste of IV – Get your grub on! Take this opportunity to taste of all of the different restaurants we have here in Isla Vista.
  • Bowling at Zodo’s – Strike! Enjoy a night out one of the coolest bowling allies you’ve ever been to.
  • Casino Night – Black Jack! Put on your Poker face and grab a bag of poker chips to use at different casino themed games. Prizes will be provided to the top winners of the night.
  • Hypnotist Show – Watch your new friends do things they’d NEVER do! Master Hypnotist James Kellogg, Jr. visits from Las Vegas to entertain residents during this extremely memorable show.
  • Movie Night – See the latest #1 movie! Enjoy good a fun night out at the local Camino Real Metropolitan theater.
  • Tie Dye – Let your creative juices flow! with tons of colors and clothing items to choose from!
  • S’mores Night – Make s’more friends! Gather around a cozy campfire using Trop’s s’mores stations to make a delicious dessert.
  • Beach Day – This one of the main reason you moved to SB, right? Bike over to Goleta beach to enjoy a day in the sand playing volleyball and dipping your toes in the ocean.
  • Raffle — Attend all of the events listed, and receive a ticket entry for a prize drawing at the end of the week! Past prizes have included Flat Screen TVs, Beats by Dr.Dre, Gift Cards for local restaurants, and much more!

Tropicana Student Organization (TSO)

Were you active in your schools ASB? Or possibly had a leadership role in a club on campus? Joining the Tropicana Student Organization is a great way to find people similar to you! Meetings are held once a week and we have an executive council who leads each meeting supervised by one of our Residence Directors. Residents hear program proposal from Resident Assistants and vote on what programs get approved and how much money is spent. Residents decide where their TSO money is spent to make sure that the events we do at the building are things our Residents want to attend. By joining TSO you’ll also have the opportunity to plan your own programs in fields you are interested. This is the way fun trips like going to Disneyland or Painting Canvas’ happen. Another cool perk is getting to select the movies that are on Trops TV Channel and Movie viewing website.

On Campus

At SBCC you have an excellent opportunity to be a part of an active student life on campus. Not only are many SBCC classes hands on, so you are getting involved with other students through group activities, but there are also many ways outside of class to get involved. Possible ways to do so include joining a sports team, participating in the theatre department, or joining a club that best suits you.

Trop Programs and Events

Participating in Trop programs is one of the easiest ways to make friends. Your RAs are putting on fun new programs every week that range in a huge variety. Past programs include Painting Canvas’, Hiking Inspiration Point, Playing Dodgeball, Indulging in delicious Boba Tea, Playing Messy Twister, and even Traveling to Disneyland.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways that new Tropicana Residents can get involved in their new community and make friends. But don’t just take my word for it; explore our Facebook page to look at all the fun things our residents have done in years past!

Trips around Trop: The Beach(es) in your Backyard

Soft sand between your toes. A light ocean breeze and the bright sun’s warm caress against your back. Your beach towel awaiting your return as you catch a couple of cool waves in the shallows of the Great Pacific. You’re probably thinking, “Cool, Hawaii?” But I kid you not; this is a first-hand (and foot) experience of mine from earlier today.

Living in this little college-town definitely has its perks, and I’d be lying if I said having the Pacific Ocean in your backyard isn’t a huge one of them. Halfway through my first year at UCSB, I realized just how unique my experience here would be: when, again, in my life would I get the chance to live amongst my friends, earning a world-class education, while living practically on the beach? After this little epiphany, I stopped taking my location for granted, and began to actively (and at times obsessively) explore the myriad coastal delights surrounding me.

Pretty much any UCSB student walking on the street will know where Campus Point is; located right next to the larger on-campus residential complex (Anacapa and Santa Cruz Halls look out into the ocean), this beach is a favorite beginner’s surf spot for students and locals alike. I always like to visit the colorful tide pools near the southern end of the point, where it isn’t unusual to see squishy pink starfish during low tide (don’t touch!)

Some other popular beach access points stem from the famous Del Playa Drive, known to locals as DP, hugging the UCSB campus on one side and the ocean on the other. From Trop, this is the east way to get to the beach; when I’m really eager I walk out the door and keep walking southward until I hit DP, and then take the closest staircase down to sea. I can’t put into words how relieving and calming to see this wide expanse of water spread out in front of you, and there is something really comforting in the knowledge that the water is so close to escape to or enjoy. I often think of the ocean as this powerful protective entity that always has your back (in our case, literally!)

My latest coastal craze has been Sands Beach. Beginning at the end of DP, it extends up to Coal Oil Point, which is at the tip of a reserve dedicated to protecting the coastal ecosystem and its particularly threatened bird species, the Snowy Plover. This beach is further from the heart of IV and so often time is more pristine and less crowded than other beaches, and you’re most likely to see sunrise surfers here. There is also a trail alongside the beach, which makes it a picturesque and favorite spot for runners and yoga-doers alike. The latest fad has been bringing giant air-filled rafts to laze around in the sea with friends.

This only scratches the surface of the plentiful local seaside paradises; the list goes on and on. Additionally, as only a second year here at UCSB, I don’t pretend to know all the beaches around here, and am not a surfer in any consideration. But that’s the best part about it! Anyone here can enjoy and benefit from the beautiful beaches around us, swim or tan or jog or maybe even learn to surf. That’s my goal, and I still have two years here to look forward to. Who knows what they’ll bring!

Info on the Coal Oil Point Reserve:

UCSB Campus Map:

What are Resident Assistants at Tropicana’s College Residence Hall and How Can They Assist Me?

As a Resident Assistant (RA) at Tropicana Gardens, there are a variety of different hats I wear: counselor, advisor, mediator, resource, programmer/event planner, and a friend.

Trop’s intensive RA training process has equipped me to deal with a variety of situations. Say you and your roommates seem to be butting heads a lot. That would be a predicament where you could come to me and ask for advice, or where I could help mediate the situation so you could all come to a mutual agreement.

Another instance where my help would come into play would be for any possible emergency. Every night, there are two RAs on “duty”, which means we are responsible for doing community walks of the building to ensure laws and our residence hall community standards are being followed, such as quiet hours and alcohol & drug policies. We also carry the duty phone, which you can call for a minor emergency (like being locked out of your room), but also for more extreme situations.

Because RAs are generally sophomores (there may be juniors and seniors as well), we’re a valuable resource for you. We’ve “been there and done that” at Santa Barbara City College and we’ve lived in Isla Vista and Santa Barbara for at least a year. So we can help you with bus schedules, tell you how to get around on campus, and even give you our reviews of local coffee shops and restaurants!

One of my favorite parts of the RA job is hosting events and programs, with a goal of building relationships within our community. RAs try to incorporate a variety of diverse experiences such as painting a canvas, trips to Disneyland, paintball tournaments, and s’mores nights. We love having input from our residents about what types of events would interest them. My favorite function that I hosted with fellow RA Evelin was Trop’s first ever Winter Formal dance. It took a lot more planning than most programs, but a resident committee helped us create a magical winter wonderland. We had a great turn out and danced the night away.

You can kind of see how this job isn’t like a normal 9-5 job. I have a lot on my plate when it comes to my RA responsibilities, and I also have my schoolwork to think about. It’s my residents who make it all worth it.

When I first met all of my residents, I didn’t know what they were going to think of me. Being a theater major I’m a very “out there” person, which can be a lot for people to handle. However my residents seemed to enjoyed my personality and felt comfortable coming to me for questions and advice. During the year I got to know my residents on a very personal level, which made saying our goodbyes harder than I expected. There were nights where I’d go over to their rooms to help with homework or they’d come to mine to watch the classic “Land Before Time” series on Netflix. I cannot express how lucky I am to have known this group of individuals, many of whom I now consider to be my friends.

I think the best way to sum up the RA’s job is that we’re really here to make sure you have the best year possible. We all remember how scary freshmen year can seem, not having the support of your family and friends, and we truly want to make to this transition as smooth as possible.

Choosing a College Roommate

Starting college can be nerve wracking. Chances are, you’re leaving home for the first time. On top of that, the only people you’ve lived with have likely been your family. So how do you make sure you find a good roommate when you head to SBCC?

To start off, the very best advice I can give is to be completely honest on your Tropicana Gardens housing application. Know your limits and what you’re comfortable with. Don’t respond inaccurately just because you believe it’s a popular answer or you want to seem cool.

Having a good roommate can make or break your year, so it is extremely important that you find someone you’re compatible with. It does not necessarily have to be a match made in heaven, but it’s important to find people you can actually live with.

Here are some questions you’ll want to keep in mind while filling out your profile questions:

  • Am I night owl or a morning early bird?
  • Do I plan on getting all of my studies done in the room or will I take care of it in the study lounge?
  • Am I planning to go out every weekend or stay inside with a good book?
  • Do I keep things neat and organized daily or do I tend to pile things throughout the room until I get around to moving them?

After thinking that through, now you get to figure out the fun stuff: finding people who have similar interests as you. Once your housing contract is finalized and you are granted access to the online roommate matching, use your Roommate Profile to your advantage to find like-minded individuals. Are you a huge Disney geek? Do you love to take pictures? What’s you’re favorite sport to play? What do you like to watch on TV? Do you enjoy baking tasty desserts? What’s you’re guilty pleasure? Are you obsessed with Pinterest? Have you figured out your major? Write a snappy profile that you think best describes you.

Now, maybe none of this applies to you. Perhaps you have a friend from back home who is also coming to Santa Barbara City College and you’ve already decided to pair off together. This is totally fine, but just do so with caution. Just because someone is a great friend, does not mean they’re going to be the best roommate for you. Be sure to have some conversations about your expectations before moving in together.

Remember, this is the first time you get to pick your roommate, so choose wisely!

For a step-by-step guide on how to use Tropicana Garden’s online roommate matching, click here.

Have a Fun and Safe Halloween Weekend!

As many of you know, Halloween is just around the corner… BOO! Don’t be scared though, if you follow these 5 tips you’ll have a fun and safe Halloween that you’ll always remember!

1.Flat shoes means safe shoes. Wearing heels is a no-go.

You will be walking around a lot and might not have the best surface of walking. You don’t want to have to hobble back to your room because of a sprained ankle or gash on the knee from falling. Wear some cool Chuck Taylors or boots and be comfortable all night.

2.Do the buddy system thang.

People always say that “two is better than one” and this is definitely true when it comes to Halloween. You don’t want to get lost in the packs of people that come and visit. People are dressed up and Halloween always brings the crazy out, so stay safe by staying in a group. The more the merrier.

3.Know your limits and stick with them.

We all know that Halloween is a fun time to dress up and go out! If you do decide to drink, know when to stop. Just because you want to enjoy the night doesn’t mean you have to forget it. Limit yourself to one drink per hour with water in between (and don’t feel pressured to drink if you don’t want to!). 

4.R.E.S.P.E.C.T… it’s good for the soul.

While you all are having a blast and looking fabulous in your costumes make sure you remember that people are still trying to work by keeping you safe. Understand that police officers and paramedics are on high alert and don’t give them a reason to have reasonable cause. Respect the property you are on … no one likes a trouble-maker.

5.Your phone may not be your ticket to getting home.

As Halloween in IV can get a bit crowded, that also means the airwaves are getting crowded as well.  With people posting, texting, and calling 90% of the time, it will be harder and sometimes impossible to get in communication with other people. Have a plan before leaving the house and stick with it. Yes that means be prepared to have no contact with those outside of your group… even more incentive to stay in a group!

If you stick with these 5 safety tips, whether its during Halloween or anytime you venture into the Isla Vista world!  Use common sense and safety first!

How to Build a Tasty and Flavorful Mexican Salad

Being at Trop for almost 5 years… yes five, I have found ways to eat healthy and mix it up each day without going out and spending money that, lets be honest, I don’t have. Some of you might be getting to the point where a PB&J sandwich just isn’t tasting the way it used to or a salad with veggies can seem a bit blah. I have a few hints to help you make each meal healthy with taste to back it up. 

If the Trop Café is serving Mexican that night then that means you can avoid the extra calories in a tortilla or shell bowl and make a delicious Mexican Salad. 

Walk to the salad bar and scope out all the extra veggies and toppings they may have out. Build that salad to your liking. I love to mix the spinach and iceberg lettuce to add some extra nutrition with some crunch.

See if you can get some chicken or beef for you salad. Once you’ve got your protein go find some fiber… maybe black beans or peppers.

Go to the condiments area and scoop up some freshly made pico de gallo and guacamole. You can even ask a Bon Appetit employee to see if they have extra avocado in the back. Sprinkle a little bit of cheese and there you go. Sometimes they even have feta in the salad bar section to make it a little more fancy. 

No need for dressing since the pico de gallo serves as a substitute. 

If you need a little extra flavor, get some BBQ sauce and make your very own Chicken or Beef Mexican Salad!

Something that helps me get my 64 ounces of water a day is to drink a cup before I eat and a cup after I eat. Leaves me feeling full and hydrated. Especially when its nice and hot outside.

That’s just one of my favorite salads to make in the Tropicana Café… stay tuned for more delicious combinations and more fun facts about this amazing place we call home, Santa Barbara! 

xox erika