Author: Brendan L

A Match Made in College: Prepping Yourself for Roommates

When I look back at my first year at UCSB, my mind is quickly drawn to the experiences I had with my roommates. Going into it, I was really unsure about the whole situation, since I had never really lived with “roommates.” My family was already used to my quirks and obnoxiousness, and I wasn’t sure if I would have to censor myself in order to live with…strangers. *gasp* I was certain that my new roomies would be the most judgmental cool kids in the world, and I didn’t want to seem like I was a square bear, but I also didn’t want to live in a grungy mess or have a bunch of randoms raging in my room.

Here are a few things I learned about picking and living with roommates while in college:

  1. Don’t “Lie” During Roommate Matching

    Sometimes we sprinkle in a few white lies or omit some of the less becoming details of our life experiences when we are put in social situations outside our comfort zone. We don’t want other people to think less of us, and we are exceptionally vulnerable to the perceived judgment of others when we come to a place where we have to jumpstart an entirely new social life. The only problem with trying to please other people when picking roommates is that literally, all your dirty laundry will be aired after the honeymoon phase is over. If you like to stay up late, live in an organized pigsty, and you have certain…shall we say…“vices,” don’t make it a surprise for your roommate who likes to go to bed at 9:30pm, has a place for everything and everything in it place, and who dislikes drinking and smoking. Maybe you guys would be great friends at school or in a club, but mortal enemies as roommates.

  2. Best Friends, Best Roommates?

    One thing that I personally would recommend you do is really take some time to consider living with someone who is already your best friend. Countless times, I have seen residents decide to room with their current “BFF” because they think that this will ensure they will have a good first year at school. Not always true. Being a roommate with someone is an entirely different experience from hanging out with your best bro or gal pal, and many times these friendships cannot weather the storm of what it takes to live with someone. Former BFF’s become mortal enemies after nine months of constant togetherness.

    My recommendation is that if you and a friend are going to the same college, you already know that they will be your “safety friend” in terms of having someone to hang out with, so why not try living with a new person? You can both branch out and meet new people to add to your friend circle. And who knows? The new roommates you live with may want to live with you and your best friend the following year when you move in to an apartment together.

  3. Be True to Yourself and Say Something

    If you have a problem with your roommate, whether they are playing their music too loud or you’re tired of them bringing their friends/significant other over all day every day, why not tell them? There’s nothing worse than festering feelings from unresolved conflict. If you don’t say anything, don’t think that your roommate is going to magically come to the realization on their own that you are upset. Quite the opposite! They are going to assume it’s okay to continue doing what they’re doing, and that behavior has the potential of getting worse or getting on your nerves even more.

    I would suggest trying to present the subject in a positive way. No one likes being told what to do. Just tell them in a firm, yet polite way, that a certain behavior is troubling you. Don’t forget: “please” and “thank you” go a long way.

  4. Think of Ways to be a Considerate Roommate.

    Maybe you’re thinking, “I melt faces with the volume of my sound system and I have my gf/bf over every day and my roommate never says anything. We’re cool.” Maybe your roommate and suitemates really are okay with you playing your music loud and having people over. The thing you have to remember though is the old saying: too much of a good thing can be bad. It doesn’t hurt to plug your headphones in and tell your friends you’ll see them this weekend. Let your roommates “miss” your friends and taste in music for a while.

    By being purposeful in your roommate selection, learning to communicate and being a little flexible, your chances of having a better-than-average roommate experience are high. You never know, you may just make a friend for life!

UCSB Athletics Receives $1 Million Commitment from Tropicana Student Living

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Tropicana Student Living and UCSB Athletics announced a $1 million commitment to the school’s Intercollegiate Athletics program Friday. The gift from Tropicana Student Living, a gift intention made through the Gaucho Fund to be paid over several years, will be part of The Campaign for UC Santa Barbara, the university’s comprehensive campaign approaching one billion dollars to benefit university programs, students, faculty and staff.

“We have long appreciated the enormous effort that UCSB Athletics’ coaches and players have done to excel at their sport and reach out to our UCSB students as well as the youth in the local Santa Barbara community,” explained Kent W. Dunn, Managing Principal of Tropicana Student Living. “Through our daily work with the University, we have become aware of plans that are actively underway to enhance several UCSB Athletic facilities.”

“We are so appreciative of this commitment from Tropicana Student Living and their part in the success of our programs and student-athletes,” said Mark Massari, Director of UCSB Athletics.

The Tropicana Student Living gift of $100,000 for the 2013-14 year, the first of their commitment of annual gifts at the same amount, will bring the Gauchos to over $2.2 million in funds raised — one of the most successful fundraising years in UCSB Athletics’ history. The initial gift will directly support needs of the baseball program, including the planned Gaucho Park entry plaza. Subsequent year contributions will provide broad-based support to all 20 intercollegiate programs at the discretion of the Athletic Director.

Tropicana Student Living operates privately-owned residence halls and apartments for students attending the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and other local education institutions. Situated on the western edge of campus with a diverse community of undergraduate students, Tropicana Del Norte is a residence hall well known for its comfortable suite-style units, unlimited meal plan and resort-style amenities, while Tropicana Villas is an academically focused apartment community catering to upperclassmen. The Official Student Housing sponsor of UCSB Athletics, Tropicana Student Living also hosts more than 90 summer camps annually and has been the summer home of Michael Jordan’s Flight School since 1995.

“Tropicana communities provide a living environment that supports a successful transition from home to independent living and academic success by following a wellness model that encompasses the physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual and environmental elements of student life and growth,” Dave Wilcox, Tropicana’s Executive Director said. “Our management team, most of whom live on site, works closely with campus officials to ensure that our community policies are consistent with campus missions and policies.”

“Tropicana’s student residents—athletes and non-athletes alike—are outstanding in every way,” Dunn said. “They are talented and hard-working and reflect the greatness of a world-class institution. We are grateful for the opportunity to be partnered with UCSB to serve them.”

UCSB student-athletes have an 85% NCAA graduation success rate – second highest within the University of California system. UCSB is one of only 62 members of the distinguished Association of American Universities (AAU). The university’s 450 student-athletes compete across 20 NCAA Division I sports.

To make a donation to UCSB Athletics, please visit or call Andy Fee, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development at 805.893.4960. For more information about Tropicana Student Living, call Executive Director Dave Wilcox at 805.968.4319.

Tropicana Del Norte Applauds Former RA at I Madonnari Festival

The students from East Palo Alto’s Phoenix Academy. (Left to Right) Nick H.,
Manny N., Brenda H., Fernanda G., David A., Cindy M., Tandra M., Jazlin B.

SANTA BARBARA, CA – May 26, 2014 – Students from East Palo Alto’s Phoenix Academy high school created a beautiful chalk art square for Tropicana Student Living at the 2014 I Madonnari street painting festival at the Santa Barbara Mission this Memorial Day weekend. The surreal images inspired by nature were completed under the direction of former Trop Resident Assistnat, Brandon Teris. Brandon is now an Art Instructor at East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy, and he has been bringing his students to participate in I Madonnari for the past four years. This year, 8 students from Phoenix Academy made up Tropicana’s I Madonnari student team.

“We are very proud of Brandon and his team,” said Dave Wilcox, Executive Director. “We love their work and look forward to welcoming them back to Tropicana for the I Madonnari festival next year.”

In 2012, Brandon returned to paint a mural for the the upper Café at Tropicana Del Norte, a residence hall for UCSB students. A year later, he turned the Tropicana Del Norte study lounge into an academic oasis with a calming ocean scene.

Brandon Teris, former Resident Assistant, with the mural he painted in the study lounge at Tropicana Del Norte.

Applying for Jobs – Quick Tips!

It’s coming up on Summer Job season, and there are going to be tons of opportunities for students to work and make some extra spending cash. Make sure that you are on top of your game to get the job you desire most! When I was in High School I joined FFA (Future Farmers of America) that emphasized professional development. I didn’t end up becoming a Farmer, but there were tons of practical skills I learned that have helped me on my post-high school job hunts. One of the requirements of joining FFA was entering the Regional Job Interview Competition. Beforehand I had never interviewed for a job or done much in terms of public speaking, which, in a way, worked in my behalf since everything I learned was quickly incorporated into my developing professional persona. I ended up making it to the final round during the first competition! Since then, I’ve held some really great positions, working as a Manager for Orange Julius, becoming an Associate Manger of a Movie Theater, and working my way from Res Life Staff to Marketing for Tropicana! Everyone has the potential to be successful and shine during an interview if they show confidence and interest in the job they’re applying for. There are a couple additional factors that will really help you shine. Here are a few quick tips that I found useful in applying for jobs: *Dress to Impress – If you dress like you’re serious about getting the job, employers will treat you as such. Time to polish your dress shoes and borrow an iron! *Do Research – What position would you like the most at the company you’re applying for? What makes you qualified for that position? What is the thing that the company prides itself on? Doing research ahead of time will help you confidently answer questions you may be asked during your interview, as well as help you get the position you want. Check out their website, read through job descriptions, and think of ways you’re a necessary piece to their puzzle. *Practice Professional Etiquette – A firm handshake and eye contact can go a long way in showing you’re confident and ready to work. Other interpersonal skills, such as using “Mr.” or “Miss,” and sending a follow up email to your interviewer, will help you stand out from other candidates! *Don’t Arrive Empty Handed – Draft up a résumé and have it handy. Likely you’ll be filling out an job application, but attaching your résumé is another great way to stand out from the crowd! Here’s a template that I have used in the past, but there are plenty of ways that you can get creative with your résumé! Things that you should NOT include in your résumé: • Labeling your résumé “Résumé.” • Including the date you wrote your résumé • Personal Data that is not contact information, such as your date of birth, race, sex, etc. • A Photograph of yourself: Equal Employment Opportunity legislation prohibits companies from making hiring decisions on what could be seen as bias towards an individual based on how they look. • Grammar School / Jr. High Education – Not necessary =] While I hope these tips are helpful, these are just the building blocks that will help you get that amazing job! There a tons of resources available for you at the Campus Career Centers at both UCSB and SBCC, as well as resources online. Have questions? Please feel free to email me and I’d be happy to answer them or point you in the right direction!

Tropicana Students Feed More than 7,500 Hungry Children

SANTA BARBARA, CA – April 17, 2014 – For several hours on a sunny Thursday afternoon, more than 75 Tropicana Student Living residents and staff along with UCSB Lacrosse, UCSB Field Hockey, and local youth soccer teams came together to prepare meal packets for Stop Hunger Now. Tropicana Gardens Café turned into an assembly line to create 7,500 meals of rice, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables and nutrients.

Isla Vista hasn’t been seen in the greatest light the last couple weeks, and we want to show that our students are doing great things here at Tropicana Student Living,” says Dave Wilcox, Executive Director of Tropicana Student Living. “This is just an example of something that they’re doing that’s great for the community and great for the world.” The 7,500 meals that the Tropicana students and staff assembled will be distributed to Guatemala through Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief agency that ships them to school feeding programs in developing countries.

Stop Hunger Now coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world, with a mission to end hunger in our lifetime. Stop Hunger Now’s meal packing program began in 2005, and since then, more than 100,000 volunteers have packaged nearly 30 million meals to feed the world’s impoverished.

About Tropicana Student Living

Tropicana Student Living operates private residence halls and apartments for students attending the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) in Santa Barbara, California. Tropicana Del Norte Residence Hall (, conveniently located adjacent to UCSB’s Main Campus is a small and friendly community with spacious suite-style units, an unlimited meal plan and resort-style living. Tropicana Villas ( is an Isla Vista apartment community that caters to upperclassmen with furnished apartments and flexible leasing options. Tropicana Gardens (, located an express bus ride away from Santa Barbara City College, is a private residence hall that provides an attractive alternative to apartments for SBCC students with its suite-style units and social and recreational activities organized by its large team of energetic RAs. For more information about housing options for UCSB and SBCC students, please call 805-968-4319.

Conservation is Critical to Extending Santa Barbara County’s Water Supply

On January 17th, 2014 it was declared that California was in a state of emergency caused by drought. California’s Governor has asked all residents to reduce their water use. Santa Barbara County has joined the State in declaring a drought emergency and has asked for a 20% reduction in water usage.

Coinciding with the State’s and the County’s efforts, we ask you to please be mindful of your water usage. We appreciate your personal efforts in helping our community reduce our water use as a whole.

Here are some things to think about when you are using water, which can assist in our conservation efforts:

  • When brushing your teeth, don’t let the faucet flow. Use a glass of water for rinsing your teeth.
  • Wait until you have a full load of laundry before you do a load. You’ll save water, energy, and money for laundry.
  • One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. A four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water.
  • Report any water related maintenance issues immediately to the Tropicana Front Desk. 

Together we can conserve and extend Santa Barbara County’s limited water supply.