Isla Vista harbors various customs: getting too intoxicated, engaging in amorous activity, and lighting couches on fire. The vision of flames, smell of fire, and sound of ambulance sirens is all too familiar in IV. It is incredibly common to witness a traditional Isla Vista couch-burning whilst out on DP one night, especially in February during midterm-season. After a night of IV promiscuity, your pee is not the only thing that will burn--your couch will too.
The couch-burning tradition in Isla Vista was sparked after the Bank of America branch of IV was burned down in February of 1970. This fire was ignited as part of the Isla Vista Riots, student-protests held after multiple displays of police brutality, in protest of the Vietnam War.
Couch-burning is a tradition started by Santis Mora, a Polynesian and Trualse tribe member in 1974. Mora ignited this unceasing tradition on the anniversary of the fire and in celebration of America's imminent withdrawal from Vietnam. The couch-burning signifies the students’ commemoration of the Vietnam War losses while simultaneously praying for successful midterms--which occur around the same time. This fiery UCSB tradition is in its fourth decade of existence and is still blazing. Police officials and Santa Barbara authorities have been trying to extinguish this Isla Vista tradition for years, imposing tremendous fines on those who participate or even observe. Although it is prohibited by law, couch-burning is really just a ceremony of the Trualse people and Vietnam War remembrance for the students of UCSB...as well as a prayer for passing grades on the midterms for which we have not studied!