The Santa Barbara Student Housing Coop (SBSHC) is a student-run organization designed to provide affordable housing for students, faculty, and staff of the University of California, Santa Barbara. It is a member of NASCO. The first coop was established in 1976, and currently there are four houses; Manley, Dashain, Newman, and Biko. In all, about 70 students live in these houses.
The purpose of the Santa Barbara Student Housing Co-op (SBSHC) is to provide low rent co-op housing regardless of gender, race, social, political, or religious affiliation, and thereby influencing the community to eliminate prejudice and discrimination in the community. SBSHC strives to engage in continuous educational programs that further the principles of cooperation through mutual, self-help living at a minimal cost.
The coops in Isla Vista are epicenters of artistic expression, alternative thought, social activism and creativity within the frantic party atmosphered boom and bust community that is Isla Vista. The coop system organizes the annual "Coopula" festival featuring local musical talent, spoken word, local organic food and outdoor entertainment in People's Park in Isla Vista. In 2006, the massively successful and now institutionalized "Chillavista" festival was organized out of the BIKO coop, and featured musical talent from the IV community including many bands spawned from and frequently performing at Isla Vista Coops. Chillavista was powered through renewable energy, featured local organic produce, screened several films on progressive thought and sustainability and proved to be a highly successful zero waste event featuring national touring acts such as Delta Nove, Blue Turtle Seduction, Elijah Manuel & The Revelations and local psychedelic jam masters Silent Wei.
In 2006, the Isla Vista coops provided pivotal support to the over 200 residents evicted from their homes in Isla Vista by Conquest Housing. Many in the Isla Vista community regarded these evictions as racially motivated seeing as how nearly all of the 200 men, women and children who were evicted were hispanic and had little access to legal representation on their behalf. In response, some residents of the coops rallied support for the families by throwing benefit concerts, establishing a protest "tent city" in the center of the UCSB campus, and staging marches throughout Santa Barbara to raise awareness of the plight these families face. The efforts have contributed to the larger emerging front in Isla Vista united against the ongoing pattern of discriminatory eviction followed by student rent gouging.
During the summer of 2005, Manley received a remodeled kitchen, new roof, new windows, a converted storage to study room, a complete solar panel system, landscaped garden area and refinished upstairs deck. Residents now participate in a full meal plan with both meat and vegetarian/vegan options. The house charge covers electricity, gas, water, trash, laundry, and cable internet.
The Manley house has eleven bedrooms in two separate units. Three bedrooms are located upstairs, where there is a large deck and living room. Downstairs are eight bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, dining room, and study space.
The house is named after Steven Manley, who died August 15, 1979, battling a brush wildfire near Santa Maria. He was 21 years old and a Junior Environmental Studies Major at UCSB, working the summer as a firefighter with the California Division of Forestry.
Although Newman has nine separate apartments (six two-bedroom/one-bath units and three studios), Newman feels like a community. There is no meal plan for the Newman building but some members participate in optional potlucks. The homemade fire pit in front, worm bin composting system, and mural painting projects on the Newman's doors and walls, allows members to be creative and communal. The House charge for Newman's 20 to 25 residents covers laundry, parking, water, trash and cable internet. Newman House is named after Patti Newman, significant contributor and driving force behind the creation of SBSHC.
Dashain, formerly called the "House of Seitan," is a vegetarian house. Dashain strives to buy local produce and cultivate a partnership with their neighboring organic and whole foods cooperative, the Isla Vista Food Co-op. Sunsets can be viewed from the window of the top three rooms, and hammock swinging and fire loving occurs in the backyard. Dashain maintains its own garden space out back, at one time hosted a family of chickens. The house has nine bedrooms and three bathrooms. Dashain has traditionally never had television in common space. The House charge covers water, trash, electricity, gas, cable internet, parking and laundry.
Named after Stephen Bantu Biko, founder and martyr of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa, Biko has been SBSHC's "People of Color" Co-op. Biko's theme provides a safe, respectful space for people of color in predominantly white campus community. Biko house has twelve bedrooms and six bathrooms. Its kitchen is large and spacious, with industrial-strength cooking facilities and a stocked pantry. Biko has a mandatory meal plan that always offers both meat and vegetarian/vegan options. The House charge includes gas, electricity, water, trash, and laundry, cable internet and cable television.
The garage space out front functions as central storage as well as an all-purpose community space for radical meetings, music, art exhibitions and dance. Biko Garage is run by donation only, and is run and operated by house members. The basketball court and front garden and porch space, as well as ample parking, are some of the other benefits of living at the Biko.