Why Being a UCSC Student Makes Me Feel I’m Part of Portlandia

By Diana Vega on March 12, 2013

When I was in high school I always pictured my future college town to be completely different than my home town. I wanted the weather, the landscape, the people, basically everything to be different. Surrounded by fields and cows in California’s central valley, I, naturally, aimed for the coast and planted my new life in Santa Cruz. When I thought “different” though, I never imagined Portlandia different.

  • UCSC holds an awesome event called “Earth Summit” each year. They have food, music, and a variety of workshops that emphasize the current and past sustainability efforts on campus. This year I decided to check it out and I participated in a workshop called “Recyclable Art.” It was pretty cool, but there came a point when I snapped back to reality and realized I had spent an hour and a half making a book bag out of old T-Shirts from the Goodwill. Then one of our workshop leaders made a passionate speech about supporting the free economy in Santa Cruz, and I thought about Portlandia’s “Dumpster Divers” sketch. They also made us do this thing where we stood in a circle, held each other’s thumbs, and talked about how making a book bag out of T-Shirts inspired us. When my friends and I walked out we looked at each other and said “Dude, that would’ve been the perfect setting for an episode of Portlandia.”
  • The Mason Jar-doubling-as-a-water bottle trend. ‘Nough said.

    “The Great Morgani” on Pacific Ave.

  • Portland and Santa Cruz share the slogan, “Keep (City Name Here) Weird.” Pacific Avenue is the epitome of this. Walking around downtown Santa Cruz is like standing in front of a fish tank and staring at the hundreds of exotic and colorful fish that cloud the water. Fred and Carrie could come to Santa Cruz and recruit extras with no trouble at all. I think these pictures suffice to explain this.

“Umbrella Man” on Pacific Ave.

  • PETA recognized UCSC as the “Most Vegan-Friendly College” in 2011 (UCSC represent!). We also have cage-free eggs, so every time I walk into the dining hall and see the “Cage-Free Eggs” sign I automatically think of the “Is it local?” sketch in which Nance asks “How big is the area where the chickens were able to roam free?” to which the waitress responds, “Four acres.” I’m sure our chickens had friends too.

The fact that there is a “Must Wear Shoes” sign in the dining hall because THAT many students walk around barefoot. Yup.

As you can see, it is Santa Cruz’s weirdness which reminds me so much of Portlandia. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though. UCSC’s/Santa Cruz’s weird qualities are what make this place so beautiful and unique! Plus, Portlandia is one of my favorite shows, so I feel like I still get my weekly dose of it when I miss an episode and when it’s off season. I love it.

By Diana Vega

Uloop Writer

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