Two years ago on May 23, 2014 in the Isla Vista community fellow students Katie Cooper, Veronika Weiss, Christopher Michaels- Martinez, Weihan Wang, Cheng Hong, and George Chen were killed by young gunman known as Elliot Roger as he went on his violent rampage in the community. Not only did he take the lives of innocent people, but he also injured many others in the process, and sent the UCSB and Isla Vista community into a state of blunder and distress.
One year later, in light of those who lost their lives, a light installation was installed in Pardall Tunnel. The light installation was designed and created by UCSB professors Kim Yasuda and Marcos Novak . It was created to remember the lives of the students who lost their lives but to also act as a bridge between IV and UCSB or vice versa and to connect the two communities together and establish a state of security and peace.
However, the unforsaken tragedy took place two years ago, and many incoming students do not know what occurred. I personally find this sad and tragic because I believe that in order in order to keep instances like this from happening again we must know our history. The first time I stepped through Pardall Tunnel, I had no idea of its symbolism and what it meant to the students here at UCSB, I only looked up at the tunnel lights and admired how they moved as I took each step. This is my first year here, and when the shooting took place in IV, I solemnly paid little attention to the news; and did not know that the Isla Vista community would be a place where I would spend a great deal of my time in college. As I grew aware of the history of the tunnel and IV, I garnered more respect and appreciation for it. I felt more connected to the community of Isla Vista, but I also felt a hint of sadness that despite what happened there were still individuals that were not aware of what the tunnel paid tribute to.
In light to what occurred in the community of UCSB and IV residents
and students came together to plana candlelight vigil, hold a paddle out and have a public discussion among other events,for the mourning families, a year later to remember the victims of the tragic event.These events brought a great sum of peace and rest to the families and students. It helped them remember the lives of those they lost
What occurred on May 23, 2014 is something that needs to be remembered, but that is not what the Pardall tunnel is meant to symbolize. The tunnel was meant to serve as bridge and help those mourning remember their loved ones, and to help them come out of the state of despair they were in, and to instead remember their loved ones in a positive way and the experiences they shared with them.
I know that when I walk through Pardall Tunnel, and see the LED motion sensors pass above me, I do not have the same connection with the tunnel other students have, but I do feel as if I am in a state of security. This may be because of the type of person I am but I do feel as I am being guided safely from one place to the other. As time continues to pass by students will remember something different about Pardall, but no matter what, I think we should remain united as one community.