Thomas Fire & Mudslide

April 16, 2018

HDAE Staff Making a Difference in a Time of Need

As Santa Barbara and Ventura counties struggled through the Thomas Fire, mudslides and rains, UCSB and Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises (HDAE) have been a helpful resource for the community. The campus hosted the Red Cross Shelter at the Recreation Center with more than 600 people for 13 days. HDAE turned The Club & Guest House into a shelter for more than 100 first responders including the National Guard and California Highway Patrol (CHP). Dining made last second meals for campus emergency responders, University & Community Housing Services had to shuffle students’ contracts and living spaces since winter quarter was shifted by a week, the Marketing & Communications Team responded to many concerns via phone and social media, and Transportation & Parking Services provided a shuttle service to and from the Goleta Amtrak station and the harbor ferry.

Everybody worked hard knowing the enormity of the event, and the tragic destruction that took place. We immediately opened the Housing One Emergency Operations Center and staff came in on the weekends and worked more than 10 hours per day to help assist first responders and people impacted by the events. Below are some photos of the Club as The Dining Room transitioned to a shelter for the National Guard and CHP.


A shout-out to staff who came to The Club on Saturday to get it ready: Jesus Gama, Itse Denisse Perez, Magdalena Guzman, Helinda Carrillo, Elida Ibarra, Gloria Ramirez, Yesenia Rodriguez, EJ Langworthy, Shelly Vargas, Jose Reyes, Sandra Ortiz, Angelica Avelino, Angelica Villalovos, Carlos Gomez, Guillermo Iturralde, Oscar Lezama, Alex Ramos, Sally Vito, Simon Herrera, Lauren Weinder, Danny Mann, Mark Rousseau, and Willie Brown.

The photo below shows the vehicles used by the National Guard unit in Lot 23, which is not something seen on the UCSB campus very often.

Conference & Hospitality Services was also involved with The Club conversion to a shelter. Sally Vito, Lauren Wiener, and Simon Herrera-Gomez worked hard to make it easy for the first responders to get some needed shut eye. The National Guard was very appreciative and said The Club was the best accommodation they’ve stayed in during an emergency. They often use just a sleeping bag and the ground. Below is a photo of a military commemorative coin that the National Guard Colonel gave to Sally and Jesus as a sign of appreciation for a job well done. This is a tradition used by the military dating back to World War II.

Many other HDAE staff worked hard to clean up all the ash around campus, and change out hundreds of filters for air handling systems. You can learn more about the campus-wide effort via The Current, UCSB's newsletter. Thank you to all who participated to help the community, campus, and co-workers recover from this unfortunate event. It made a difference in a time of need.

By Mark Rousseau