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University of California, Santa Cruz

University of California, Santa Cruz
Logo of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)
Motto Fiat lux (Latin)
Motto in English Let there be light
Established 1965 [1]
Type Public, Land- and Space-Grant research university
Endowment $125.2 million (2013)[2]
Chancellor George Blumenthal
Provost Alison Galloway
Students 17,203 (2013 Fall)[3]
Undergraduates 15,695 (2013 Fall)[3]
Postgraduates 1,508 (2013 Fall)[3]
Location Santa Cruz, California, United States
Campus Suburban/Forest
2,000 acres (810 ha)[4]
Colors UCSC Blue & UCSC Gold[5]         
Athletics NCAA Division IIIindependent
Nickname Banana Slugs
Mascot Sammy the Slug[6]
Affiliations University of California

The University of California, Santa Cruz (also known as UC Santa Cruz or UCSC), is a public, collegiate university and one of 10 campuses in the University of California system. Located 75 miles (120 km) south of San Francisco at the edge of the coastal community of Santa Cruz, the campus lies on 2,001 acres (810 ha) of rolling, forested hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay.

Founded in 1965, UC Santa Cruz began as a showcase for progressive, cross-disciplinary undergraduate education, innovative teaching methods and contemporary architecture. Since then, it has evolved into a modern research university with a wide variety of both undergraduate and graduate programs, while retaining its reputation for strong undergraduate support and student political activism. The residential college system, which consists of ten small colleges, is intended to combine the student support of a small college with the resources of a major university (this concept is not unlike that at southern California's private Claremont Colleges, which was implemented 40 years earlier with five small colleges).


  • History 1
    • Impact on Santa Cruz 1.1
    • Expansion plans 1.2
  • Campus 2
  • Academics 3
    • Research 3.1
    • Rankings 3.2
  • Residential colleges 4
    • Admissions 4.1
    • Grading 4.2
  • Library 5
    • Grateful Dead archive 5.1
  • Student life 6
    • Student government 6.1
    • Student media 6.2
    • Housing 6.3
    • Greek life 6.4
  • Sustainability 7
    • History 7.1
    • Organizations 7.2
  • Athletics 8
    • Mascot 8.1
  • See also 9
  • Notes and references 10
  • External links 11


Although some of the original founders had already outlined plans for an institution like UCSC as early as the 1930s, the opportunity to realize their vision did not present itself until the City of Santa Cruz made a bid to the University of California Regents in the mid-1950s to build a campus just outside town, in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains.[7] The Santa Cruz site was selected over a competing proposal to build the campus closer to the population center of San Jose. Santa Cruz was selected for the beauty, rather than the practicality, of its location, however, and its remoteness led to the decision to develop a residential college system that would house most of the students on-campus.[8] The formal design process of the Santa Cruz campus began in the late 1950s, culminating in the Long Range Development Plan of 1963.[9] Construction had started by 1964, and the University was able to accommodate its first students (albeit living in trailers on what is now the East Field athletic area) in 1965. The campus was intended to be a showcase for contemporary architecture, progressive teaching methods, and undergraduate research.[10][11][12] According to founding chancellor Dean McHenry, the purpose of the distributed college system was to combine the benefits of a major research university with the intimacy of a smaller college.[13][14] UC President Clark Kerr shared a passion with former Stanford roommate McHenry to build a university modeled as "several Swarthmores" (i.e., small liberal arts colleges) in close proximity to each other.[13][15] Roads on campus were named after UC Regents who voted in favor of building the campus.

McHenry Library

Impact on Santa Cruz

Although the city of Santa Cruz already exhibited a strong conservation ethic before the founding of the university, the coincidental rise of the counterculture of the 1960s with the university's establishment fundamentally altered its subsequent development. Early student and faculty activism at UCSC pioneered an approach to environmentalism that greatly impacted the industrial development of the surrounding area.[16] The lowering of the voting age to 18 in 1971 led to the emergence of a powerful student-voting bloc.[17] A large and growing population of politically liberal UCSC alumni changed the electorate of the town from predominantly Republican[18]

to markedly left-leaning, consistently voting against expansion measures on the part of both town and gown.
UCSC Chancellors
†Died in office

Expansion plans

Panorama of Great Meadow.


The university offers 63 undergraduate majors and 35 minors, with graduate programs in 33 fields.[37] Popular undergraduate majors include Art, Business Management Economics, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Psychology.[38] Interdisciplinary programs, such as Feminist Studies, American Studies, Environmental Studies, Visual Studies, Digital Arts and New Media, and the unique History of Consciousness Department are also hosted alongside UCSC's more traditional academic departments.

A new joint program, the first of its kind in the University of California system, will enable UC Santa Cruz students to earn a bachelor's degree and law degree in six years instead of the usual seven. The “3+3 BA/JD” Program between UC Santa Cruz and UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco is set to accept its first applicants in Fall 2014.

UCSC students who declare their intent in their freshman or early sophomore year will complete three years at UCSC and then move on to UC Hastings to begin the three-year law curriculum. Credits from the first year of law school will count toward a student's bachelor's degree. Students who successfully complete the first-year law course work will receive their bachelor's degree and be able to graduate with their UCSC class, then continue at UC Hastings for the final two years of law study.

Organic farm rows
Baskin Engineering Plaza


According to the National Science Foundation, UC Santa Cruz spent $155.5 million on research and development in 2012, ranking it 120th in the nation.[39]

Although designed as a liberal arts-oriented university, UCSC quickly acquired a graduate-level natural science research component with the appointment of plant physiologist Kenneth V. Thimann as the first provost of Crown College. Thimann developed UCSC's early Division of Natural Sciences and recruited other well-known science faculty and graduate students to the fledgling campus.[40] Immediately upon its founding, UCSC was also granted administrative responsibility for the Lick Observatory, which established the campus as a major center for astronomy research.[41] Founding members of the Social Science and Humanities faculty created the unique History of Consciousness graduate program in UCSC's first year of operation.[42]

Famous former UCSC faculty members include Judith Butler and Angela Davis.


  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • UC Santa Cruz Athletics
  • Lick Observatory
  • 2005 Long Range Development Plan
  • LRDP – Settled?: a student-written analysis of the LRDP agreement published by the City on the Hill Press
  • The Campus Guide: A Tour of the Natural Environment and Point of Historical Interest, written by Elizabeth Spedding Calciano and Ray Collett, 1973
  • History of the Cowell family and Cowell ranch

External links

  1. ^ a b "And Now For Some Facts". University of California, Santa Cruz. January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Annual Endowment Report, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2013; p.4" (PDF). Chief Investment Officer of the Regents of the University of California. Retrieved 2013-11-30lu. 
  3. ^ a b c "New, Continuing and Returning Students by College Affiliation 2013 Fall Quarter" (PDF). University of California, Santa Cruz Institutional Research and Policy Studies. 2013-11-26. 
  4. ^ "UC Financial Reports – Campus Facts in Brief" (PDF). University of California. 2010-11. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Print: Colors". Identity Guidelines. UC Santa Cruz. November 3, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Banana Slug Mascot". Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  7. ^ Doyle, William T. (October 1, 2006). "What the city council has not told us about university expansion". Santa Cruz Sentinel (MediaNews Group). Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  8. ^ McHenry, Dean E. (1974). Spedding Calciano, Elizabeth, ed. Volume II The University of California, Santa Cruz: Its Origins, Architecture, Academic Planning and Early Faculty Appointments 1958–1968 (PDF). UC Santa Cruz. p. 59. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Long Range Development Plan, University of California Santa Cruz" (PDF). UC Santa Cruz Campus Planning Committee. October 21, 1963. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Santa Cruz: Historical Overview". University of California History Digital Archives. Regents of the University of California. June 18, 2004. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  11. ^ Stadtman, Verne A. (1967). "Santa Cruz". The Centennial Record of the University of California, 1868–1968. Regents of the University of California. pp. 503–504. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  12. ^ Burchyns, Tony (June 25, 2006). "It's been 45 years since UCSC was founded – and Santa Cruz was irrecoverably changed". Santa Cruz Sentinel (MediaNews Group). Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Burns, Jim (March 17, 1998). "Dean E. McHenry, founding chancellor of UC Santa Cruz, dies at 87". Currents (University of California Santa Cruz) 2 (30). Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  14. ^ Burchyns, Tony (July 2, 2006). "Unlike its nondescript past, UC Santa Cruz's future takes center stage". Santa Cruz Sentinel (MediaNews Group). Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ Kerr, Clark (2001). The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949–1967 Volume I: Academic Triumphs. University of California Press. p. 261.  
  16. ^ Seals, Brian (July 10, 2005). "35 years later, students’ environmental report seems prescient".  
  17. ^ Burchyns, Tony (July 9, 2006). "1980s ushered in discussion of UCSC expansion that continues today".  
  18. ^ Honig, Tom (June 4, 2004). "Santa Cruz was once Reagan country".  
  19. ^ Marshall, Carolyn (January 27, 2007). "As College Grows, a City Is Asking, ‘Who Will Pay?’".  
  20. ^ Burchyns, Tony (July 16, 2006). "Tie-dyed philosophy majors of the past make way for pencil-protected science majors".  
  21. ^ Bookwalter, Genevieve (August 9, 2008). "Suits over UCSC growth settled: City, county, neighbors reach deal; university agrees to concessions over roads, water and housing".  
  22. ^ Krieger, Lisa M. (September 30, 2007). "Think of UCSC as UC-Silicon Valley, new chancellor says".  
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  26. ^ "Parks and Recreation – Pogonip". Retrieved May 4, 2006. 
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  32. ^ "CAMPUS LIFE: California, Santa Cruz; Redwood Haven Inspires Battle Over an Elfland". New York Times. January 12, 1992. Retrieved April 12, 2008. 
  33. ^ "UCSC Walking Map". Archived from the original on September 1, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Flickr: Oaks Path Night". Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  35. ^ Tovin Lapan, "UCSC attempts to stop students from climbing campus favorite 'Tree Nine' " ' 'Santa Cruz Sentinel' ' , October 3, 2010
  36. ^ UCSC campus map showing cave location, Empire Cave. Retrieved October 27, 2006.
  37. ^ "UC Santa Cruz – Academic Programs". Retrieved May 27, 2009. 
  38. ^ "University of California, Santa Cruz (Statistics)". The Princeton Review. Retrieved June 29, 2006.  (Note: Registration required)
  39. ^ "Rankings by total R&D expenditures". National Science Foundation. 
  40. ^ Jarrell, Randall (1997). "Kenneth V. Thimann: Early UCSC History and the Founding of Crown College". Regional History Project. University of California, Santa Cruz. pp. 11–34. Archived from the original on July 14, 2006. Retrieved May 14, 2009. 
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  43. ^ Ragan, Tom (July 31, 2005). "Country’s oldest organic school hails from UC Santa Cruz".  
  44. ^ Kreiger, Kathy (October 10, 2002). "Apprentices spread UC farm techniques far and wide".  
  45. ^ "Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering". Santa Cruz: University of California. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  46. ^ Abate, Tom (August 7, 2000). "UC Santa Cruz Puts Human Genome Online, Programming wizard does job in 4 weeks". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 4, 2008. 
  47. ^ Wade, Nickolas (February 13, 2001). "Reading the book of life; Grad Student Becomes Gene Effort's Unlikely Hero". New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2008. 
  48. ^ "UCSC Genome Browser". Santa Cruz: University of California. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  49. ^ "Center for Adaptive Optics". Santa Cruz:  
  50. ^ "UARC – Index". Retrieved May 4, 2006. 
  51. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2014-United States". ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
  52. ^ "America's Top Colleges". LLC™. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  53. ^ "Best Colleges". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  54. ^ "About the Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  55. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2014-United States". ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
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  57. ^ "World University Rankings". THE Education Ltd. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  58. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2015: National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. 
  59. ^ "Kiplinger's Best Values in Public Colleges".  
  60. ^ "Money's Best Colleges". Money. 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  61. ^ "The Daily Beast's Guide to the Best Colleges 2013". The Daily Beast. October 16, 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  62. ^ "Washington Monthly ranking". Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  63. ^ "World University Rankings 2013-2014". Times Higher Education. 
  64. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2013". 
  65. ^ -2013"QS World University Rankings". Quacquarelli Symonds. 
  66. ^ "Economics web site ranks UCSC sixth in the world for research on international finance". Retrieved November 12, 2009. 
  67. ^ "UCSC ranked 1st in High Times 2007". Retrieved October 14, 2008. 
  68. ^ "UCSC ranked in top 50 for Game Design". Retrieved November 5, 2010. 
  69. ^ "Top Graduate Schools for Video Game Design 2011". 
  70. ^ Franek, Robert. The Best 376 Colleges, 2012 Edition. The Princeton Review. Print.
  71. ^ a b c d e f "UCSC General Catalog 2004–2006 (The Colleges section)". Archived from the original on June 27, 2006. Retrieved June 29, 2006. 
  72. ^ "Undergraduate Admission Statistics - Fall Frosh and Transfer Application Summaries". UC Santa Cruz Institutional Research, Assessment & Policy Studies. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  73. ^ "Another record year for undergraduate applications to UC Santa Cruz". University of California Newscenter. 2014-01-17. 
  74. ^ "UC Santa Cruz increases admission to California freshmen for fall 2014". University of California Newscenter. 2014-04-18. 
  75. ^ "Common Data Set 2013-2014". University of California, Santa Cruz. 
  76. ^ Schevitz, Tanya (February 24, 2000). "UC Santa Cruz To Start Using Letter Grades".  
  77. ^ "UCSC Discover – Academics". Archived from the original on June 19, 2006. Retrieved June 29, 2006. 
  78. ^ "UCSC Special Collections—Introduction". Retrieved May 4, 2006. 
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  80. ^ Brown, J.M. (April 25, 2008). "UCSC's McHenry Library gets a facelift steeped in 'green' design principles".  
  81. ^ McKinley, Jesse (April 24, 2008). "A Deadhead’s Dream for a Campus Archive". New York Times. Retrieved April 24, 2008. 
  82. ^ McMahon, Regan (April 24, 2008). "Grateful Dead archives going to UC Santa Cruz". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 24, 2008. 
  83. ^ Brown, J.M. (April 24, 2008). "Slugs and Roses: Grateful Dead to donate memorabilia to UC Santa Cruz archives".  
  84. ^ Brown, J.M. (April 25, 2008). "Grateful Dead says UC Santa Cruz proposed sweetest deal to store archives".  
  85. ^ Clark, Don (April 24, 2008). "California University Gets 'Grateful Dead' Archive". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 25, 2008. 
  86. ^ "Undergraduate and Graduate Students by Ethnicity and Class Level 2013 Fall Quarter" (PDF). UCSC Office of Institutional Research and Policy Studies. 2013-11-26. 
  87. ^ "Regional Origin of New Frosh and Transfers 2013 Fall Quarter" (PDF). UCSC Office of Institutional Research and Policy Studies. 2013-11-26. 
  88. ^ Kershaw, Sarah (January 14, 2006). "A Protest, a Spy Program and a Campus in an Uproar".  
  89. ^ Seals, Brian; Dunlap, Tom (February 11, 2006). "Pentagon removes UCSC from 'credible threat' list".  
  90. ^ Sideman, Roger (April 20, 2007). "Military recruiters back out of UC Santa Cruz job fair".  
  91. ^ Brown, J.M. (April 23, 2008). "Anti-war students disrupt career fair at UC Santa Cruz, but military recruiters stick around – Santa Cruz Sentinel".  
  92. ^ Brown, J.M. (May 6, 2008). "UCSC sixth-best college for green power".  
  93. ^ King, Matt (April 24, 2007). "Thousands at UCSC burn one to mark pot holiday".  
  94. ^ Brown, J.M. (April 18, 2008). "UCSC takes security measures for '4/20".  
  95. ^ Ragan, Tom (April 22, 2008). "Police: Pot-smoking event in UCSC meadow 'a moral slap in the face".  
  96. ^ Moersen, Scott (October 12, 2006). "A Naked Run Through Campus".  
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  101. ^ Blumenfield, Zoe (March 18, 2007). "SCTV looks to the future: Students say lights, camera, action". Retrieved April 12, 2008. 
  102. ^ Sideman, Roger (October 8, 2006). "UCSC students aim to 'disorient' one another".  
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  106. ^ Sideman, Roger (June 26, 2006). "KZSC Radio turns up the juice — more powerful transmitter being installed".  
  107. ^ "The Film Production Coalition". Santa Cruz: University of California. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  108. ^ "Student Housing Services". Retrieved April 16, 2008. 
  109. ^
  110. ^ Fraternity Life#cite note-6
  111. ^ Kappa Gamma Delta - Kappa Gamma Delta- UC Santa Cruz, Zeta Chapter
  112. ^
  113. ^ "History of the Sustainability Office". Sustainability Office. UCSC Sustainability Office. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  114. ^ "UCSC men's tennis team wins sixth national championship".  
  115. ^ Moses, Ryan (June 6, 2008). "UCSC to cut men's and women's water polo teams –".  
  116. ^ "UCSC Men's Volleyball Semifinals of NCAA".  
  117. ^ Moses, Ryan (November 26, 2007). "Athletic director Linda Spradley spends her days keeping UCSC's teams afloat".  
  118. ^ "UCSC to play basketball games in Warriors arena". November 6, 2013. 
  119. ^ "Women's rugby team wins Division II national championship". Currents (University of California, Santa Cruz) 10 (36). May 8, 2006. Retrieved January 29, 2008. 
  120. ^ "Slug Run rekindles UCSC track tradition".  
  121. ^ Cross Country Club Stays Strong, Despite Running on Fumes | City on a Hill Press
  122. ^ Conley, Mark (May 26, 2006). "UCSC students say yes to playing, no to watching".  
  123. ^ "Leading in the New Millennium" (PDF). UCSC University Relations. Retrieved October 15, 2006. 
  124. ^ "Proving that slime is on their side, Santa Cruz students make the slug their mascot?". June 16, 1986. Archived from the original on August 29, 2011. 
  125. ^ "Off To College: What Name's Got Game?". Retrieved July 4, 2008. 
  126. ^ The full pages spread on page 85 of People featuring UCSC's mascot choice.
  127. ^ "Banana Slug About Us". Oxford West. Retrieved February 29, 2008. 
  128. ^ "UCSC General Catalog 2004–2006: Student Life (Banana Slug Mascot section)". Archived from the original on February 20, 2006. Retrieved May 4, 2006. 

Notes and references

See also

A sea lion statue can still be seen in front of the Thimann Hall lecture building.[128]

The "Fiat Slug" logo prominently featured on campus is a trademark of UCSC owned by the Regents. It was developed by two students during the mascot controversy, who later incorporated as "Oxford West" and licensed their design from the Regents to produce clothing inspired by the university. The slug also is featured along with the school's logo on Vincent Vega's T-shirt in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction.[127]

The June 16, 1986, issue of People magazine featured a full-page spread dedicated to the selection of the Banana Slug as the official mascot of UCSC.[124] In February 2008, ESPN Sports Travel named the UCSC Banana Slug as one of the ten best nicknames in college basketball.[125][126]

UCSC's mascot is the banana slug[6] (specifically, Ariolimax dolichophallus),[123] In 1975 the UCSC club soccer team chose the mascot the "Banana Slugs". UCSC had no formal team sports (and no fraternities) at the time, therefore they had no mascot. Three team members, Larry DeGhetaldi, Fred Bicknell, Sven Steinmo and their roommate, Richard Hedges, chose to name the team the Banana Slugs before an All Cal tournament. They felt that UCSC should have a mascot too. The team's unusual name was noted by the San Jose Mercury News after the team suffered an humiliating defeat against the San Jose State Spartans. Several years later, when the "club" basketball team became more formalized (with a coach and expanded schedule), the athletic director at the time, Terry Warner, informed the team that they needed to have a mascot and that it had been chosen to be the Sea Lions. The team summarily rejected that name, claiming to not need any mascot. As such, their uniforms simply said "UCSC" on them. In 1981, when the university began more formally participating in NCAA intercollegiate sports, the then-chancellor and some student athletes declared the mascot to be the "sea lions." Most students disliked the new mascot and offered an alternative mascot, the banana slug. In 1986, students voted via referendum to declare the banana slug the official mascot of UCSC – a vote the chancellor refused to honor, arguing that only athletes should choose the mascot. When a poll of athletes showed that they, too, wanted to be "Slugs", the chancellor relented.

Banana slug (Ariolimax dolichophallus) at UCSC


Approximately 25% of the student population participates in intramural athletics, which tend to be better funded than the intercollegiate athletic programs.[122]

Although UCSC never had a track, the residential colleges regularly competed in an improvised "Slug Run" every spring from 1967 to 1982,[120] though the Run now is a community event and fundraiser event hosted by the cross-country club for much needed fund to pay for entry fees, hotel, and transportation to race.[121]

UCSC also fields a men's lacrosse team, which competes against other western universities in the WCLL. After a highly successful 2008 season, the team traveled to Texas for nationals.

In addition to its NCAA sports, UCSC maintains a number of successful club sides including its women's rugby team, which won the Division II National Collegiate Championship during its '05–'06 season and has competed at Nationals several times since, most recently in 2010 and 2013.[119]

Starting in 2013, both men's and women's basketball teams played downtown at the Kaiser Permanente Arena.[118]

In 2012, the Men's Volleyball Team made a Division III NCAA Semifinal's appearance.[116] In 2013, the Men's Volleyball Team qualified for a second appearance to the Division III NCAA Tournament. UCSC is one of the largest but one of the least funded NCAA Division III members.[117]

By defeating Emory to win the 2007 National Championship in men's tennis, UCSC has won six men's tennis team championships.[114] The Banana Slugs were also runners-up in men's soccer in 2004. In the 2006 season, the men's water polo team won the Division III championship, as well as an overall ranking of 19th in the nation. However, both the men and women's water polo teams were cut in 2008 due to budget constraints.[115]

UCSC competes in Division III of the NCAA as an Independent member. There are twelve varsity sports (men's and women's basketball, tennis, soccer, volleyball, swimming and diving, women's golf, and women's cross country). UCSC teams are nationally ranked in tennis, soccer, men's volleyball, and swimming.

East Field


  • Alliance to Save Energy's Power Save Green Campus Program (formerly known as Green Campus Program)
  • Arboretum
  • California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC)
  • Campus Sustainability Council (CSC)
  • Campus Sustainability Office
  • Carbon Fund
  • Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems
  • Center for Global, International and Regional Studies
  • College Eight: Nurturing Green Entrepreneurs
  • Community Agroecology Network (CAN)
  • Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP)
  • Environmental Studies Department
  • Friends of the Community Agroecology Network (FoCAN)
  • Friends of the Sustainability Office (FoSO)
  • Kresge Garden
  • Meatless Mondays, Beefless Thursdays & Farm Fridays in the dining halls
  • Path to a Greener Stevenson (PTAGS)
  • Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA)
  • Program Recognizing Offices Practicing Sustainability (PROPS), a green office certification program
  • Site Stewardship Program
  • Student Environmental Center (SEC)
  • Student Environmental Center (SEC)
  • UCSC Climate Change Research Resources
  • UCSC Greenhouses
  • UCSC Museum of Natural History Collections
  • UCSC Natural Reserves
  • UCSC Sustainability Engineering and Ecological Design

The following is a list of UCSC sustainability organizations, departments, gardens, and funding bodies on the UCSC campus:


  • UC Policy on Sustainable Practices released in 2004.
  • Student Environmental Center (SEC) established in 2001.


  • Pilot Sustainability Office established with funding until 2009.
  • Sustainability Coordinator hired, along with two student interns.
  • Chancellor signs the Climate Action Compact and the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
  • UC Policy on Sustainable Practices expanded.
  • Green Campus Program, a student internship program for energy efficiency, water conservation, and green jobs development, developed.
  • Committee on Sustainability and Stewardship (CSS) established, 2006.
  • Campus-wide Sustainability Assessment completed in 2006


  • Pilot Sustainability Office moved to Physical Planning and Construction.
  • Chancellor's Council on Climate Change (CCCC) launches with the help of the Sustainability Office.


  • The Sustainability Office receives funding for the years 2009-2012.
  • Sustainability Coordinator promoted to Sustainability Manager.
  • New Sustainability Coordinator and Sustainability Project Liaison hired, along with 4 student interns.
  • Draft Climate Action Plan released.


  • Release of Campus Sustainability Plan 1.0.
  • New Sustainability Internship Coordinator and Climate Action Manager hired, along with 20 student interns.
  • Students pass fee measures to fund student engagement with the Sustainability Office and climate protection projects.
  • Over $180,000 in grant funding establishes IDEASS, a collaboratively organized campus and community sustainability internship program.
  • Host of 2nd Annual Sustainability Celebration and Planning Session.
  • Ongoing support for the Committee on Sustainability and Stewardship and eight associated Sustainability Working Groups.
  • Chancellor's Executive Committee on Sustainability and Climate Change established (replacing CCCC).


  • Climate Action Plan moved to the Sustainability Office.
  • Campus Sustainability Plan revised and version 1.5 released.
  • New Climate Action Manager, Sustainability Internship Coordinator, and Sustainability Coordinator hired, along with near 30 student interns.
  • Carbon Fund launched.
  • Landfill and Waste Diversion Task Force established in order to achieve Zero Waste by 2020.
  • Pilot Sustainability Internship Program (IDEASS), hosts approximately 25–30 interns in for-credit course working on campus and community projects, collaboratively organized with Engineering and Social Sciences.
  • Launch of Friends of the Sustainability Office (FoSO), a student organization dedicated to train student leaders and outreach to the campus about sustainability efforts, events, and opportunities.
  • Launch of Students for Sustainability through Institutional Transformation and Engagement (SSITE), a student organization that focuses on policy, student professional training, and institutional change.
  • Creation of an online Sustainability Project Clearinghouse to document completed, ongoing, and potential sustainability projects and match students with staff and faculty partners.
  • Host of 3rd Annual Sustainability Celebration
  • Pilot of green office certification program, Program Recognizing Offices Practicing Sustainability (PROPS) completed.
  • Host of Inter-organization sustainability retreat, featuring over 80 student leaders.
  • Assessed UCSC according to AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking and Rating System (STARS).



Though UCSC has been known for its conservation efforts and environmentally minded students since it was founded, since 2000 enthusiasm for the UCSC sustainability movement has grown steadily among students and administrators alike. Students established the Student Environmental Center (SEC) in 2001, have held annual Earth Summits, and established a sustainability funding body, the Campus Sustainability Council. In 2004, the UC Policy on Sustainable Practices was released, stating that the University of California Office of the President was committed to minimizing its impact on the environment and reducing its dependence on non-renewable energy. This set the scene for huge breakthroughs in 2006, when a Committee on Sustainability and Stewardship (CSS) was established and a campus-wide Sustainability Assessment was completed. The following year, the pilot Sustainability Office was created to help institutionalize sustainability, coordinate communication and collaboration between the many entities already engaged in campus sustainability activities at UCSC, support policy implementation, and serve as a resource for the campus.[113] Sustainability has become a major part of every aspect of the campus, and students, staff, and faculty campus-wide are working toward sustainability in a variety of different ways.


Aside from social fraternities and sororities on campus, there are also a number of professional organizations as well. There are Kappa Gamma Delta,[111] a prehealth sorority, Sigma Mu Delta, a prehealth fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, a coed service fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta, a pre-law fraternity, and Delta Sigma Pi, a co-ed professional business fraternity.[112]

Greek life at UCSC includes fraternities Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Lambda Gamma, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, alpha Kappa Delta Phi, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Sigma Pi Alpha, Tri Chi, Sigma Omicron Pi, Kappa Zeta, and Alpha Psi. The most recent addition to Greek life at UCSC was Lambda Theta Alpha, a Latina sorority which was established in Fall 2012.

In 2003, the campus gained national notoriety when MTV's reality show Fraternity Life documented the lives of students pledging Delta Omega Chi. During the shooting, a few of the students fished a 15-year-old koi named Midas out of a pond at Porter College, barbecued it, and ate it. Since the incident was captured on video, the individuals involved were charged with misdemeanor grand theft and vandalism.[110]

UCSC is home to few fraternities and sororities. The first Greek organization on campus, Theta Chi, was given colony status on January 10, 1987 and chartered on October 14, 1989 (designation: Theta Iota). In the beginning, fraternities like Theta Chi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon were met with strong opposition from the student body. Student groups like P.A.C. (People's Alternative Community), S.A.G.E. (Students Against Greek Environments), and M.A.C. (Men's Alternative Community) protested the existence of Greek life at the UCSC campus.[109]

Greek life

In addition to the residential colleges, housing is available at the Village on the lower quarry, populated by continuing, transfer, and graduate students; the Redwood Grove Apartments, usually available to applicants from all colleges, is reserved for Porter affiliates in 2014-15; and the University Town Center, located downtown, that primarily serves international students. The Transfer Community houses over 400 new transfer students and is located at Porter College. Graduate Student Housing is available near Science Hill, and UCSC also offers Family Student Housing units as well as a Camper Park for student-owned trailers and RVs.[108]

All of the colleges, except for Kresge, have both residence halls and apartments. Kresge is all apartments. Apartments are typically shared by four to eight students, have common living/dining rooms, kitchens and bathrooms, and a combination of shared and private bedrooms. Apartments at colleges other than Kresge are generally reserved for students above the freshman level.

Most of the UCSC undergraduate housing is affiliated with one of the ten residential colleges. The residence halls, which include both shared and private rooms, typically house fifteen to twenty students per floor and have common bathrooms and lounge areas. Some halls have coed floors where men and women share bathroom facilities, others have separate bathroom facilities for men and women. Single-gender, gender-neutral and substance-free floors are also available.


  • City on a Hill Press, a weekly publication that serves as the traditional campus newspaper.
  • Fish Rap Live!, the alternative, comedic paper.
  • TWANAS, the Third World and Native American Student Press Collective publishes issues about every quarter for various communities of color at UCSC. Its peak years were during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
  • Student Cable Television (SCTV) disbanded at the beginning of the 2010 academic school year. On The Spot (OTS), replaced the defunct SCTV organization, continuing the student-run television opportunities. On The Spot airs on channel 28 only on campus.[101]
  • The Moxie Production Group, which produces content on a quarterly basis.
  • The Project, a quarterly paper, for UCSC's radical community.
  • The Disorientation Guide, published on sporadic years, introduces new students to UCSC's radical history and various political issues that face the campus and community.[102]
  • Rapt Magazine, a quarterly literary and arts magazine.
  • Leviathan Jewish Journal'', a Jewish student life publication.
  • On The Spot, a student-run broadcast media organization, that produces a variety of shows including Press Center Live (Sketch-Comedy), ART (Music videos), and game shows.
  • Banana Slug News, a television broadcast news program.
  • Chinquapin, an open-ended creative journal sponsored by the creative writing department.[103]
  • Turnstile, a poetry journal.
  • "Gaia Magazine," a magazine about environmental and sustainability subjects that is published once a year.
  • Red Wheelbarrow, a "literary arts" journal.[104]
  • Matchbox Magazine, an annual humanities publication, started at UCSC, that operates across many UC campuses.[105]
  • KZSC, the student-run campus radio station.[106]
  • Santa Cruz Indymedia, a local activist resource with a lot of UCSC content.
  • The Film Production Coalition which produces films on a quarterly basis.[107]

All Student media organizations are funded by a student council referendum of $3.20 per student per quarter.[100]

Student media

The Student Union Assembly was founded in 1985 to better coordinate bargaining positions between students and administration on campus-wide issues.[97] All the residential colleges and six ethnic and gender-based organizations send delegates to SUA.[98] There is a total of 138 recognized student groups as of 2008.[99]

Student government

Another well known tradition is what is known as "First Rain". Students run around campus naked or nearly naked to celebrate the school year's first night of heavy rain. The run begins at Porter and proceeds to travel through all the other colleges, collecting more students in its train.[96]

UC Santa Cruz is also well known for its cannabis culture. On April 20, 2007, approximately 2,000 UCSC students gathered at Porter Meadow to celebrate the annual "420". Students and others openly smoked marijuana while campus police stood by.[93] The once student-only event has grown since the city of Santa Cruz passed Measure K in 2006, an ordinance making marijuana use a low-priority crime for police. The 2007 event attracted a total of 5,000 participants. The university does not condone the gathering, but has taken steps to regulate the event and ensure security for all participants. On April 20, 2010, the school administration shut down the west entrance to campus and limited the amount of buses that could drive through campus.[94][95]

UCSC students are known for political activism. In 2005, a Pentagon surveillance program deemed student opposition to military recruiters on campus a "credible threat," the only campus antiwar action to receive the designation.[88] In February 2006, Chancellor Denice Denton got the designation removed.[89] Military recruiters declined to return to UCSC the following year, but returned in 2008 to a more low-keyed student reception and protests using elements of guerrilla theatre, rather than vandalism or physical violence.[90][91] Thanks to students passing a $3 quarterly tuition increase to support buying renewable energy in 2006, UCSC is the sixth-largest buyer of renewable energy among college campuses nationwide.[92]

Students and others gather for a "420 Day" event in Porter Meadow at the University of California, Santa Cruz, campus on April 20, 2007.
KZSC lounge
Quarry Plaza
Student Union
Regional Origin of 2013 Freshmen [87] Percent
Monterey Bay area and Santa Clara Valley 11.4%
San Francisco Bay Area 27.8%
Northern California 1.3%
East Central California 13.1%
Los Angeles-South Coast 29.0%
San Diego and desert areas 10.2%
Other US states 4.1%
Foreign 3.0%
Unknown 0.0%
Ethnicity, Fall 2013[86] Under-
White American 36.8%
Hispanic and Latino Americans 30.2%
Asian American 20.5%
Two or More Races 7.0%
African American 2.0%
International 1.1%
Native American 0.2%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian 0.2%
Unknown 2.2%
Though UCSC students come from throughout the United States and the world, most are from California. The following tables show the ethnic and regional breakdown of the student body:

Student life

In 2008, UCSC agreed to house the Grateful Dead archives at the McHenry Library.[81][82] UCSC plans to devote an entire room at the library, to be called "Dead Central," to display the collection and encourage research.[83] UCSC beat out petitions from Stanford and UC Berkeley to house the archives. Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir said that UCSC is "a seat of neo-Bohemian culture that we're a facet of. There could not have been a cozier place for this collection to land."[84] Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and Dead fans Roger McNamee and Bill Watkins are expected to join a committee to oversee and raise funds for the project.[85] The archive became open to the public July 29, 2012.

Grateful Dead archive

A 82,000-square-foot (7,600 m2) new addition to the library opened on March 31, 2008, including a "cyber study" room and a Global Village café. The original 144,000-square-foot (13,400 m2) library reopened on June 22, 2011 after seismic upgrades and other renovations.[79][80]

The McHenry Library houses UCSC's arts and letters collection, with most of the scientific reading at the newer Science and Engineering Library. The McHenry Library was designed by John Carl Warnecke.[41] In addition, the colleges host smaller libraries, which serve as quiet places to study. The McHenry Special Collections Library includes the archives of Robert A. Heinlein, the largest collection of Edward Weston photographs in the country, the mycology book collection of composer John Cage, a large collection of works by Satyajit Ray, the Hayden White collection of 16th-century Italian printing, a photography collection with nearly half a million items, and the Mary Lea Shane Archive. The latter contains an extensive collection of photographs, letters, and other documents related to Lick Observatory dating back to 1870.[78]

McHenry Library stacks


For most of its history, UCSC employed a unique student evaluation system. With the exception of the choice of letter grades in science courses the only grades assigned were "pass" and "no record", supplemented with narrative evaluations. Beginning in 1997, UCSC allowed students the option of selecting letter grade evaluations, but course grades were still optional until 2000, when faculty voted to require students receive letter grades. Students were still given narrative evaluations to complement the letter grades. As of 2010, the narrative evaluations were deemed an unnecessary expenditure. Still, some professors write evaluations for all students while some would write evaluations for specific students upon request.[76] Students can still elect to receive a "pass/no pass" grade, but many academic programs limit or even forbid pass/no pass grading. A grade of C and above would receive a grade of "pass". Overall, students may now earn no more than 25% of their UCSC credits on a "pass/no pass" basis. Although the default grading option for almost all courses offered is now "graded", most course grades are still accompanied by written evaluations.[77]


For the fall 2013 term, UCSC offered admission to 20,039 freshmen out of 38,640 applicants, an acceptance rate of 51.9%. The entering freshman class had an average high school GPA of 3.66, and the middle 50% range of SAT scores were 490-630 for critical reading, 510-650 for math, and 490-630 for writing.[75]

First-Time Enrolled Freshman Profile[72][73][74]
2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Freshman Applicants 40,687 38,640 33,142 28,236 27,658 27,249
Admitted 23,176 20,039 20,178 19,228 17,843 17,490
% Admitted
Average GPA
Average SAT
(out of 2400)


Each of the colleges has its own, distinctive architectural style and a resident faculty provost, who is the nominal head of his or her college.[71] An incoming first-year student will take a mandatory "core course" within his or her respective college, with a curriculum and central theme unique to that college.[71] College resident populations vary from about 750 to 1,550 students, with roughly half of undergraduates living on campus within their college community or in smaller, intramural campus communities such as the International Living Center, the Trailer Park, and the Village.[71] Coursework, academic majors and general areas of study are not limited by college membership, although colleges host the offices of many academic departments. Graduate students are not affiliated with a residential college, though a large portion of their offices, too, have historically tended to be based in the colleges. The ten colleges are, in order of establishment:

The undergraduate program, with only the partial exception of those majors run through the University's School of Engineering, is still based on the version of the "residential college system" outlined by Clark Kerr and Dean McHenry at the inception of their original plans for the campus (see History, above). Upon admission, all undergraduate students have the opportunity to choose one of ten colleges, with which they usually stay affiliated for their entire undergraduate careers.[71] There are cases where some students switch college affiliations as each college holds a different graduation ceremony. Almost all faculty members are affiliated with a college as well.[71] The individual colleges provide housing and dining services, while the university as a whole offers courses and majors to the general student community.[71] Other universities with similar college systems include Rice University and the University of California, San Diego.

Approaching Baskin Engineering from McLaughlin Drive

Residential colleges

In 2009, RePEc, an online database of research economics articles, ranked the UCSC Economics Department sixth in the world in the field of international finance.[66] In 2007, High Times magazine placed UCSC as first among US universities as a "counterculture college."[67] In 2009, The Princeton Review (with Gamepro magazine) ranked UC Santa Cruz's Game Design major among the top 50 in the country.[68] In 2011, The Princeton Review and Gamepro Media ranked UC Santa Cruz's graduate programs in Game Design as seventh in the nation.[69] In 2012, UCSC was ranked No. 3 in the Most Beautiful Campus list of Princeton Review.[70]

UC Santa Cruz was 85th in the list of Best National Universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report '​s 2015 rankings.[58] In 2013 Kiplinger ranked UC Santa Cruz 54th out of the top 100 best-value public colleges and universities in the nation, and 8th in California.[59] Money Magazine ranked UC Santa Cruz 261st in the country out of the nearly 1500 schools it evaluated for its 2014 Best Colleges ranking.[60] The Daily Beast ranked UC Santa Cruz 157th in the country out of the nearly 2000 schools it evaluated for its 2013 Best Colleges ranking.[61] In 2012, it was ranked 67th best by Washington Monthly.[62] In 2014–2015, UC Santa Cruz was rated 109th in the world by Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[63] In 2014 it was ranked 93rd in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities[64] and 307th worldwide in 2013 by the QS World University Rankings.[65]

University rankings
ARWU[51] 50
Forbes[52] 218
U.S. News & World Report[53] 85
Washington Monthly[54] 67
ARWU[55] 93
QS[56] 265
Times[57] 109


Off-campus research facilities maintained by UCSC include the Lick and Keck Observatories and the Long Marine Laboratory. In September 2003, a ten-year task order contract valued at more than $330 million was awarded by NASA Ames Research Center to the University of California to establish and operate a University Affiliated Research System (UARC). UCSC manages the UARC for the University of California.[50]

As of 2012, UCSC's faculty and emeriti include 13 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 26 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and 35 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[1] The young Baskin School of Engineering, UCSC's first professional school and home to the Expressive Intelligence Studio, and the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering[45] are gaining recognition, as has the work that UCSC researchers David Haussler and Jim Kent have done on the Human Genome Project,[46][47] including the widely used UCSC Genome Browser.[48] UCSC administers the National Science Foundation's Center for Adaptive Optics.[49]


The UCSC campus is also one of the few homes to Mima Mounds in the United States. They are extremely rare in the United States and in the world in general.

There are a number of natural points of interest throughout the UCSC grounds. The "Porter Caves" are a popular site among students on the west side of campus. The entrance is located in the forest between the Porter College meadow and Empire Grade Road. The caves wind through a set of caverns, some of which are challenging, narrow passages. Tree Nine is another popular destination for students. A large Douglas Fir spanning approximately 103 feet (31 m) tall, Tree Nine is located in the upper campus of UCSC behind College Nine. The tree had been a popular climbing spot for many years but due to environmental corrosion and fear of student injuries, UC ground services sawed off the limbs to make it nearly impossible to climb.[35] For specific directions, reference: directions to Tree Nine For the less experienced tree-climber, students also frequent Sunset Tree located on the east side of the meadow behind the UCSC Music Center.[36]

Creeks traverse the UCSC campus within several ravines. Footbridges span those ravines on pedestrian paths linking various areas of campus. The footbridges make it possible to walk to any part of campus within 20 minutes in spite of the campus being built on a mountainside with varying elevations.[33] At night, orange lights illuminate the occasionally fogged-in paths.[34]

A number of shrines, dens and other student-built curiosities are scattered around the northern campus. These structures, mostly assembled from branches and other forest detritus, were formerly concentrated in the area known as Elfland, a glen the University razed in 1992 to build colleges Nine and Ten. Students were able to relocate and save some of the structures, however.[31][32]

Bridge across ravine.

The 6,088-acre (2,464 ha) UCSC campus is located 75 miles (121 km) south of San Francisco, in the Ben Lomond Mountain ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Elevation varies from 285 feet (87 m) at the campus entrance to 1,195 feet (364 m) at the northern boundary, a difference of about 900 feet (270 m). The southern portion of the campus primarily consists of a large, open meadow, locally known as the Great Meadow. To the north of the meadow lie most of the campus' buildings, many of them among redwood groves. The campus is bounded on the south by the city's upper-west-side neighborhoods, on the east by Harvey West Park[25] and the Pogonip open space preserve,[26] on the north by Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park[27] near the town of Felton, and on the west by Gray Whale Ranch, a portion of Wilder Ranch State Park.[28] The campus is built on a portion of the Cowell Family ranch, which was purchased by the University of California in 1961.[29] The northern half of the campus property has remained in its undeveloped, forested state apart from fire roads and hiking and bicycle trails. The heavily forested area has allowed UC Santa Cruz to operate a recreational vehicle park as a form of student housing.[30]

UCSC & Santa Cruz aerial view. The Great Meadow is the undeveloped area between city and university


In April 2010, UC Santa Cruz opened its new $35 million Digital Arts Research Center; a project in planning since 2004.[24]

George Blumenthal, UCSC's 10th Chancellor, intends to mitigate growth constraints in Santa Cruz by developing off-campus sites in Silicon Valley. The NASA Ames Research Center campus is planned to ultimately hold 2,000 UCSC students – about 10% of the entire university's future student body as envisioned for 2020.[22][23]


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