Athletes, math students, and cheerleaders converge at summer programs

Long after students vacate their dorms, the campus keeps buzzing with activity.

Summer is conference time, when 75 residential conference groups, and 10,000 people, flock here from June 20 through August 28. Faculty, academic departments, and professional associations sponsor academic programs, youth sports camps, and adult conferences.

These conferences are part of a longstanding tradition. One of this year's groups is USA Cheerleaders, which has been coming to campus every summer for the past 42 years.

"Several other groups have been coming here for 30 years," said Martha Keeler, assistant director for conference services. "We are lucky because we've got such a beautiful location. Our site sells itself: the views, the redwoods, the ocean. The other is the prestige."

The programs are held in classrooms and meeting spaces. Attendees make use of student housing during the conferences. Their registration fees covers dorm lodging, dining, and activities.

Coordinated by UCSC's Conference Services, these conferences gross nearly $4 million in 10 weeks. The net revenue helps reduce housing costs to students during the academic year.

Additionally, conference programs provide an important outreach to pre-college youth, and a chance to show off the campus to travelers from across the nation and all over the world.

Some of the adult groups include: Mandolin Symposium, which exposes students to the diversity of music and technique; the International Summer Institute for Modeling in Astrophysics (ISIMA), a UCSC-sponsored group of researchers dedicated to the study of astrophysics; and the International Conference on Retinal Proteins, sponsored by UCSC faculty and Developmental Biology, one of the premier meetings on the subject since 1992.

In the pre-collegiate age group, the campus will host Johns Hopkins University's academic program for talented youth, the Awesome Math program for gifted math students, and Soundwall, a camp for aspiring rock musicians.

To see a full list of summer groups, visit the Conference Services web site.