Start of our 2020 Long-Range Development Plan

To: UC Santa Cruz community

From: Chancellor George R. Blumenthal

We have had many reasons to celebrate recently—the naming of Rachel Carson College, a banner year in fundraising, our 50th anniversary. It’s wonderful looking back and celebrating where we’ve been. Now it is time to look at where we are going.

This month a group of representatives from the campus and the Santa Cruz community has started the task of charting our future here at UC Santa Cruz. These leaders, with input from you and the community as a whole, will do so through the creation of our 2020 Long-Range Development Plan, or 2020 LRDP. Our goal is to have a draft plan in hand by mid- to late 2018, at which point it will undergo a thorough environmental review.  

What exactly is an LRDP? Think of it like a city or county general plan. It designates areas for certain types of use or open space, but in and of itself, it does not mandate growth or areas of growth. It plans for growth if needed and funded. With the help of professional planners, we will first examine the existing use of our campus lands and facilities, of our housing and learning spaces. We will reaffirm our values and principles, and explore our role in our community and our obligation to the state.  

Our 2005 LRDP, updated more than a decade ago, identifies an enrollment envelope of 19,500 students. We are below that, at roughly 17,500, yet demand for a UC Santa Cruz education is at an all-time high, as is student diversity, reflecting the state. Our responsibility is figuring out how to educate the next generation of California leaders while also protecting what makes our campus special. Among the questions we aim to ask—and answer: How can we accommodate additional enrollment? Where do we plan for new facilities to meet the demands of emerging and unexplored areas of scholarship and knowledge? What would expansion of our existing footprint look like? Can we reimagine the use of existing buildings? How can we accomplish our goals and remain a good community partner?

Any growth has real effects on the surrounding community. For that reason, I strongly believe that this process must be collaborative. We will seek your input—and the greater community’s—as we strive to meet our obligation to California’s young adults and to be a good neighbor.  

This is not a new tack for us. We’ve been working in tandem with the community to tackle the difficult issues we together face. Chief among them is adequate housing for students and employees. Water use, environmental protection, and job creation are also vital to address, and this process allows for that.

As you’d expect, developing this contingent land-use plan will be challenging. None of the questions above are easy, but they’re important to tackle. In the end, I’m confident that together we can chart an innovative, sustainable, and exciting future for UCSC.

So please join me in this process. In the coming months there will be multiple opportunities to express your opinions and provide your input. We will have meetings on campus and off. We will engage with you in person and online. In the meantime, I am reaching out to local government officials and others to also let them know how this process will unfold.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me through my homepage.