UC Santa Cruz continues to meet, exceed community commitments

The campus continues to make advancements in the areas of housing, transportation, and water conservation

UC Santa Cruz has achieved or exceeded ambitious goals connected to student housing, transportation, and water conservation, according to an end-of-year analysis.

“UC Santa Cruz is proud of its track record providing a world-class education to students and conducting transformative research in the interest of society, while also working to be a good neighbor,” Sarah Latham, Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services said. “Our staff, faculty, and students are part of the community and we all want to ensure it continues to be a wonderful place to live.”

Founded with values rooted in environmental stewardship and social justice, UC Santa Cruz staff and faculty work every day to fulfill the university’s mission to educate California’s students while minimizing the university’s carbon footprint, carefully stewarding water use, and developing solutions to address the impacts of the local housing crisis on its students, faculty and staff.

As it thoughtfully plans for its next 20 years, the campus is committed to sustainable planning and setting—and achieving—ambitious environmental goals, all while providing a transformative experience for an increasingly diverse student body. 

The COVID-19 pandemic required UC Santa Cruz to shift to remote instruction in March 2020 and students were encouraged to return to their permanent residences. 

The response to the pandemic—which focused on mitigating spread of the virus—resulted in depopulation of the campus. Still, even when the year’s pandemic-driven measures are excluded, recent and historic data shows the campus living up to its promises:

  • UC Santa Cruz continues to increase on-campus housing options. Prior to the pandemic, the campus provided 9,401 beds for its students—10 percent above what is currently required—and is working to increase campus housing for its current student population. The campus is in the midst of renovating and renewing Kresge College, a project that will create more housing options, create a new 600-seat classroom, and provide more student support space. Kresge will be able to house up to 550 current students, about 180 more students than before the renewal.
  • The campus community continues to increase usage of alternative transportation. Six out of 10 people get to campus by alternative transportation, including biking, walking, transit, carpooling, and vanpools. Average daily trips to campus for the past decade have generally been 24 percent less than the 28,700 threshold identified in the target. The campus continues to develop and support programs that advance alternative transportation, including launching a bike library for students
  • Water continues to be carefully managed and conserved. UC Santa Cruz used 162.7 million gallons in 2019, far below the baseline usage of 206 million gallons in the target. Current per capita use has declined 40 percent from a three-year average in 2003-2005. A new irrigation system on the Lower East Field has reduced water usage by about one million gallons.