Celebrating the start of a new academic year

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Cindy Larive

Welcome to the 2022-23 academic year! The start of classes each fall always brings such a wave of excitement. It is a time of promise and possibility for students, staff and faculty, the beginning of a defining experience for those new to our campus community and a next chapter for those who are returning.

UC Santa Cruz continues on an unprecedented trajectory. Our faculty, staff and students pursue research and scholarly and creative activities that are transforming society for the better while also playing a central role in the classroom experience, with students learning from those on the cutting edge of scholarship and knowledge creation.

We are here to support our students, give them tools and resources to help them succeed, and provide an unparalleled educational experience.

 The highlights

Working hard to increase housing for students
Do not hesitate to reach out to Slug Support
Getting the most out of your college experience
State recognizes our research excellence in climate change
Developing a shared vision for our future

More housing for students

We are seizing every opportunity to increase the amount of campus housing for students. We provide housing for about half of our undergraduates, yet we must do more. We are moving forward on near-term projects to build more housing and developing long-term plans that will enable us to continue to increase the availability of campus housing for students and employees.

California leaders are recognizing this urgent need and earmarked $89 million in this year’s state budget for our campus to expand the student housing component of our Kresge College renewal project. Once completed, Kresge will house close to 1,000 students, about 600 more beds than the 50-year-old residential college originally held. This project will allow us to house more students, and the grant funding helps to keep the project affordable, savings that ultimately benefit students. I am grateful for the state support. It is a big win for our campus and our students.

While we are welcoming approximately 5,100 new Banana Slugs to our campus this fall, a mix of first-year and transfer students, that number is about 800 fewer from fall 2021. We are carefully managing student enrollment as part of our effort to address the statewide housing crisis that is felt so acutely in our community.

Our effort to create more housing does not stop at Kresge. We remain committed to our already approved Student Housing West project. This development, delayed by lawsuits, will enable us to offer housing — roughly 3,000 beds — to graduate students and upper-division undergraduates who would otherwise be living in the greater community. We believe the project is a win for the campus and for the city.

We are also developing a multi-year housing plan that has projects in the planning, design and/or construction stage at all times. This will allow us to move on to another project if one is delayed, and to regularly deliver beds to meet our housing goals.

Slug Support is there when you need it

In the meantime, we are here to help students who are in need of support — housing, basic needs or any hurdle they are facing. Our Slug Support Program promotes early intervention to prevent problems from escalating into a crisis. Our friendly Slug Support team members work directly with students to help them overcome the barriers they are facing. Do not hesitate to reach out.

Get involved with campus life

In my experience, involvement is key to getting the most out of your college experience. I encourage you to take an active role in campus life. There are countless programs, college-focused events, academic opportunities, concerts, exhibits, recreational opportunities — you name it, we have it — available to you as UCSC students, staff and faculty. Check out our events calendar. Visit our many resource centers. See what’s happening at your college and in the Division of Student Affairs and Success. You never know what might inspire you, who you might meet or where your curiosity might lead you unless you take that first step!

Climate research excellence

The new state budget also included a $20 million grant to UC Santa Cruz to launch the Center for Innovation in Coastal Climate Resilience. This grant recognizes decades of ground-breaking work in marine-mammal research and ocean science by our faculty, staff and students. Focused on the coastal environment, where land and ocean meet, the center will accelerate work on nature-based solutions to climate change and build on our Coastal Science and Policy Masters program and Blue Pioneers Accelerator. Community engagement and climate justice will also be integrated across the work of the center. We are looking forward to sharing more about the center once it officially launches, but it is an honor for our campus to be singled out for research excellence in the most important issue of our day. I know that all involved on our campus are excited to translate our solutions-focused research and policy into action.

Strategic planning on tap

This is a pivotal year for UC Santa Cruz. In addition to the thinking, teaching, learning, researching, and creating that unfolds on our campus, we are going to have a campus-wide conversation about our strategic direction for the next decade. This process is an opportunity for all of us — students, faculty and staff — to work together to develop a shared vision for UCSC’s future and to align our work with our mission. A steering committee with members from all corners of campus has already been laying the groundwork, establishing central themes ranging from the creation of an unparalleled undergraduate education and student experience to continued distinction in research, scholarship and creative endeavors. The planning process will formally launch in October, and I urge your participation. Strategic planning succeeds when it reflects a wide range of perspectives. Your voice matters and we want to hear from you! I’ll soon share more details on how to get involved.

Wishing you all a successful, rewarding and meaningful academic year. Go Slugs!