University launches new center, Campus + Community, to facilitate engaged scholarship

Panel at All-In Conference in October 2022
Panelists discussing community-engaged scholarship at the All-In Conference in October 2022.
Rebecca London
C+C Faculty Director Rebecca London at the All-In Conference in October 2022.

After more than 50 years of engagement in the region, UC Santa Cruz is launching a new center to coordinate campus and community connections for action-oriented scholarship that advances social justice.

Campus + Community (C + C) builds on previous efforts by the university to build meaningful local partnerships, such as the longstanding work of the Community Studies program, Santa Cruz Commons, and the UCSC Community Engagement Collaborative. 

“We wanted to provide a landing spot for the community, a central hub to facilitate new and established partnerships between UC Santa Cruz and community organizations that will impact our region and beyond,” said C + C Faculty Director Rebecca London. “We are proud to stand on the shoulders of the many others before us and make this happen for the communities we serve.”

An informal kickoff to C + C took place at last October’s All-In Conference, co-hosted by the Institute of Social Transformation (IST) and the Urban Based Action Research Network. The three-day event brought together more than 400 university scholars, students, community organizers, foundation representatives, artists, and activists to discuss collaborations centered on achieving structural change and social justice. 

During the event, Chancellor Cynthia Larive remarked that C + C is “not just about studying and publishing. It’s really about community-engaged research with the goal of change.” 

Glenn Mitoma, managing director of IST and C + C, agrees that the two centers are committed to advancing scholarship to make positive change. C + C is also partnering with The Humanities Institute, the Arts Research Institute, and other faculty, staff, instructors, and students across divisions and colleges to help build capacity for equitable collaboration that serves the entire region.

“Our goal with C + C is to provide new levels of visibility and coordination and set up active and trusted partners with the communities they serve,” said Mitoma. “Instead of the university working independently and organizations working independently, that trust will help us work together more effectively and without the typical administrative barriers.”

C + C is supported through an Institutional Challenge Grant with the United Way of Santa Cruz County, funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, Spencer Foundation, and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Some recent projects, such as the campus’ work with Second Harvest Food Bank, are spotlighted on the C + C website.

If you have a community-engaged project or course for the spotlight series, you can submit it to C + C through this submission form. To learn more about C + C and how to get involved, join the mailing list for information about upcoming events and engagement opportunities.