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University of California-Santa Cruz

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There are a lot of things I love about UCSC. I love the weather. I love that it's in a forest. I love that it's right next to the ocean--so close that you can see it from some of the higher parts of campus. I love that when you get your student ID you can ride the city buses for free. I love that we have a gym, a swimming pool, tennis courts, a track, and lots and lots of sports and outdoors activities. I love that I got into shape here because the campus is so hilly--instead of gaining 15 pounds when I got here, I LOST 15 pounds. Prepare yourself for thighs of steel, especially if you live up at Crown College (aka Cardiac Hill). I love watching the deer and bunnies in the morning and evening, grazing next to where I live. One thing I'd change is I'd make the campus non-smoking (regular, not pot). I HATE climbing one of those crazy UCSC hills, then reach the top gasping, only to inhale a huge lung-full of Camel. I think the school is about the right size. You definitely meet people, and it can get very busy, but there's always a place on campus where you can get away into the forest, and it's nice and quiet. Most people nod when I tell them I go to UCSC. "It's a good school," they say, and that's true. It's a UC ,so it has all the requirements of a major university. The university is definitely less urban, less stressed out, and less uptight (though some of the administrators can be real jerks, as in all places) than some of the other more famous UCs, like Berkeley and UCLA. I spend most of my time on campus either in the Science and Engineering library studying, or back at my room studying. We have two libraries, plus interlibrary loan, so you can pretty much get any book you want, which is awesome. It's DEFINITELY a college town. Like, the college OWNS the town, more or less. Why do you think we get to ride the city buses for free? I think the UCSC administration, from what I've met at least in terms of the sciences, is pretty decent. I've met the Crown Provost (the guy who deals with academic matters at Crown) and he's definitely a nice guy. From what I've heard they're definitely aware of some of the problems at the school and they're working on some really good ideas to fix them. The biggest controversy has been the protesting of UCSC's plan to expand and, among other things, build a biomedical center. It caused a lot of ruckus. The protesters took over the parking lot where the center was to be built, and are also tree-sitting. The tree sitters are still there but the ground protesters have left. It really sucked for a while because since there was some spray-painting they had to lock the nearest building, Physical Sciences, so you had to show your ID every time you needed to use the bathroom or get a drink of water while on that side of campus. I'd say yes, there is a fair amount of school pride. We're the banana slugs, after all! They tried to change us to the sea lions, or something, a while back but students insisted and now we're officially the banana slugs. I love my slug sweatshirt. Slugs for life! I've heard from the cheer leading squad, however, that since nothing rhymes with "slugs" (mugs? tugs? lugs?) they have to use "UCSC." Anything unusual about UCSC? It's tolerant atmosphere. I've never felt so comfortable--it's VERY LIBERAL HERE. Girls walk down the street holding hands and kiss, and there's not so much as an eyebrow twitching. There's a great GLBTI support system on campus, and lots and lots of ethnic events. It's really very multi-cultural and pleasant. I've never lived anywhere where diversity is so accepted and embraced. I'll always remember getting lost my first few weeks. Don't pay attention to the maps so much...they're really badly written. Have someone show you around. The problem is the maps show the buildings as small and the roads as long, but it's the other way around. You can usually cut across campus fairly quickly--no more than 15-20 minutes, unless you're all the way down at Oakes college, which is far away. Most frequent student complains...THE DINING HALLS!!!!! When I first came I thought the food was okay, but especially at Crown the food SUCKS. In order of best dining halls I'd rank College 9/10 Dining Hall, Porter/Kresge, Oakes/Eight, Crown/Merrill (I haven't tried Stevenson/Cowell).

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The one thing I tell people when they ask me about UCSC is that unless I was traveling the world at that moment, I could not imagine spending my undergraduate career anywhere else but Santa Cruz. The community of the school is very welcoming. The people are nice and the weather is beautiful. I am physically and mentally a happier person when I am in Santa Cruz and at UCSC. The UCSC campus isn't the easiest campus to walk across. There are many hills and bridges that traverse large gullies. I often tell people about how crazy it is the first time you walk from one class to the next and you look back and can't see where you came from because of how thick the redwood forests are. As a student living on campus most of one's time is spent at his or her respective college. UCSC has ten colleges which students create an affiliation with upon entering the university. Your affiliated college is the place where you live, eat, and often hang out with friends. One of the great things about living on campus is the access one has to nature. From any given point on campus one must only walk ten minutes in any direction and be completely immersed in towering redwoods. There are many mountain biking and running trails through the woods that are spectacular. Since moving off campus I would say that most of my time is spent in class or at various study areas or libraries. The city of Santa Cruz is definitely influenced by the presence of the university. Many students participate in the economy of Santa Cruz via working in markets, cafes, shops, etc. Every first friday of a new month there is an art walk throughout the city of Santa Cruz. During the art walk many galleries and stores open their doors featuring works by local artists and sometimes pieces by UCSC students. The administration on campus is very involved in the student life on campus. One thing I would change in regards to administration would be to standardize a punishment system that is university wide. While living on campus I often witnessed punishment being given in what many students felt was an unfair manner. While we do not have a very big sports following at UCSC our school pride is still large. This is evident in our notably unusual mascot, Sammy the Banana Slug, a native to the redwood forests that cover UCSC. While it may seem a weird mascot, Sammy is quite unique in that he has no known natural predators. One thing I will always remember is giving a kiss to the first banana slug I ever saw. This UCSC tradition/superstition is said to bring good luck and great grades for the rest of college.

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The best thing about UCSC is the Natural Beauty. I get to see dear walking casually around my dorm every day. I've seen birds and plants that I had never seen in L.A. before. Oh, and the stars are AWESOME. Unfortunately though, a big portion of the beautiful woods will have to be cut down in the name of development and competitive growth. But the good thing about that is that more students will get accepted into UCSC. So instead of being just the right size, it's going to grow into a larger school. We have pretty awesome professors and staff members though. They're generally all pretty friendly and understanding. You can tell they care for us But one of the most recent controversies, beside the half-wanted and half-unwanted UCSC expansion plans (the LRDP: the Long Range Development Plans), is the issue with unfair contracts for some of our workers. Many of our workers (like the maintenance crew, janitors, and cooks) are getting paid less than the workers in the City College nearby. They're not getting a good living wage or fair benefits, even though the UCs make more money. The workers were gonna strike for two days, but the UC brought in a whole bunch of expensive, Union-busting lawyers to try to "negotiate" (used as a tactic to just buy some time to eventually come up with a legal contract so that the workers can lose their legal right to strike unless they want to lose their job or get fined. Crazy, huh? Therefore, I think many people have lost pride in the whole UC system as a whole, because there are a lot of monetary profits involved. We spend so much money trying to acquire a good education in order to do some good in this world, but meanwhile, we're doing it in a corrupt system. But I think most people are at least happy with their UCSC college experience because of the general atmosphere. Many people are really accepting and open-minded. Like if you want to do something crazy here (as in dress up every day as if it's Halloween or walk bear-footed), you can because, after all "it's Santa Cruz." Unfortunately though, there seems to be an influx of people who don't seem to understand that mentality.

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I think the best thing about my school is the campus. It is an absolutely beautiful beautiful forest just a few miles from the beach, what more can you ask for? One thing I would change would be the increasing enrollment. Because the University of California keeps letting more people in than they can handle, there is an intense housing shortage on campus, making it so that only first and second years can get housing on campus. This makes the party scene a little crazier without older people to guide the younger ones in how to party safe. I think the school is just right in size, but the numbers of people coming to UCSC are increasing. When I tell people I go to UCSC, they ask if I am a pot-smoking hippie, but I just tell them that I am not and that I am very focused on my academics and that they shouldn't believe everything they hear about UCSC. I spend most of my time in my dorm room or near my dorm room studying outside. I am a Resident Advisor so my visibility in the community is important. UCSC's administration is interesting. Sometimes it seems like they don't care about the students, but it's not awful. The biggest controversy on campus right now is the expansion of the university. They want to tear down acres and acres of forest to build more housing and more academic buildings. While these sound like great things, tearing down our beautiful forest would be terrbile. As for school pride, I think we have a lot of it. People love this university and we wear out mascot (the Banana Slug) with pride! The thing that is unusual about UCSC is that there is no central location on campus to congregate. The experiences I will always remember from this university are the amazing classes I have taken under the Feminist Studies department. The faculty in that department are phenomenal and so intelligent, it blows my mind. The most frequent complaints from students include not being able to live on campus after the first two years (off campus is kinda far because the university is so secluded from the town) and that the dining hall food sucks. In my opinion, the food will suck no matter where you go.

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My opinion of UCSC couldn't be better! My parents, brother, and I have all attended UCSC and loved it. The reasons I chose to attend UCSC rather than another UC still remain some of my favorite aspects of the school. These reasons are: 1) the college system, and 2) the physical beauty. I'm a huge fan of UCSC's college system. What this means is that UCSC is divided into 10 residential colleges. I, for example, am affiliated with Cowell College. These 10 smaller colleges are where you live in the dorms for at least your freshman year, attend a core writing course with other students from your college, and often make your closest friends! They are not divided by major; you choose your college solely based on what it looks like and the theme of the core writing course. The college system gives you a small, close-knit community within the large university, and makes UCSC feel just the perfect size. The other reason I mentioned is the physical beauty of the campus. Santa Cruz is a truly unique place because it includes both the ocean and the forest. The campus is set on top of a hill so there are amazing views everywhere around the school. This also makes UCSC perfect for many outdoor activities including surfing, hiking, climbing, and biking. Santa Cruz also has a very nice downtown area that includes shopping, restaurants, and occasional concerts just a short bus ride from the campus. Between going downtown, hanging out at the beach, hiking around the trails on campus, and attending events on campus like open mic nights and movie screenings, there is always plenty to do at UCSC!

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I love that UC Santa Cruz is up on a hill and kind of secluded from the city. It makes the campus another world from the city. It's warmer up here than in the city where it's foggier and windier. It's cool that it's in the forest, but it also has some open spaces and some great views of the city and ocean. It's only a 15-20 minutes bus ride to the beach however, which is great for warm, sunny days. If you live on campus, you tend to spend a lot of time there because it's so convenient. We have a great gym and many places to eat, and lots of activities so you don't need to go off-campus until the weekends. It's a college town though which is cool. Lot's of students live downtown and everyone knows where the students hang out. I think that it's great that it's such a large school so you never run out of people to meet, but since it's divided into 10 colleges, you get to know people from your individual college really well, which makes the school seem smaller. I wish we had a football team or more pride for the basketball team, but people do go to rugby and lacrosse games. I think that having a football team would bring more pride to our sports though. I guess what unites our school instead is protests, which is why we're considered hippies. People think it's really relaxed here and everyone just goes to the beach and smokes weed, but really it's a UC, which means it's still tough, we all work really hard, and we study a lot. It's a big commitment just like any other University.

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The school is quite large, but the fact that it's broken into 10 smaller colleges makes it feel much smaller. The campus is beautiful and has many great places to sit outside and study under the trees and in view of the Monterey bay. If you don't want to be outside, there are several libraries, coffee shops, and sitting areas inside academic buildings. The school is often known by its stereotypes, but anyone who has ever gone here knows that the quality of education is very high, and students love their learning environment. Many of our programs are top-ranked. There are 2 big controversies on campus right now. The first is the school's plan to expand and build a new science facility on Science Hill. This is called the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). Many students disagree with this because it was done in secret, and the plan calls for cutting down many of the beautiful redwood trees on campus. In protest, there are students living in the trees on Science Hill. The second is the AFSCME workers union renegotiating their contract. All UC workers are going on strike, which is a debilitating hit. This is currently happening on all UC campuses. There is a lot of school pride. Students absolutely love UCSC. We wear banana slug gear and get involved in the school. We have very few sports teams, but there is a great amount of support for the ones we have.

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The best thing about UCSC is easily the beautiful campus. To be able to attend college classes in the middle of a redwood forest, bridges linking the many facilities across the forest's deep ravines. Sometimes the fog rolls in and blurs the campus, the only markers are the many orange globes of the street lamps. UCSC is completely overcrowded. 90% of the upper classmen were pushed off campus by the enormous influx of freshmen who spend every weekend screaming in the quad and trying to burn the building down. Finding parking is an hour-long commitment that may eventually lead you to park on the opposite side of campus than the one that would have been necessary. Most of the campus' chaotic issues could be solved by somehow lowering the freshman population, but I know that it is only going to get worse. The most recent controversies spawn from the more liberal students vehemently disagreeing with the proposed LRDP plans, especially with regard to the science hill construction, which would lead to more facilities assisting with bio-engineering. The most note-worthy expression of this dissatisfaction was the protest on science hill wherein the liberal student presence lived in the science hill redwood trees in the hopes that the new building construction would be abandoned

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My favorite part about UC Santa Cruz is that it is located in a beautiful forest, but also just 5-10 minutes away from the beach and the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Of course another great thing is all the friends I have met here and how friendly students and professors are. If I could change one thing, I wish that it did not get as cold and rain as much here -- but that is just because I am from sunny San Diego. I think the size of Santa Cruz is just right. It is a very spread out campus, but it is awesome to walk through the forest to get to class or see the amazing views of the whole city and ocean when you are on the field. People react positively when they find out I am a student at UC Santa Cruz, but there is often a remark about being the banana slugs, which I find rather funny. When I am on campus most of my time is spent in the library, since as a senior my work load is a bit heavy. Santa Cruz is an adorable town full of old Victorian houses, the boardwalk, lots of good places to eat, go out, and an awesome feel to it. Santa Cruz is in northern California and subsequently very liberal. The most recent event on campus was protesting the current UC tuition hike -- a great cause. There is a lot of school pride because we are the Banana Slugs!!

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The best thing about UCSC is the location! You simply can't beat the gorgeous campus settled in the redwood trees. No other college campus in the country compares to the gorgeous views, hikes and photo opportunities at UC Santa Cruz. The campus, while cozied into the forest, has breathtaking views of the Pacific ocean. It is famous for it's field which over looks the whole Monterey bay! I love the opportunity to hike one day, explore creeks and climb trees and then run down to the ocean the next day. There you can enjoy surfing great swells from the North and great views of the ocean from West Cliff. For me there is nothing better than the simplicity and natural beauty of Santa Cruz. After a stressful day of classes a soothing walk around campus puts everything into perspective. Coming from Los Angeles, I looked forward to a more laid back and non rushed city. In Santa Cruz I get just that. People in town are enjoying life, not rushing around in it. There are always people walking around and talking, playing music and taking in what the city has to offer. In my opinion you couldn't ask for a greater location for a UC campus!

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