Rachel Carson College

Rachel Carson College is dedicated to environment and society, and the college has organized a vigorous intellectual life around this theme. The college examines environmental issues from multiple perspectives, through the social and natural sciences, engineering, public policy, and science and technology studies. Rachel Carson College offers students a sense of community and opportunities to augment academic work with a wide range of extracurricular activities. These include events such as Earth Week, sustainability internships, and a minor in sustainability studies.

Rachel Carson College students major in nearly every discipline offered at UCSC, while sharing a strong commitment to environmental stewardship. We teach our students and graduates to become environmentally aware green citizens, with the capacity to evaluate sustainability policies and strategies and with the skills needed for hands-on engagement in the many projects and activities that will be required to ensure the future of the planet and human civilization.

Academic Emphases

Rachel Carson College’s academic classes focus on the theme of environment and society. The college sponsors a number of educational initiatives and courses aimed at furthering its theme and mission, as well as programs offering experiential learning for students. 

Additional information about Rachel Carson College academics, including Core Course requirements and other academic programs, is available here.

College Community and Facilities

Rachel Carson College is located on a sunny, terraced hillside on the west side of the UCSC campus, offering a spectacular view of Monterey Bay and the coastline as well as the redwood-covered hills. The college is designed to encourage interaction among resident and commuter students, with outdoor spaces for relaxing and informal opportunities to socialize. These include small residence hall patios, grass quadrangles, and a large plaza—the heart of the college—where pedestrian traffic converges. Adjacent to the college are recreational facilities that include the West Field House, tennis courts, basketball and sand volleyball courts, and playing fields. The Theater Arts and Music Centers, McHenry Library, and Porter and Oakes Colleges are a short walk from the college. Other parts of the university are easily accessible by foot, bicycle or frequent shuttle buses.

Rachel Carson College’s facilities include an academic building that accommodates the college and faculty offices, the Sociology Department, associated research centers, classrooms, and a computer lab with printers. Approximately 500 students live in the college’s community of two-and three-story residence halls, which provide single, double, and triple rooms as well as suites. The residence halls include laundry facilities and lobbies that serve as living rooms—favorite places where residents gather to relax, watch television, and catch up on the news of the day. A number of these are themed residences that focus on special programming related to the respective theme. Another 300 students are housed in Rachel Carson College’s two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments.

The college’s residential staff includes both coordinators for residential education, who are full-time live-in professionals, and undergraduate resident assistants. The residential staff plans a variety of educational and recreational events, including community barbecues, outdoor movies, and student-initiated events that celebrate the diversity of our community. More intimate gatherings include study breaks, coffee talks, and potlucks. The residential staff is available to ease the transition to college life, making the college a comfortable new home for our residents.
The Student Commons building containsthe Student Life Office, the office of Rachel Carson College’s college programs coordinator, the office of the Student Environmental Center, and a large

meeting room for student use. A study center is located across the plaza. The Rachel Carson College Café is a favorite haven and gathering place for students, faculty, staff, and other members of the campus community.

In conjunction with the student government and student organizations, the Rachel Carson College Student Programs Office plans social, multicultural, and educational events for the college community. Weekly programs including open mics, music, art shows, and guest speakers accommodate the diverse spectra of cultural and artistic interests of the students. College Night, a quarterly cultural event, provides an opportunity for students to learn about a variety of cultures through entertainment, education, and delicious cuisine. In addition, the Student Programs Office works closely with the Student Environmental Center to bring programs that educate and build long-lasting networks, which aim to address the environmental issues affecting our world today.

Above all, Rachel Carson College seeks to create a community of inclusion, in which each person is encouraged to share and explore beliefs, worldviews, values, and ideas in an atmosphere of mutual support and trust.

For more information, contact the college at (831) 459-2361, email 8housing@ucsc.edu, or visit the the Rachel Carson College website.

Rachel Carson College Fellows and Staff

Rachel Carson College faculty fellows are listed on the college's faculty directory.

Rachel Carson College staff are listed on the college's staff page.