Student Activities

Campuswide Student Activities: SOMeCA

SOMeCA brings together three dynamic areas of campuswide student engagement: Student Organization Advising and Resources (SOAR), Student Media, and Cultural Arts and Diversity. The organizations and programs of SOMeCA offer students a place of self-discovery. SOMeCA’s professional and experienced staff offers mentorship, leadership training, organizational development advising, and project management to all students. Visit the SOMeCA website for more information.

Student Organization Advising and Resources (SOAR)

UCSC offers the student body over 180 student-initiated organizations including academic, cultural, environmental, political, professional, religious, service, and Greek-letter organizations. Students who are actively involved in a student organization gain valuable and transformative leadership skills ranging from conflict mediation to project planning.

Student organizations create a number of events from general body meetings to well-established major scale programming. For example, student leaders host high school students to encourage and support their entrance into college. Others produce major campuswide events to raise funds for cancer research and local community nonprofits. Performing arts organizations perform at conferences and competitions across the country. Student leaders gain real-world experience grounded in the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for navigating the global workplace and engage in dynamic civic participation.

Student organization membership is open to all UCSC students. Learn more at the Student Organization Advising and Resources (SOAR) office. Contact SOAR at (831) 459-2934, email, or visit the SOAR website. SOAR is located on the second floor of the Student Union. (During COVID-19 restrictions, please visit our website to check for accessibility.)

Student Media

Student Media at UC Santa Cruz include print publications and broadcast organizations. Every year, hundreds of students enrich their educational experience through internships, academic credit, fellowships, and employment opportunities with media organizations.

The award-winning student newspaper of record, City on a Hill Press, covers campus and local news, sports, music, and offers art reviews and commentary. Fish Rap Live! provides an alternative forum for free expression of ideas, humorous coverage of local and campus events, and personal journalism. TWANAS, the Communities of Color and Native American Students Press Collective, publishes a news magazine that broadens awareness of perspectives of color in the campus community. Other campus magazines include the critical film journal, EyeCandy; Leviathan Jewish Journal; Scientific Slug, which blends coverage of research on campus with science-focused art and poetry; Fruitcake, which looks at life through the lens of graphics and cartoons; the philosophy journal, Kalopsia; and Gaia, which focuses on environmental issues. Annual literary journals include Chinquapin, Red Wheelbarrow, ALAY, and Matchbox.

Artistic, narrative, experimental, documentary, news, and public-service film and video are produced by broadcast organizations, including the Film Production Coalition, On the Spot, Slugworks Animation, Banana Slug Network, and others. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to participate.

To contact student media organizations, call the Student Media Center at (831) 459-2840 or SCTV at (831) 459-5360. Visit the Student Media website for links to print, radio, and broadcast organizations.

Cultural Arts and Diversity (CAD)

Cultural Arts and Diversity (CAD) strives to enhance the cultural climate of UCSC and its surrounding community by celebrating diversity. CAD fosters the spirit of unity between cultures by providing students with outlets for the creative talents of various cultures through theater, lectures, presentations, and productions. By promoting access to resources and services that support these endeavors, CAD strives to provide cultural awareness and diversity, build collaborative partnerships and community outreach, enhance retention and recruitment efforts, and provide opportunities for leadership and educational development. The Cultural Arts and Diversity Center promotes the following programs:

  • African American Theater Arts Troupe
  • Rainbow Theater
  • Rainbow/African American Theater Arts Troupe Outreach
  • Classes offered through Theater Arts and Stevenson College

Contact the CAD Office at (831) 459-1861 or visit the CAD website.

UC Santa Cruz and Systemwide Student Governance

UC Santa Cruz offers a wide variety of opportunities to participate in university governance at the college, campus, systemwide, and national levels. Regardless of what level you choose, participating in student government provides a wonderful opportunity to practice leadership skills, meet others who share your interests, and learn a great deal about yourself and the university.

Student Union Assembly

The Student Union Assembly (SUA) is the undergraduate advocacy organization and the official student voice of UC Santa Cruz. It comprises three representatives from each college government; six elected officers (president, vice president of External Affairs, vice president of Internal Affairs, vice president of Academic Affairs, vice president of Diversity and Inclusion, and vice president of Student Life and Student Advocate); and one appointed representative from each of the following student organizations that represent historically underrepresented people within the UC system: African/Black Student Alliance; Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance; Queer Student Union; Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlán; Student Alliance of North American Indians; and Ethnic Student Organization Council. The SUA also provides paid part-time internship opportunities for students. These internships include, but are not limited to, field organizers, treasurers, outreach and publicity, and strategy and planning.

The SUA conducts open meetings every Tuesday at 8 p.m. throughout the academic year. Students interested in advocacy, activism, and politics, as well as those concerned with their own and their friends’ lives, are invited to get involved. The assembly operates via issue-specific campaigns and around general campus concerns. In the past, the SUA has formed campaigns around fighting fee hikes, defending affirmative action, saving financial aid on a national and state level, striving for reasonable campus growth, and reforming UC Regents’ procedures. Current issues include fighting to make a UC education affordable, fighting to stop balancing budgets on the backs of students, fighting for the rights of UC workers, and working with community groups because UCSC students are also Santa Cruz residents. The SUA also works with the UC Student Association and the United States Student Association on systemwide, statewide, and national issues. For more information, visit the SUA website.

Systemwide Student Government: UCSA

The UC Student Association (UCSA) is the statewide association of graduate and undergraduate student governments from the 10 UC campuses. UCSA is the officially recognized voice of the students to the UC Board of Regents, various UC administrative offices, and the UC Office of the President. Issues covered by UCSA include UC fees and financial aid, comprehensive admissions policies, and academic policies, as well as broader issues of social responsibility such as environmental concerns and civil rights.

The SUA office provides grassroots membership and support for the two main UCSA offices in Oakland and Sacramento. The campus office organizes students to run the grassroots campaigns that are adopted each summer during the UCSA Congress. At this session, delegates from the 10 UC campuses come together and choose the critical issues to be worked on for the next year. Issues in the past have included voter registration drives, letter-writing campaigns on particular UC issues, and increases in financial aid. UCSA provides a thorough introduction to UC politics and student representation. Students may also serve on systemwide committees through UCSA and gain a wide knowledge of the entire UC system through their service.

Two officers help to coordinate UCSA activities on our campus. The Student Union Assembly vice president of external affairs (VPE) is the official representative to the UCSA Board of Directors. This position has voting rights for UCSC, is the primary contact regarding all UCSA issues, and coordinates all lobbying of UCSA and local, state, and federal governments on behalf of UCSC students. The organizing director (OD) coordinates with the VPE to effectively run the grassroots campaigns that are sponsored by UCSA each year. These positions are elected for one-year terms during spring quarter every year.

The Student Union Assembly's VPE may be contacted at

College Student Governments

Each college has its own student government, encouraging students to participate in program development and implementation, as well as determining where college membership fees should be allocated. Student governments give students a voice at the college and with the campuswide student government. Like the colleges themselves, each college governing body has its own character, structure, and meeting times and dates. For information, contact the programs coordinator at your college.

The Graduate Student Association (GSA)

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) advocates for graduate student interests with regard to tuition and fees, health insurance, transportation, housing, graduate student well-being, support for marginalized grad students, and other important issues. The GSA ensures graduate student representation on campus committees and works with the campus and UC administration to implement GSA Council goals. The GSA also works with state- and UC-wide bodies to represent the UCSC graduate community beyond our campus. The GSA awards research and travel grants to graduate students in order to provide funding for professional development, cover the cost of supplies, subscriptions, and books needed for research, and to assist with funding travel for conferences, research, and workshops. The GSA also organizes and co-sponsors events for graduate students, including international grads and grads from historically marginalized communities.

The GSA is funded by student fees and operated by an Executive Board. Representatives from departments that offer graduate degrees make up the GSA Council. The Council meets three times per quarter to strategize around and discuss issues that impact graduate students. For more information, contact the GSA website or email

Student Representation on Campuswide Committees

Serving on a campus advisory committee is a recognized channel for student involvement in the university’s decision-making processes. Advisory committees composed of faculty, staff, and student representatives are established to develop and recommend policies on a wide range of topics. Each year the Student Committee on Committees (composed of one student appointed by each college and chaired by the Vice President of Internal Affairs of the Student Union Assembly) nominates more than 100 students to serve on over 50 administrative and Academic Senate committees. For information about the selection process, see the Student Union Assembly website or email

Community Service Opportunities

Community service is a vital part of the university’s mission. It is possible for individual students, as well as campuswide student organizations, to develop service projects that link the university with the broader Santa Cruz community. With the financial support of the campus’ Community Service Project funding, students have aided local groups such as Students Toward Achievement in Writing Success, the Strange Queer Youth Conference, and the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center.

The Student Volunteer Center, located in the Dean of Students Office at Hahn Student Services, connects students with local volunteer opportunities based on skills and interest. Volunteer opportunities range from aiding youth and elderly to addressing homelessness and environmental issues. The Student Volunteer Center also sponsors events for the campus community where students can volunteer their time.

For more information about service opportunities, see the Student Volunteer Center website, call (831) 459-3363, or email

Campus Cultural Programs

Throughout the year, UCSC offers frequent and varied cultural opportunities. Students, faculty, and staff may participate as audience members, performers, or behind-the-scenes support crew. The considerable range of offerings includes art exhibits, lectures, films, concerts, recitals, and dance and drama presentations. Programs vary from single performances to weeklong cultural celebrations. The colleges host a number of events, and the departments frequently engage speakers of particular academic interest to address the campus community or present lecture-demonstrations.

The Arts Division serves as a gateway to the entire university, presenting high-quality research and work by faculty, students, and guest artists. Art exhibitions, film screenings, digital arts presentations, music recitals, as well as theater, dance, and music presentations, are offered in conjunction with the academic programs. The Arts Division also offers regular public lectures and colloquia to introduce audiences to professional practitioners and scholars in the traditional and digital arts.

In addition to attending Arts Division activities, UCSC students are invited to participate in a wide variety of division activities that are open to all UCSC students. Join an Indonesian gamelan ensemble, sing in the UCSC Concert Choir, play in the UCSC Orchestra, or audition for a theater or dance production.

For up-to-date information about cultural offerings from the Arts Division, contact the Arts Division Events Office at (831) 459-2787 and visit online at and on Facebook.