Cowell College

The Pursuit of Truth in the Company of Friends

Congratulations and Welcome

To help prepare you to apply for housing and to live on campus, we offer this housing guide containing important information about your college, housing options, and answers to many commonly asked questions about campus housing.

It is our goal to provide you with an academically and socially supportive environment that will help you build a strong connection with the campus and get the most out of your UCSC experience.

We look forward to having you as part of our campus community!

Your College

Cowell College opened in 1965 as the founding college of UC Santa Cruz. Our motto, The Pursuit of Truth in the Company of Friends, represents our twin commitments to academic endeavor and supportive community. As the first college, we are dedicated to the founding vision for UC Santa Cruz’s collegiate system: a community that invites and supports students from all academic majors and interests who come together to form a lively, interdisciplinary community.

Our traditions and history were established by the founding faculty and a small group of students who comprised the first class. Those pioneers created a small, supportive academic environment that still thrives today within the larger university setting.


Many special events take place at Cowell including College Nights, a tradition established at Cowell in 1965. College Night is a special dinner followed by a program of lively entertainment in the company of friends. Other college activities, mostly planned by students, include dances, poetry slams, open mics, films, live music and other recreational and social activities.

Acquire A Cappella perform at College Night

Acquire A Cappella perform at College Night

Cowell Students in front of Adams House.

Student Leadership

Cowell has an active and lively student government, the Cowell Senate. This group meets weekly to discuss student issues, allocate student activity monies, and represent Cowell students in campuswide government and committees. Senate members function as liaisons between Cowell students and the university.

Up to ten select persons are chosen in the spring, by lot, in accordance with the principle that each member of the community is equally fit to serve as a representative. During the year, anyone may join the Cowell Senate by attending regular meetings.


Community Involvement

Our emphasis on building a strong supportive community provides ample opportunities for students to get involved in a variety of activities. Some of these activities have included yoga, volunteering in the community, and participating in PJs at the PH - a program held annually at the Provost House.


The Fireside Lounge, located next to the Coffee Shop, is available to all students and is the venue for many student events.

The Page Smith Library, named in honor of Cowell’s founding Provost, serves as a reading and study room. The library is a close and cozy alternative to the larger campus research libraries.

Cowell College Map

The Page Smith Library

Students in residence hallway
student running on track
Student working in print lab
Student at Cowell Coffee Shop