Housing & Dining

Campus Life - A Time and Place of Growth and Discovery

At UC Santa Cruz, all students are housed in small-scale residential communities, which provide close-knit living environments within the larger university. Live-in student and professional staff members provide orientation, support services, safety and crisis response, and a variety of social, educational, and cultural programs for residents.

Freshmen are generally assigned to live in their college’s residence halls. Residence halls have common bathrooms and a combination of shared and private bedrooms. The specific room options available to you will be covered later in this guide. Our college also has apartments that will be an option for you in your subsequent years.


The Housing Application

When you complete your online housing application you will have the opportunity to rank preferences for various room and theme options. This will give us an idea of the type of housing you are most interested in.

You will also be asked to complete a Lifestyle Questionnaire. Roommate assignments are based on the questionnaire so it is in your best interest to answer the questions as fully, thoughtfully and honestly as possible. Specific roommate requests may be met as long as they are mutual.


Your Housing Experience

Assigning rooms and roommates is not an easy task. Your roommates may or may not become your best friends, but will surely be remembered simply because of the experiences you will share. We will do our best to find you compatible roommates, but please do not assume they will share all your lifestyle preferences. Regardless of where you live, remember one thing: much of what living on campus really offers is what you and students like yourself bring to it.

Your attitude toward, and your enthusiasm for, your new living situation is the real key in determining what your new life will be like. We do promise one thing… given the opportunity, we will do all we can to make you feel welcome and at home.

Living in a Triple Room

Residence Hall Living


Rachel Carson College has traditional residence halls and apartments, with first-year students being housed in the residence halls. We have eight traditional residence halls, two in each quad. Each quad consists of a three story “L” shaped building with a two story “Garden” building. The quads share a courtyard with an open grassy area with lots of sunlight.

Residence hall floor plan

Inside The Halls

Your residence hall may be looked at as an extended family and, like a family, you will share a number of common areas. Each quad has a lobby with a TV and DVD player and serves as an informal setting for card games, study breaks, movie nights, residence hall meetings, and discussion groups in conjunction with residential and academic life.

Students can choose between single-gender or mixed-gender residence halls/floors. While bedrooms are single-gender, bathrooms may be mixed-gender and are designed to ensure privacy. On single-gender floors, bathrooms are primarily used by people identifying as that gender.

Rachel Carson College Room Options


Floor plan for triple room


Floor plan for quad room


Floor plan for double room

Double Suite

Floor plan for double suite


Floor plan for single room

View Virtual Tours

Housing Options and Themes

In addition to room options, there are also a variety of housing themes and options for those who are interested. Based on academic pursuits, hobbies, individual backgrounds, and lifestyle preferences, these living/learning options complement a student's experience in residence.

Residence Hall. These spaces are occupied by returning students only

Apartment. A unique living environment composed of both international and domestic students in an apartment/flat style living arrangement. This thriving community of residents from around the world lives and learns together to foster international understanding and form intercultural friendship. Students will have the option to take a 2-unit Intercultural Understanding class in the Fall quarter. Explore your global perspectives! (Supplemental application required). Learn more »

Residence Hall. This housing option allows those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and other identities within the LGBTQIA+ community as well as allies to live together in an open and supportive environment. (Only available in mixed-gender areas.)

Residence Hall. This community is meant to provide a space for those interested in exploring and challenging harmful aspects of traditional masculinity and/or wish to embrace their role as allies with women in fostering healthy relationships and gender equality. Members of this community will be encouraged to further their involvement within Rachel Carson College and the UCSC community in order to develop their leadership skills and create spaces that promote positive masculinity, healthy relationships, and gender equality.

Residence Hall and Apartment. Students of any gender live on the same floor or apartment and share a commitment to cooperative living through respect and consideration for one another. Bedrooms are single-gender while bathrooms may be designated as mixed-gender with private toilet and shower stalls.

Residence Hall. Students with diverse experiences and perspectives explore the intersections between social justice and sustainability. Through creative programming and group discussions offered by the residential staff, students engage in dialogue around the intersections between social and environmental justice to gain a holistic understanding of the relationship between the environment and society.

Residence Hall . R.PAATH provides a living-learning space for students whose interests span historical, present-day, and future experiences of predominantly African American, Black, and Caribbean peoples. Designed to intentionally create space for students to feel connected, safe and supported in a community centered on the experiences of Black/African American peoples, R.PAATH is available to students of any college affiliation. Students develop Cultural Competency/Cultural Intelligence and ally development through organizing, living, studying, and socializing with peers passionate about political, cultural, popular, social and economic issues of the African Diaspora (supplemental application required). Learn more »

Residence Hall. The Service Learning community provides residents with exciting opportunities to explore the value of civic engagement while contributing locally and more globally through volunteer and service activities. Students will receive guidance and encouragement to become more aware and engaged citizens while forging strong bonds with each other and the larger community.

Residence Hall and Apartment. Students of a single gender live on the same floor or apartment (availability is based upon demand). Bathrooms are primarily used by individuals who identify with that gender.

Residence Hall. Students interested in beginning or furthering their self-exploration around identity to better understand how they show up within a community and their role in furthering social justice movements both at UCSC and more globally. Living closely with others who share this interest, students will be able to engage in dialogue and self-exploration in order to strengthen their capacity to create an inclusive and equitable society.

Residence Hall and Apartment. Trans-inclusive Housing areas are intended to create safer and supportive spaces to live for transgender, genderqueer, gender nonconforming (GNC), and gender nonbinary (GNB) students, and their allies. Students may room together regardless of gender or legal gender. Please note that this room assignment is likely to be on a mixed-gender floor/apartment and all students share common areas (e.g. bathrooms). Students who do not request a roommate(s) on their housing application will be assigned a roommate(s) based on preferences expressed in the housing application and a follow-up conversation with a housing staff member, if necessary. Only students who indicate an interest will be assigned to Trans-inclusive Housing (supplemental application required). Learn more »

Residence Hall. The WISE community fosters success for women in the sciences, engineering, and math. This is a great opportunity to be surrounded by students who share your interests, accomplishments, and challenges. WISE offers themed programming, guest speakers, peer support, and partners with the Biko Science Community at our sister college, Oakes College, to provide events designed for WISE students. Available only to female identified students.

Residence Hall. Women explore issues of gender and engage in dialogue around their specific needs through programming offered by the residential staff. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in campus events including Sister Solidarity, which is sponsored by the UCSC Women’s Center. Available only to female identified students.

UC Santa Cruz Dining

Our dining program is as much a part of your college life and experiences as academics. Students find mealtime an opportunity to meet friends, visit and relax, study, and, of course…eat! All students living in campus residence halls and apartments have a meal plan included in their housing contract.

With the convenience of five all-you-care-to-enjoy dining halls situated throughout the campus, you’re never far from satisfying your cravings. Your student ID card, which also functions as your meal card and bus pass, may be used at any of the dining halls.


Deliciously Sustainable

We strive each day to prepare delicious, fresh menus throughout breakfast, lunch, and dinner including your in-between hunger attacks! Our ever rotating menus will keep you from getting bored and yet we will look to always keep your favorites available.

Our program is nationally recognized as a leader in sustainability and this means plenty of local and organic selections available to you. A wide selection of vegetarian and vegan options are available throughout the day and night, and we work closely with the campus Student Health Center to develop meals for those with restricted diets. Our staff continually strives to meet your needs.

Salad bar at dining hall.
What to Bring to College

Addtional Housing & Dining Resources

Rachel Carson/Oakes Dining Hall
Rachel Carson College
Rachel Carson College Garden
Rachel Carson College basketball court