The Division of Social Sciences is the home of two of UCSC’s ten colleges: College Nine, dedicated to the exploration of “International and Global Perspectives,” and College Ten, committed to the pursuit of “Social Justice and Community.” These vibrant living and learning communities provide a sense of belonging, engage and educate students on pressing societal and global issues, foster campus/community engagement, and bring renowned leaders, artists, and positive change agents to share their expertise.
In chronological order, ten of the many memorable moments include:
1. Move in (September 19th)
We welcomed 335 new students in C9 and 336 in C10 with our quintessential style: music, unceasing energy from staff and student volunteers, and applause and cheers for frosh and their families as they pull up in their cars, which are unpacked in 3 minutes! As in previous years, we were happy to have the participation of EVC Galloway, who joined in the fun and switched between her College Nine and College Ten t-shirts as she moved back and forth welcoming families and moving boxes.
2. Speaker Series on Climate Justice (October 13-27)
In collaboration with TJ Demos and the Center for Creative Ecologies, Colleges Nine and Ten co-sponsored a handful of talks about climate change and social/environmental justice from California to the Ecuadorian Amazon, featuring Valentin Lopez (Chairman, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band), Flora Lu (Provost, Colleges Nine & Ten, UC Santa Cruz), Néstor L. Silva (Anthropology Doctoral Student, Stanford University), Leila Salazar-Lopez (Executive Director, Amazon Watch), Andy Szasz (Chair, Environmental Studies, UC Santa Cruz), T.J. Demos (Professor, History of Art & Visual Culture, UC Santa Cruz), and Paulo Tavares (Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London/Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador). Environmental Studies graduate student and Arboretum staff member Rick Flores and UCSC alumna Sherine Ebadi also presented Valentin Lopez with a video recorded message, ceremonial spear and peccary tooth necklace from the Waorani of Ecuador, expressing solidarity for indigenous resistance and resilience in the face of climate and social injustice.
3. Black Lives Matter Plenary (October 13th)
The College Ten core course students had the good fortune to hear from a distinguished panel of leaders, scholars, and activists speaking about some of the most poignant and pressing issues facing our society. Jocqui Smollett (UCSC and C9 alumnus, A/BSA Co-Chair), Shiku Muhire (UCSC and C9 alumna, A/BSA Chair, Commissioner of Academic Affairs for SUA), Jasmine Hill (Sociology doctoral candidate at Stanford and research associate with the Center for Poverty & Inequality), and Cat Brooks (co-founder, ONYX Organizing Committee; founder, Anti Police-Terror Project; founding member, Black Lives Matter Bay Area Chapter) comprised a powerful and articulate panel discussing the Black Lives Matter movement, and more generally issues of racism, criminalization of people of color, and police brutality.
4. 13th Annual Practical Activism Conference (October 24, 2015)
A hallmark event for the campus, Practical Activism is a day-long conference organized by a dedicated team of students from Colleges Nine, Ten and Oakes, mentored by staff from the CoCurricular Programs Office at Colleges Nine and Ten. Hundreds of attendees were moved by a keynote address by Eden Silva Jequinto and spoken word performances by Jazz Hudson and Joshua Merchant. Workshops educated attendees on a variety of issues, including global firearms trade, sexual assault and Title IX, the impact of drought on field workers, unmet needs of queer and trans students, and homelessness. Check out the video made by UCSC Social Documentation Program students:
5. Hallows’ Eve (October 30, 2015)
For the past couple of years, Colleges Nine and Ten have collaborated with Calabasas Elementary School in Watsonville to implement an after school, garden based educational program and to start a community garden to promote food security and sovereignty. Families from Calabasas expressed an interest in coming to UCSC, in part because the children have gotten to know our undergraduates and are interested learning more about college. The day before Halloween, over 100 children and adults from Calabasas came to Colleges Nine and Ten on two yellow school buses for an evening of food, crafts, games, and trick or treating at the apartments. Students and staff from all of our units at Colleges Nine and Ten worked together to provide princesses, superheroes, and goblins—and their parents—a night to remember. Undergraduates living in the apartments enjoyed handing out candy and meeting our Watsonville neighbors. Calabasas Principal Todd Westfall said that the program exceeded the families’ expectations and they want to come back next year, but this time with four busloads of people!
6. Transgender Plenary (November 3rd)
The College Ten core course covers many aspects of identity formation, including race, class, and sexual orientation. In early November, with the help of core instructor Lene Whitley-Putz, we organized a panel presentation by a group of transgender activists and allies (Fresh! White, Min Matson, Vanessa Pratt, Aria Sa’id), who powerfully and candidly shared their personal journeys and answered student questions about being a transgender person in our society. Over 60 questions were submitted via text, reflecting the level of student interest and engagement, especially regarding the disproportionate experience of transgender people to violence, abuse, discrimination, and poverty. Two weeks later, in preparation for Transgender Day of Remembrance, the CoCurricular Programs Office mounted a pop-up program in front of the Dining Hall with information and activities to educate students on Transgender issues, and commemorate the Day of Remembrance by making prayer flags, which we displayed on November 20th.
7. Dolores Huerta luncheon (November 13th)
In celebration of her 85th birthday, Colleges Nine and Ten and El Centro, with support from CASFS, the Dean of Students, EOP and Oakes College, hosted a lunch reception for the legendary Dolores Huerta, in the area to raise funds for her foundation, which works to support communities pursuing “social justice through systemic and structural transformation.” Dolores spoke for about 45 minutes to a crowded room of students, evincing the enthusiasm, energy, wit, and unwavering commitment to creating positive change for which she is known.
8. Response to the terrorist attacks in Paris (November 13th)
College Nine is home to the International Living Center, an undergraduate apartment community with a mix of international and domestic students who seek to form intercultural friendships, foster global community, and facilitate the transition of international exchange students living in the US. After Paris erupted in a series of horrific attacks on the evening of November 13, staff of the ILC reached out not only to the French students affiliated with our colleges, but all of them both on- and off-campus, including those with dual citizenship. A gathering was organized to provide support and comfort, and those who lost loved ones in the attacks were connected to various resources on campus, such as CAPS. Staff reached out to confirm that these French students had somewhere to go for the Thanksgiving holiday (unless they chose to spend it on campus), and planned a follow up community program based on student feedback as to what would be most helpful and supportive.
9. Outreach, Education and Action around Homelessness
Every year the service-learning program at Colleges Nine and Ten focuses on the issue of homelessness. In the Esprit de Corps class, we routinely devote two class sessions to the issues of poverty, affordable housing and homelessness. Students this Fall read first hand testimonials, listened to a lecture from Psychology professor Heather Bullock, and heard from special guests Julie Conway, who heads up the affordable housing program for Santa Cruz County, and Matt Nathansan, a public health nurse who works with the Homeless Person’s Health Project. Six volunteers from the class worked directly with the homeless at the Homeless Garden Project, St. Francis Soup Kitchen, and Homeless Service Center. In Praxis, our service-learning organization, 30 first year students volunteered at the Homeless Garden Project on Sept. 26 and five students volunteered at the Project Homeless Connect in Watsonville on November 6.
10. “Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence” (December 3rd)
Aquil Basheer is Executive Director for A Better LA and founder, and founder of the Professional Community Intervention Training Institute (PCITI). Deemed a “Local Hero” (KCET) and “Living History Maker” (CA Legislature Assembly), Mr. Basheer is renowned for his four decades of work to reduce violence and resolve disputes among gangs in some of the most dangerous cities. He is an author and syndicated columnist; his book, Peace in the Hood (2014), is recognized as a blueprint for gang intervention work. After introductions by Distinguished Professor Craig Haney and Barrios Unidos founder Nané Alejandrez, Mr. Basheer spoke to the UCSC campus about his efforts to create a professional group of community peacekeepers, his ideas of leadership, and the importance of college students in the movement for social justice. The event was co-sponsored by El Centro, the AARCC, Barrios Unidos, and the Alumni Association.