Illustration by Amanda Alten.

It is said the greatest joy in life is the gift of giving, and what better way to give than to put on your funky shoes and dance the night away?

This is what Slug 2 Slug is all about. A student group committed to building a stronger campus community and a larger sense of school spirit, Slug 2 Slug works to raise school spirit and plans events to unify the student body. Slug 2 Slug’s latest fundraiser is the annual Slugfest dance.

Slugfest will be held at the Stevenson Event Center on Feb. 25 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. With headliner DJ Savadelic, organizers hope to attract an even bigger crowd than the previous year’s 1,400, which raised over $500 for the UC Santa Cruz undergraduate scholarship fund. Attendance is free, but optional donations will be accepted and proceeds will go toward student scholarships.

Mitchell Bates, Chancellor’s Undergraduate Internship Program (CUIP) intern and fourth-year Cowell student, is the Slug 2 Slug director. Bates said students should not be charged, because first and foremost this event will be a place to have fun.

“People shouldn’t be obligated to give, because I don’t think that’s really what philanthropy is about,” Bates said. “The optional donation is to promote giving without requiring it.”

He said he is focusing on fundraising this year as a way to promote philanthropy and help support student scholarships and other campus programs.

“[The money we raise is] money for students to be more independent instead of having to rely on the state for money,” Bates said. “It’s a way for students to support each other, it’s a way for students to look around and see their fellow Banana Slugs in need and see what they can do to pitch in and help.”

Greg Gerschenson, third-year business management economics major and College Nine student, is promoting and marketing Slugfest to make it an even bigger success.

“The thing that I’ve noticed about our school is the only three events that really draw over 1,000 people are 4/20, the naked run and the OPERS Fall Festival,” he said.

Gerschenson said the level of school spirit at UCSC isn’t as high as it should be, and he hopes to improve on this.

“It’s like that point during freshman year, I feel like everyone has it, where you realize that we don’t have much going on here,” Gerschenson said. “Other schools provide big events that UCSC just really hasn’t been able to provide yet.”

Shayna Kent, UCSC’s director of alumni, student outreach and development and Slug 2 Slug staff advisor, said interaction between students is most important, and is what promotes the school spirit UCSC needs. She said Slug 2 Slug helps build strong relations across campus and strengthen alumni ties to UCSC.

“One of the most important things Slug 2 Slug does is to educate,” Kent said. “I really feel the most effective way to create change is by face-to-face interactions, and that’s what Slug 2 Slug does. Students talking to other students — I think that’s what really matters.”

As Slug 2 Slug’s director, Bates expressed the importance of school spirit and his hopes for the program to progress.

“My hope for Slug 2 Slug next year is that it really continues to be a strong presence on campus,” Bates said. “Hopefully each year we build a little bit on what we’ve done in years past, as long as the legacy of slug philanthropy continues to grow.”