Are you interested in politics, writing, photography, ethnic studies, filmmaking, coding, law, satire, medical awareness, board games, or practically anything else? SOMeCA’s got something for you!
SOMeCA is a huge umbrella: each of its 200+ organizations are dedicated to, in SOMeCa’s own words, “honoring the leadership of students.” Every organization is student-initiated and student-run, and many focus on activism, education, or social engagement.
Every organization falls under one of three categories: SOAR (SO), Student Media (Me), and the CADrc (CA).
WAIT A MINUTE! This is an abridged list of student organizations at UC Santa Cruz. For the full list, please visit www.someca.ucsc.edu.
The first category, Student Organization Advising and Resources (SOAR), encompasses organizations centered around academic goals, career aspirations, political activism, culture, and identity. Most SOMeCA organizations fall under this category. Then, they are split up into a wide variety of smaller categories, including:
- Mock Trial is an organization geared towards giving students interested in legal studies experience in case law, improv skills, and real-life trial situations. Last year, they participated in competitions at UC Los Angeles, UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara, among others.
- Model United Nations (SlugMUN) is, quite simply, UCSC’s Model UN! In their words, they seek students who are interested in “international affairs, politics, public speaking, and competition” and, whenever possible, aim to connect those students with conferences, competitions, and other educational opportunities.
CULTURAL AND IDENTITY
- Chicanx y Latinx Educandose (ChALE) is focused on gathering, retaining, and supporting Latine/Chicanx students on their paths to graduation. They do so via frequent study jams and mixers, as well as resume writing workshops, career prep sessions, and mitos y leyendas (myths and legends) storytelling events.
- Hermanos de UCSC offers a warm, lively space for Latine students at UCSC to empower them in their academic, professional, and personal pursuits. Their work ranges from study halls and socials to budgeting and resume workshops. Last year, they held info sessions on topics like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and professional development.
- The Indian Student Association (ISA) organizes educational events, cultural celebrations, trivia nights, and fundraisers all geared towards bringing together the Indian community at UCSC. Each year, they organize a spring showcase and their Holi event, which brings a popular (and colorful) celebration of Indian culture to the UCSC campus.
- Grupo Folklórico Los Mejicas’ goal is twofold: foster retention of Latine students at UCSC and unite them through the power of dance! Their group of dancers perform regularly at events around campus, and their annual spring show (along with the organization as a whole) is running for its fifty-second consecutive year. Los Mejicas also offer workshops, socials, and more.
- Kuya-Ate Mentorship Program (KAMP)’s mentorship and student retention work is informed by Pilipinx traditions of kinship, collectivity, and familyhood. Upon joining, new members fill out surveys to join “small families” and connect with like-minded mentors.
- The Sikh Student Association seeks to create a space for Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike to learn about Sikh culture and core disciplines of Simran (religious events), Seva (volunteering), and Sangat (social events). Past events include group hikes, Jeopardy! nights, and cultural gatherings like Kirtan Night and Rehras Sahib.
- Umoja means “unity” in Swahili. Their goal is to retain African Black and Caribbean-identified students at UCSC through graduation. Umoja offers a scholarship/work experience opportunity through the Chancellor’s Internship Program, and last year, they hosted the Black Joy Banquet for African, Black, and Caribbean students.
ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY
- Enviroslug is a sustainability collective made up of the Student Environmental Center, Education for Sustainable Living Program, and Campus Sustainability Council. Their goal is to provide a platform for UCSC students to take action for the climate on and off campus, often by spreading the word about UC-wide climate campaigns. Enviroslug also offers activism-focused, student-facilitated courses for university credit (like CRSN 161, which was offered during the 2022-23 school year).
- The Santa Cruz Fighting Game Community holds events every week for lovers of Smash and other combat-based games. They seek competitive and casual players alike.
- The Slug Anime and Manga Association (SAMA) is united by their love of anime and manga. Last year, SAMA hosted (among other events) SlugCon 2023, which featured live music, gaming tournaments, and booths full of UCSC artists selling their wares. Also, unlike most student orgs, SAMA has a mascot named Mari!
- The Slug Book Club is exactly what it sounds like: UCSC’s own book club! They vote on a fresh book every month, organize book swaps, and sometimes even host author Q&As over Zoom. Past books-of-the-month include Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and Turtles All the Way Down by Hank Green.
- Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) is the UCSC branch of a national Jewish fraternity. Their goal is to help grow the Jewish leaders of tomorrow, and their events range from their “Pie a Pi” fundraisers (which typically occurs once per year) to themed costume parties.
- Sigma Pi Alpha, a.k.a. the “Santa Cruz Ellas,” is a Chicana/Latina-based sorority dedicated to supporting Chicana and Latina women at UCSC. Last year, they organized a “Big and Little” mentorship program that connected new pledges with seasoned members.
- Theta Pi Sigma is an all-gender, queer and trans-focused Greek organization that seeks to create a nurturing space for LGBTQIA+ members of the UCSC community. Past events include a Queer Prom and an organization-wide “Family Olympics.”
PERFORMING & VISUAL ARTS
- Cloud 9 Acapella is UCSC’s oldest acapella troupe. They hold auditions every year and stage performances on-campus and beyond — in past years, they’ve performed at well-known campus events like the annual Queer Fashion Show.
- Sabrosura Latin Dance Troupe uses dance to highlight and celebrate Latin American and Caribbean cultures. Dance team tryouts are held every quarter, but if you’ve got two left feet, never fear: Sabrosura’s dance workshops, socials, showcases, and general body meetings are open to all.
- Slugs in Fishnets is UCSC’s resident student shadowcast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. During the 2022-23 school year, Slugs in Fishnets performed at the Landmark Del Mar Theater in downtown Santa Cruz and other venerable venues.
- Traditional East Asian & Rock Band (TEA&R) pairs contemporary pop music with East Asian culture (traditional and modern, mind you). They specialize in cultural education and rip-roaring music events.
POLITICAL & ADVOCACY
- CALPIRG is an activism group dedicated to preventing climate change, ending the use of single-use plastics, and mobilizing UCSC students. Their work often centers around voter registration and petition signing; it’s not uncommon to see them tabling around the UCSC campus and approaching students directly.
- GABRIELA Santa Cruz is a coalition of Pilipinx women and nonbinary people that mobilizes, organizes, and educates in support of national democracy in the Philippines, often via protest or other forms of political activism. In the past, they’ve sent members to national conferences and collaborated with local unions like AFSCME 3299.
- Student Housing Coalition is an activist group that aims to center student voices in the fight for affordable housing, both on-campus and off-campus, in Santa Cruz. Their activism includes calls to action, protest organization, and interfacing with the greater political world on issues of housing and houselessness.
- Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) aims to mobilize and educate UCSC students on the movement for Palestinian liberation. Their past efforts include lectures, info sessions, and movie screenings; they’ve also organized protests in collaboration with other UCSC student orgs.
- The Pre-Dental Society brings together undergraduates interested in a career in dentistry. Many of their events involve skills essential to entering dentistry: everything ranging from manual dexterity workshops to sit-downs with prominent dentistry programs.
- The National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) is the UCSC chapter of a nationwide organization. Their mission is to increase the number of culturally-responsible Black engineering students at UCSC and empower them in their academic and professional pursuits.
- 180 Degrees Consulting is the UCSC chapter of a nationwide consultancy service that specializes in socially-conscious, often non-profit organizations. In the 2022-23 school year, student consultants at 180 Degrees helped see eight projects to completion and put in a total of around 150 hours of work per consultant.
RELIGIOUS & SPIRITUAL
- Newman Catholics at UCSC provides support for Catholic students and seeks to share their faith with the greater UCSC community. Often, they provide a service for Ash Wednesday and hold events ranging from BBQs to Mardis Gras celebrations.
- The Muslim Student Association (MSA) strives to represent the diverse voices of Muslims at UCSC, as well as provide a space for those students to celebrate their shared faith. Certain events are social and casual, while others allow Muslim students to pray surrounded by fellow members.
- The Spiritual Pagan Student Alliance seeks to provide a safe space for conversations around earth-based pagan/spiritual practice at UCSC. In the past, they’ve organized potlucks, held discussions on magic, and celebrated significant dates like the Spring Equinox.
- The American Red Cross Association at UCSC (ARCA) collaborates with the Santa Cruz regional chapter of the Red Cross to give students vital experience in public health. ARCA often embarks on projects of its own — last year, they organized a successful on-campus blood drive.
- Circle K International (CKI) focuses on the power of volunteerism, whether it’s helping local small businesses prosper, transcribing letters from the prison community, or working in public gardens. CKI likes to have fun, too — they often organize socials and movie nights.
- The Emergency Medical Slugs strive to educate UCSC undergrads about pre-hospital care and connect them with entry-level volunteer opportunities. They accept all volunteers regardless of qualifications and lead workshops in partnership with the UCSC police department.
- The Rotaract Club is all about community service! They’re sponsored by Rotary International, a 118-year-old service organization with millions of “neighbors” around the world, and provide UCSC students with a platform for volunteerism, mentorship, and community organizing.
The second category, Student Media, is exactly what it sounds like: literary journals, filmmaking coalitions, student-run newspapers and magazines galore. From silly to serious and everything in between, Student Media scratches your creative itch.
- Chinquapin Literary Magazine is UCSC’s longest-running literary magazine. Every year, they publish a collection of prose, poetry, photography, visual art, and collage. Past issues can be found around campus or accessed digitally on their website.
- EyeCandy Film Journal is a self-described “media studies collective” that publishes an annual magazine chock-full of film, TV, and music criticism. Their blog is active throughout the school year and covers everything from analyses of found footage horror movies to why the Internet loves Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Film Production Coalition (FPC) is all about creative collaboration: each quarter, its members write, shoot, and edit original short films in small crews. Later, they hold small film festivals to screen their work to the public, making them a one-stop shop for production experience at UCSC. FPC publishes their films (along with On the Spot) on their YouTube channel, Student Cable Television (SCTV).
- Fish Rap Live! is UCSC’s satire newspaper of record. Sometimes, their articles are about real things that happen; sometimes, they’re not. Most of the time, though, they spin aspects of UCSC culture into print articles that touch the student populace in a meaningful, accessible, and humorous manner.
- Matchbox Magazine is an annually-published printed literary journal that accepts visual art, poetry, short stories, and more from all nine of the UCs. Keep an eye out for copies around campus — their covers are typically very colorful and very beautiful.
- On the Spot (OTS) produces short sketch comedy films every quarter. It strives to connect its members with valuable on-set filmmaking experience – and opens the door to a lot of silliness in the process. (All of their past films are available to watch along with FPC’s body of work on the YouTube channel Student Cable Television.)
- SciSlug is a magazine devoted to exploring stories in the scientific world through journalism and artistic practice. They publish annually, host frequent meetings during the school year, and stage events like their Annual SciSlug Spring Extravaganza.
- Shutterslug is UCSC’s student-run photography organization. They publish a magazine called Lightleak that accepts all kinds of photos and photo essays once per year — the rest of the year, they host weekly meetings and/or shoots, often with photo prompts that prompt roundtable discussions.
- TWANAS (Communities of Color and Native American Students Press) is an annually-published magazine focused on addressing the multiplicity of experiences within the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. They accept all kinds of written work, as well as art and photography.
The Cultural Arts and Diversity Resource Center (CADrc) is the collaboration between the African American Theater Arts Troupe and Rainbow Theater. They center underrepresented voices in their efforts to fill the UCSC campus with art, advocacy, and awareness.
- African American Theater Arts Troupe (AATAT) is a group of African-American artists who host enriching theater experiences for the UCSC student body and Santa Cruz at large while simultaneously fostering young Black actors through scholarships. They are the only theater troupe in the UC system dedicated to specifically uplifting Black performers.
- Rainbow Theater highlights the many different cultural experiences that grow, learn, and thrive next to each other at UCSC like colors on a rainbow. United by a love for the art of theater, they facilitate lectures, workshops, and performances every year all of it lovingly multicultural.
SOMeCA also has a satellite program called engaging education (e²). e² is a student outreach and retention center that strives to connect members of historically under-resourced communities at UCSC with a platform for activism, empowerment, and education. Their work includes the Motivation Conference, a 3-day program for low-income AA/PI students, and Destination Higher Education, a program designed to introduce newly-admitted African/Black/Caribbean students to life at UCSC.