Above: Chancellor Cindy Larive | Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta
Hello Banana Slugs! A month into the new academic year is a good time to take stock of all that we have accomplished in our return to primarily in-person instruction. I am excited to see that our adoption of new technology and teaching practices over the past year and a half is now benefiting our reunited community. That was our hope during remote instruction — that there could be some important lessons learned during the incredibly difficult period we collectively experienced — and that has happened.
Over the past two years, our entire institution has also re-examined and recommitted to what it means to be a truly student-serving institution with an extraordinary research profile. In short, we must do all in our power to ensure our students succeed in both the short and long term, and that all of our students have full access to the wide range of opportunities this incredible university provides. That led to the recent launch of our Student Success Initiative. This wide-ranging, five-year effort will increase financial support for our undergraduate and graduate students, advancing their access to the guidance and experiences fundamental to their education. It also involves enhancing our existing resources and developing new programs, opportunities, and other means of support for our students. I encourage you to visit our new Student Success Initiative website to explore the initiative. In the coming months, we’ll roll out specific ways that you — as a member of the Banana Slug community — can help students get the most out of their time at UCSC, enabling their future success and social mobility.
There are, of course, ways that you can help lift up students now. Take part in our annual Giving Day, for example. This annual 24-hour online fundraising drive, slated for Nov. 3, supports UCSC students, faculty, and campus programs. Participants can choose from dozens of projects. In many cases, donors have created donation matches as an incentive for others to give. Challenges, also funded by donors, create fun competition between project teams and are additional opportunities to raise funds.
We also have many hands-on ways you can get involved. We are always in need of people ready to listen, inspire, and help students navigate challenges and recognize opportunities. Our UCSC Slug Mentor Network matches students with an alum or peer mentor based on interests, background, academics, and professional aspirations. Our Baskin School of Engineering Alumni Mentoring Program has had great success in this area, enabling students to tap into a wealth of knowledge that upper-division students and Baskin alumni have accumulated over their academic and professional careers. Our Career Advice Network, administered by our Alumni Association, is yet another way to give back. It is an online platform where alumni and students connect with other alumni for career advice.
Our campus has long been a supporter of equity and social justice, and already we are making a difference in the lives of thousands of students. Through efforts like the Student Success Initiative, Giving Day and our many mentor programs, we are revealing ourselves to be a leader at the intersection of innovation and social justice. Together we can create transformative change.
Cynthia Larive, Chancellor