UCSC Colleges: Carson College


Despite being founded in 1972, UCSC’s eighth college was unnamed for a long time, and for a long time, it was called College Eight. Now it is called Rachel Carson College. The reason College Eight wasn’t named so long is that there hadn’t been any benefactors who contributed enough money to have the college named after them.

The college was once nearly named “Adams College” after photographer Ansel Adams, but for long, College Eight was nameless.

That has changed now as College Eight at UC Santa Cruz was renamed Rachel Carson College. The college has always embraced environmentalism and writer and conservationist Rachel Carson has been widely credited with launching the contemporary environmental movement.


So College Eight, or now Rachel Carson College, is UCSC’s “green” college. The theme — “Environment and Society” — reflects on how humanity has impacted the environment. The core course involves readings about different ways in which our way of life has impacted the environment.


Rachel Carson College is located just above Oakes College and just below Porter College on the west side of campus.

The Media Center is very close to Eight (about a five-minute walk), but it’s farther from other areas such as Science Hill, the bookstore, and the East Field. If you’re planning on walking to any of these areas, be prepared for a long uphill walk that can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on where you’re going.

Luckily, Rachel Carson College has two bus stops to choose from, though the main one is shared with Porter College. Most all buses come through these bus stops, including the major campus routes and the city buses. Because Eight (Carson) is near the beginning of routes that are heading into campus, you can usually catch the first (or second) bus.


The dorms for Carson College are organized into four “quads”, which contain an L-shaped building and a garden building. Dorm room sizes are singles, doubles, small triples, and quads. Quads are pretty rare, and most students will live in triples and doubles. Some doubles have been converted into small troubles, which are simply a double room with three people living inside rather than two.

The doubles are pretty spacious, though the triples may feel a bit crammed. Each floor contains several singles as well, and the bathrooms are not coed. The L-shaped buildings also contain three suites each — in a suite, six students live in three rooms and share a common living room and bathroom. Suites are set off from the rest of the hall by their own door.


The apartments are said to house four or five residents, but I’ve heard that they more often hold six. The typical plans contain either four singles, two singles and a double, two doubles, two singles and a triple, three singles and a double, or a double and a triple. Each apartment has its own balcony. The apartments are pretty nice, from what I’ve seen so far.

Carson has its own dining hall that it shares with Oakes. The food is pretty average, with a good amount of variety. The dining hall is open most hours (until midnight Sunday-Thursday and until 7 PM on Friday and Saturday). Closing early on weekends is a bit inconvenient, and when this dining hall is closed, the only other dining hall open is at Crown College.

Things to Remember

  • Without buses, most areas of campus that are higher up are a long walk away. Be ready to walk if you can’t catch a bus, especially on weekends.
  • Since the dining hall closes early on weekends, be prepared to either go up to Crown’s dining hall or to go hungry.
  • Carson College stereotypically contains “suburban” or “preppy” kids. There is some truth to this.
  • Most days, you can see the horizon of the ocean from Carson. On clear days, you can even see parts of Monterey’s coast. Few rooms, however, have this view.