UCSC Colleges: Oakes College


During the late 1960s, a black power group demanded an all-black college. UCSC compromised and instead founded a new college whose theme would revolve around ethnic studies. Oakes was opened in 1972 as “College Seven”.

Oakes College received its name in 1975. “Oakes” is the surname of Margaret and Roscoe Oakes, who made a significant impact in the founding of the college.


The theme for Oakes College is “Value and change in a diverse society”. The core course consists of readings and films about ethnic studies and how to live in a multicultural society.


Oakes College is located in the southwest corner of campus. Oakes is the “lowest” college on the hill.

The West Remote Parking Lot is right below Oakes, and several of the campus bus routes begin there, making it easy to hop on a bus. However, to board buses for other routes (including all city buses), you must instead walk a moderate distance to a nearby bus stop.

Despite being a long walk from just about every place on campus (except maybe the Media Theater), Oakes isn’t too remote because buses are usually fairly easy to catch. On the weekends, however, there are fewer buses.


Dorms at Oakes are divided into four three-story buildings. Oakes has singles, doubles, triples, and quads, but doubles are by far the most common-sized room. Due to overcrowding on campus, some doubles are being used as triples.

The apartments at Oakes hold six freshmen or five continuing students. Freshmen have been moved to apartments due to overcrowding. The rooms tend to be doubles and the apartments are fairly spacious, containing both a study and a living room, in addition to two bathrooms.

Due to Oakes’ unique shingle architecture, the apartments and the dorms don’t look drastically different on the outside.


The only dining hall near Oakes is located at College Eight. College Eight’s dining hall runs until midnight Sunday-Thursday and closes at 7 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. The food there is pretty average, though I believe that this dining hall has the most variety in food.

It’s worth noting that the dining hall is at the top of College Eight, so you’ll be walking all the way uphill through College Eight to reach the dining hall.

To reach the other dining halls (except Porter, maybe), you’ll almost certainly want to catch a bus.

It’s also worth noting that every college on campus has its own cafe, and Oakes seems to be a decent hang-out place. You’ll need to pay to eat there, but the food there is very good.

Things to Remember

  • Oakes has the reputation of being a minority college, and from what I’ve seen, this tends to be true. Not that Oakes is only minorities, but statistics show that minorities make up a larger amount of Oakes’s student body than the rest of UCSC.
  • Oakes has a beautiful view of the ocean and the hills below UC Santa Cruz.
  • Be ready to walk all the way to the top of College Eight every time you’re hungry.
  • Know that the buses can fluctuate between being very convenient and a large hassle. Oakes is otherwise pretty remote from the rest of the campus, so be prepared to walk if necessary.