At Rachel Carson College we seek to provide a holistic undergraduate pedagogy that combines class instruction with experiential learning opportunities, including advanced courses in sustainability and integrated, interdisciplinary training in hands-on skills and field research.  Rachel Carson College strives to fill this niche through its courses and collaborations with UCSC departments, student programs, faculty researchers, community mentors and business partners. Our objective is to teach and graduate change agents who can provide real world solutions to complex socio-ecological problems and green entrepreneurs who can build green organizations, businesses and industries. 

Here’s how we achieve our goals:

The Rachel Carson College 1 Course focuses on our theme, “Environment and Society,” through examination of California's environmental history and how the contemporary landscape has been shaped by capital and through labor, technology and politics.  College 1 consists of a weekly plenary in which all of the new frosh hear experts on relevant topics, and a discussion section, in which students explore ideas and themes related to the focus of the plenary.  College 1 faculty have developed a Rachel Carson College wiki, which incorporates Web 2.0 technologies and principles. Much of the site is open access, and offers a range of timely and important information and resources.

Minor in Sustainability Studies. Rachel Carson College sponsors a minor in Sustainability Studies, which has been approved on a permanent basis.  Not only is this minor designed to be highly interdisciplinary, it is also the first such college-sponsored degree program in several decades.  As such, the Sustainability Studies minor offers a model for new college-based undergraduate curricula and pedagogies and emphasizes the central academic role of UCSC’s college system on the campus. The minor offers students opportunities to conduct research in sustainable energy, resources and food production, to developing green entrepreneurial capabilities and to writing business plans and grant proposal to support their projects.  For more information about internships, see the Service Learning Sustainability Internship placement page.  For more information about courses in the minor, see the Curriculum page.

S-lab: Rachel Carson College is a cosponsor of the new Sustainability Lab (S-lab), a makerspace and incubator for student innovation, leadership and project development both on and off campus, through projects situated at the nexus of renewable energy technologies, urban food systems, and water security. S-lab provides functional indoor and outdoor research laboratories, workshops, prototyping and test equipment, meeting rooms and gathering spaces that encourage creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset. Online and hands-on modules are available to facilitate foundational understanding in sustainable technologies, while S-lab fellows are on hand to provide field-specific and professional mentorship. Through interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration, S-lab links sustainability-focused efforts here on the UCSC campus with those in the private sector and with the international community to form an integrated community of practice. The S-Lab is accessible to all students on campus.

Partnerships & Mentorships. In partnership with other campus programs Bay Area environmental organizations, and local government and community leaders, Rachel Carson College teaches UCSC students to pursue green research, education, enterprise, and entrepreneurship, in social, political, cultural, engineering and economic sectors. The College provides funding, resources, and mentorship to enable students implement their own green ideas.

Our on campus collaborators include:

Our off-campus collaborators include:

 If you are interesting in contributing time, work or money to Rachel Carson College (formerly College Eight)'s green initiatives, please contact the College Provost, Sue Carter <>.