Community and Connections


  1. You can build a community off-campus too! Many local community organizations exist in the Santa Cruz area.
  2. Some graduate students join gyms, attend dance classes, or do outdoor activities to meet other community members.

Although moving to a new place and attending a new university can be scary, you are not alone and there are others that might be feeling the same way. Building community and connections with others either within your department, at the university as well as off-campus is vital to fostering a sense of belonging. 

Below, we’ve included a list of resources and groups that you can reach out to that are specific for graduate students.

  • Graduate Student Commons (GSC)
    This program led by graduate students offers both a place for graduate students to work and meet with others but also a place to hold tailored workshops and social events specifically for graduate students.  
    • GradLab
      Offers funding for graduate students who want to hold events, develop programs, and support organizations. Applications for funding are available at the beginning of each quarter.
  • Graduate Student Association
    Is a UC systemwide policy and advisory association with elected officers and representatives that seek to address the needs of graduate students around topics such as housing, funding, and child care. You can get involved to advocate for graduate students.
  • Student in green sweater holding tote and smiling First Generation Initiative Graduate Student Committee
    Provides some programming overseen by a volunteer committee focused on planning events specifically for first-generation graduate students. If you are interested in being a part of this committee, email us at for some more information.
  • WoC CommUNITY Group
    Aims to bring together graduate students who self-identify as women of color and to foster inter-departmental solidarity and belonging. If you’re interested in learning more about the group and attending events such as writing groups or socials, email
  • WiSE
    A graduate student run organization that aims to advance women in STEM fields. They hold a variety of events including science talks, coffee hour, and other workshops.
    This graduate student run organization’s goals are to foster community in the Earth & Planetary Sciences department, raise awareness of limited minority participation in the field and provide professional development opportunities. 
  • The Resource Centers
    Provide opportunities for graduate students who identify with different cultural or ethnic groups and communities to meet others, share experiences, get involved, and attend workshops, and tailored events.
  • Providing spiritual or religious communities on-campus. 
  • First-generation graduate students might also want to seek community outside of school.
    Examples could be community groups, women's center downtown, mental health resources.
    Here is a link to local community organizations: