Residential Life & Housing

Oakes College at Sunset

Dear Oakes students,

Whether you are a new or returning student, I am honored to welcome you to Oakes College. As you become more familiar with all that Oakes has to offer, I am confident you will recognize this community as central to your overall successful educational experience.

I speak to you not only as the College Administrative Officer, but as an alumnus of Oakes College. When I first set foot on the college grounds as a first-year student more than twenty years ago, I could not have imagined how profoundly my experience here would alter the trajectory of my life. Actively participating in the core course ignited my critical social justice consciousness; engaging in out-of-classroom life with other Oakes students helped me understand how to apply my newfound knowledge in meaningful ways. Though each of you will have your own unique experience here, I hope you will find it to be as transformative and powerful as mine.

At Oakes, we believe that our residential college model offers you not only support for your academic experiences, but also unique opportunities to learn about the concept of community. Ample research demonstrates that when college students feel connected to a community during their studies, they experience a smoother transition to university life, greater academic success, and high satisfaction with their college experience. That said, community is not a product we can deliver to you, but rather an experience you are responsible for creating for and with each other. We do not expect you to undertake this weighty task on your own. Instead, we aim to partner with you, striving to be “good companions” on your journey (Baxter Magolda, 2001) by facilitating experiences that help you to cultivate and apply the knowledge, skills, and abilities for creating, participating in, and leading communities.

But what kind of community do we hope you will create with us? We embrace UCSC’s Principles of Community and the Oakes Mission Statement as key frameworks for guiding our efforts. The values articulated in these statements inform the many opportunities we facilitate for you to engage with us and one another, including the relationship-building activities offered in our residences, the social and educational events created by our programs office, and our Oakes Student Senate.

Whatever your unique talents and interests, there is a place and a role for you here at Oakes College. We look forward to helping you make your mark on this special community.

Your companion on the journey,

Brian Arao
College Administrative Officer


Brian Arao


Oakes College Housing
UC Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Office: (831)459-3988
Fax: (831)459-2478