From cheerleader pyramids to a cappella music groups, UC Santa Cruz’s Slug Day 2009 last Friday was full of entertainment. A diverse variety of student organizations tabled in the Quarry Plaza from noon until 2 p.m.
Tiffany Loftin, Student Union Association (SUA) internal vice chair and an Oakes second-year, organized the event.
“I came up with the idea winter quarter and got my interns to help me out with it,” Loftin said. “And it was gorgeous.”
Loftin sent out a campuswide e-mail prior to the event, inviting various UCSC organizations to table and perform. Loftin was surprised when many more people replied to her e-mail than expected.
“I probably got about 47 groups, even though the bookstore only had eight tables to rent out,” Loftin said. “So I picked 16 groups and they shared tables.”
The idea for Slug Day originated when Loftin began to notice students sporting college gear from universities other than UCSC.
“It seemed like we just don’t have that spirit,” Loftin said. “We don’t rep our school as much as others.”
Slug Day was created to prove to students, professors and community members that the home of the banana slug is a proud one — and the proudest resident may very well be Sammy the Slug himself, who spent his day perusing the plaza and promoting school spirit.
“Everyone’s definitely proud to be a Slug on the inside,” Sammy said. “Slug Day is pretty much the most ballin’ shit ever.”
Mock trial, Haluan dance troupe and Cloud 9 tabled at Slug Day, and many other groups provided entertainment such as impromptu juggling performances and rock-climbing races.
“I wanted a mixture of everything,” Loftin said.
Matthew Palm, Kresge third-year and SUA commissioner of academic affairs, explained the collective decision to create what he calls their “pilot program.”
“This is our attempt to forge a campuswide community,” Palm said. “An attempt to express spirit, but also get involved.”
As well as coordinating spirit events, Palm explained that the SUA’s goal is to inform their peers about student issues.
“The SUA is the main voice for student issues,” Palm said. “We send dozens of students to Congress every year to lobby on behalf of college affordability.”
The SUA is currently pushing for the College Affordability Act, which will freeze student fees for five years and will tax the top 1 percent of Californians 1 percent of their income after the first million they make.
As well as providing more money for CSUs and UCs, the College Affordability Act could potentially allow students to start more clubs and organizations and take more classes through OPERS.
Loftin said that through outreach programs and promoting more spirit events, the students of UCSC can make a difference and help keep UCSC weird and free of cuts in funding.
“University unity is very important,” Loftin said. “It’s all about getting students in the same space and raising awareness.”
Loftin hopes to make Slug Day an annual event and to incorporate even more UCSC spirit.
“I would decorate the quarry blue and gold,” Loftin said. “And I want to see everyone wear Slug gear.”
Sammy Slug explained that UCSC has genuine school pride, despite the lack of Division I athletics.
“It’s actually part of the magic of Santa Cruz,” Sammy said. “We don’t need a football team to have a lot of spirit.”
Slug Day offered students and other members of UCSC the opportunity to learn more about their university and, with the SUA’s plans to create similar future events, to be more engaged with the school.
“Your college experience has to include getting involved,” Loftin said. “We are paying too much money to not get involved.”