Campus Resource: OPERS

eSlug Newsletter Winter 2016

Sixth installment in a series of articles on campus resources at UC Santa Cruz. Brought to you by eSlug!

UC Santa Cruz students may casually mention a mysterious item called "OPERS" (pronounced "OH-purz"). What they're referring to is the campus Office of Physical Education, Recreation, and Sports, a diverse, large-scale and always-busy unit that oversees UCSC physical education classes, NCAA Division III athletics, a large-scale recreation program, competitive sports clubs, intramural sports teams, and FitLife (an innovative program for the campus community that includes drop-in group exercise classes and personal training).

In addition to all this, OPERS oversees two inter-disciplinary programs (SCUBA and boating), and three youth programs: Slug Aquatics, Summer Boating, and Sammy Slug Summer Camp.

True to the spirit of our unconventional Banana Slug mascot, OPERS is inclusive and focused on self-improvement and wellness, as well as friendly competition. Their short motto is "Something for everyone!", and their mission statement is:

"To provide a wide variety of professional programs and physical activities that promote and enhance community, learning, leadership, lifelong wellness, and academic success."

Sammy the Slug!

Teams and Clubs

Athletics UC Santa Cruz belongs to NCAA Division III (no athletic scholarships). However, several of UCSC's teams are very competitive and have gained recognition recently, such as men's tennis.


Competitive and Non-Competitive Sports Clubs At UCSC, competitive sports clubs compete against other universities in sanctioned leagues, tournaments, and matches. Non-competitive sports clubs either have two or fewer competitions per year or are entirely focused on recreation.

Current Competitive Sports Clubs: Badminton, Baseball, Cross Country, Cycling, Disc Golf, Equestrian, Fencing, Lacrosse Men, Lacrosse Women, Racquetball, Rowing, Rugby Men, Rugby Women, Sailing, Soccer Men, Soccer Women, Softball Women, Surfing, Tennis, Track and Field, Triathlon, Ultimate Men, Ultimate Women, Water Polo Men, Water Polo Women.

Current Non-Competitive Clubs: Aikido, Backpacking, Ballroom Dance, Breakdance, Camp Kesem, Cheer Team, Circus Slugs, Coaching Corps, Dance Team, Fishing, Grappling, Judo, Kayak, Kendo, Muay Thai, Ninjutsu, Ping Pong, Special Olympics Coaching, Sports Medicine, SCUBA, Taekwondo, Tango, Warrior Yoga, Wushu.

 Warrior Yoga

Intramural Sports UCSC offers a wide variety of intramural sports throughout the year, and if they don't see a sport they like, OPERS encourages students to suggest adding new ones!

Current Intramural Sports offered: Ultimate Frisbee, Futsal (Indoor Soccer), Outdoor Soccer, 5v5 Basketball, 3v3 Basketball, Dodgeball, Flag Football, Softball, Indoor Volleyball, Innertube Water Polo, 4v4 Sand Volleyball, Weightlifting, Doubles Tennis, Wallyball, Battleship, Cardiac Pacer Run.


UCSC has a very active Recreation Program with classes and activities going on all day and in the evenings and weekends during the academic year, from bellydancing to kayak skills classes, to overnight backpacking adventures. Looking at their schedules, you will be amazed at the huge variety of opportunities offered: adventure outings, classes and workshops, food systems learning journeys, kayaking, rock climbing, Spring Break trips, surfing, and for incoming students, the popular Wilderness Orientation program. It's no wonder that the UCSC Recreation Program has been named the #1 recreation program in the world by Outside Magazine.


Sports facilities at UCSC include a 50-meter swimming pool, which has 1- and 3-meter diving boards, 14 tennis courts in two locations, basketball and volleyball courts, racquetball courts, studios for dance and martial arts, sand volleyball courts, and playing fields for soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, and rugby all overlooking the beautiful Monterey Bay. UCSC also has a state-of-the-art Fitness Center.

More Information

OPERS Brochure

Recreation Program Winter Quarterly Activity Catalog

Wilderness Orientation Brochure

OPERS Web Site