Since 1984, the trailer park has been a hub for artistic creativity, collaborative community, social action in Santa Cruz, and an invaluable autonomous space on UCSC campus. This tradition originally started because there was no affordable housing on campus so students began living in trailers and vehicles in protest.Since its start, it has been one of the few low income communities on the UCSC campus. The students own their trailers and rent the space from the university, allowing for year round housing, autonomy, and community continuity. Residents of the Trailer Park not only learn lessons about home owning, but also experience what it is like to be part of a community. With potlucks twice a week, shared gardenspaces, year round stable housing and traditions that get passed down through the generations, the Trailer Park is a special place that is irreplaceable to the UCSC community.
On June 1st, a week before finals, the University sent letters to the residents announcing there proposal for a “change of use” for the Trailer park. Their proposal included putting in a sewer line at the cost of 1.8 million, replacing all the student own trailers with university owned ones (costing between $18,000 and $20,000 each), and changing the housing policy to resemble other ones on campus. In this proposal students would have to vacate the trailers over winter and summer break, so the university can do maintenance. It would also give the freshmen and sophomores priority housing, and make the average residency be one academic year. Further information on the universities plan can be found here.
Many of the graduating seniors relied on the old system where they would be able to sell their trailers to the next person, allowing them to make back the money they spent on their initial purchase. Due to the timing of the university’s proposal, many seniors were put in a difficult position juggling finals, parents, graduation, and now loss of money and responsibility of what to do with their trailer. For compensation the university offered a $2,500 settlement agreement. This settlement, if signed, would have the students relinquish their rights for any legal action against the UC System, but give the student the $2,500 compensation. Additionally, the university would be willing to tow the trailers within 25miles, and give a 21 day extension to when the trailer need to leave.
Following the announcement of the proposal, the residents of the trailer park as well as many alumni held a meeting to determine what the next steps should be. Many of the the students felt that the university’s plan, while well intentioned would ruin many aspects of the park that students hold most dear, like the community and traditions. Many felt confused about the $2,500 settlement, and many seniors felt outraged by timing. As a group we developed clarifying questions to ask the Administration at a meeting that would be held in the next few days. At this meeting we determined that we had only a few options on how to respond to the university’s proposal. So, we developed work groups to look into the possibility of legal action, figure out ways to modify the university’s proposal to try to retain the important aspects of the park, and look into alternative options
Over the next month the students and alumni worked hard researching similar situations (like the Domes in Davis) and doing outreach to a number of people and organizations. We begun to realize that leasing the land through a third party non-profit was the most viable and reasonable solution that could meet every party’s needs. To see more details on this proposal check out Proposal.
We began to get more organized as a group, assigning people of various task that needed to be done, and we started to get a more complete understanding of what would need to be done in order to lease the land. By early July, we had a pretty good idea of which organizations and people we needed to work with to create our proposal, but in order to start doing outreach, and put up our website, and start to solidifying our plan, we had to tell the university our plans, so that we could begin to work together.
On Wednesday July 6th, we met with administration again and proposed our idea. A copy of our initial proposal speech can be found here. At this meeting, the administration agreed to look into our proposal and have a follow up meeting.
We are now continuing collaborations with the university, working on our proposal, doing media outreach to spread awareness, and trying to get as many people as possible to sign petitions and send letter expressing their support of our proposal. Links to the petition, letter, and indiegogo page can be found on this website. Please share this site with others, and continue to check back for more updates on our progress. Long live the Trailer Park.
July 12, 2016
Hello all! I just wanted to give a quick thank you to all who have showed their support by signing the petition and donating. After only being up for a little over one day we have raised $400, and have almost 200 signatures!!! We have an upcoming admin meeting to give our proposal to more of the school, and those signatures are going to be very helpful in proving how important the Trailer Park is to the community at large! Our Change.org petition is even being shared in Australia right now! Thank you again for your help and support in saving this wonderful community, long live the Trailer Park!!
July 24th, 2016
Hello all! It has been a hard couple of days up here at the Trailer park. This last week was not only finals week for summer session #1, but it was also the move out day for most of the seniors trailers. Fortunately, there has been headway made in our proposal, which will be updated on our proposal page over the next day to reflect our conversations with professors, an architect, and lawyers. And I am happy to announce we are now at 860 signatures on our change.org petition and $965 raised through our gofundme page!! I am also excited to announce that we will be on a Santa Cruz community TV show called Voices from the Village at 7pm tonight!! Thank you for all your help and continued support, please continue to share this page and our petition, long live the trailer park!
August 7th, 2016
Hello Everyone! We have just received info that the university is putting in university owned trailers. They have refused to meet with us to further discuss our proposal, so now we really need your help! We are asking if you could please send an email out to the administration:
Email to Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org
and cc at
-Dave Keller <email@example.com>
-Joshua Nicholas <firstname.lastname@example.org
-Alan VanderPaas <email@example.com
-Adrianne Waite <firstname.lastname@example.org
-George Blumenthal <email@example.com
-Allison Galloway <firstname.lastname@example.org
-Sarah Latham <email@example.com
-John Barnes <firstname.lastname@example.org
-Lisa Akeson email@example.com
Dear University Official,
My name is [blank] and I am a [community member/ fellow student/ concerned family member/ etc]. I am writing because I am concerned about the lack of collaboration with Camper Park residents and community members who are proposing an alternative to the University plan to move in new University owned trailers this fall. They wish to discuss the merits of student autonomy, sustainability, and co-operative living arrangements within the University directly with you. I believe the plan proposed by the coalition of students, faculty, lawyers, architects, and community members is a viable option that will most effectively demonstrate the shared commitment towards accessibility, affordability, and safety. I support administration and student collaboration, and ask that administration meet with them in a timely manner.
[your name here]
We have received over 1,000 signatures on our change.org page and $1,165 on our Go Fund Me Page! Please keep sharing our pages and thank you for the continued support.
August 8th, 2016
Thank you for sending out the emails! We will be meeting with the administration this week to discuss our proposal and the future of the Trailer Park. Keep spreading the word staying updated on our situation. We appreciate the support!