Students attend a campus concert, pose with UCR's mascot Scotty Highlander, and take selfies with friends.

54 Facts: Student Life


UCR Highlanders find a nexus of experiences designed to indulge all their interests and offer new opportunities to be seen and heard. They stand up for their convictions, are open to the truth of others, and take part in a vibrant student life that surrounds them with other Highlanders who share their aspirations for genuine friendship.

We know that this will happen for you too, as you jump into the UCR student experience.

Fact 39: More Than 300 Flavors!

Paint swatches in a rainbow of colors to represent the variety of student organizations at UCR.
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Find your perfect fit among UCR’s more than 300 student organizations. You can also get together with four other students and work with Student Life to start your own! Students have started a variety of organizations at UCR, including the American Medical Student Association, Circle K International, Fire Spinning Club, and First Generation Student Association. “Getting involved is not just about joining clubs and going to events,” says Colin Lewis, senior coordinator for student organizations. “Getting involved also means expanding your circle of friends and networks, being exposed to different ideas and ways of doing things, and maybe even learning something about yourself that you didn't know before. Getting involved is just as much about yourself as it is learning about others and how to have a positive impact."

Fact 40: REC It Here. REC It There. REC It Anywhere.

An outside view of UCR’s state-of-the-art Student Recreation Center (SRC) and its recreational/lap swimming pool.
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UC Riverside’s state-of-the-art Student Recreation Center (SRC) is premiere fitness center on campus. We offer many amenities and activities that include group fitness, personal training, team sports, chair massage, cooking classes, rock climbing, swim lessons, and outdoor trips. Our programs help Highlanders develop a positive attitude toward life-term fitness and healthy lifestyles, both mental and physical.

Come see what everyone is talking about! Download the UCRSRC mobile app and REC IT at the SRC today!

Fact 41: Live Your Best Life With Campus Housing

Two students, wearing their UCR gear, hang out inside a Housing Residence Hall room on campus.
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With 11 campus housing options, you're bound to find the right home-away-from-home at UCR. Explore your options with a 360-degree virtual tour.

First-year students (domestic and international) can choose from four all-inclusive Residence Halls on campus. Each has its own style, and all residence halls feature fitness centers, study lounges, outdoor recreation areas, and the same social programming.

Continuing, transfer, and graduate-level students are eligible to choose from six Campus Apartments communities. Each community features walk-to-class convenience, stay-fit amenities, resources to help you make the grade, and events to keep you connected.

Students with dependents and/or life-partners can find comfort, safety, family-friendly resources, social programs in Family Housing. It's also close to UCR’s Center for Early Childhood Education.

Admitted UCR Students: The best way to secure available campus housing is to apply or submit a contract as soon after submitting your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) as possible.

Fact 42: Campus of Firsts

Seven students, representing the diversity of UCR's student body, stand shoulder to shoulder in front of the iconic bell tower on campus.
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UCR has ranked among the nation’s most ethnically diverse universities. Our campus’ welcoming environment is supported in part by the Ethnic & Gender Centers, many of which are groundbreakers and products of student activism. UCR is the first campus to have a professionally staffed Black student resource center (African Student Programs, 1972). We’re the first UC campus to open an office focused on serving Native American students (Native American Student Programs, 1980). UCR was the first public university to offer a gender-neutral housing option to all students (2005). We’re the home of the first Middle Eastern Student Center in the nation (MESC, 2013). Beyond these innovative supportive programs, UCR is the first UC campus to offer a Native American history Ph.D., the first university in California to offer an LGBT studies minor, and the first university in the world to have an endowed American Indian chair.

Fact 43: Dedicated to Your Health, Well-being & Safety

Stylized illustration of the eight facets of wellness at UCR, including career, finance, family, health, fun and recreation, friends, personal development, and spiritual.
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Being a successful student means being well inside and out. UCR's Health, Well-being & Safety (HWS) is a network of highly trained health professionals, peer educators, and community partners committed to your overall health and well-being. Stop by Student Health Services (SHS) for annual checkups, dental exams, reproductive care, prescriptions, and more. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers individual and group therapy as well as psychiatric services. Get guidance and help solving problems from Case Management. Connect with the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) for assistance with accessibility on campus. Drop into The Well for health education and peer support. Visit the Student Recreation Center (SRC) to take a fitness class, workout, swim a few laps, or learn to cook delicious, nutritious meals. Turn to Basic Needs for emergency food support and emergency financial assistance through the economic crisis response team application process, and general basic needs questions.

Fact 44: Exclusively Highlander Excitement

Musicians perform and students sing along at UC Riverside's annual Spring Splash concert.
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Thanks to the student directors and interns at the Associated Students Program Board (ASPB), there’s always something happening at UCR, like music festivals, guest speakers, school spirit events, cultural celebrations, film premieres/screenings, and so much more.

Block Party, Spring Splash, and Winter SOULstice music festivals have gained legendary status with lineups that have featured Rae Srummerd, Trey Songz, DJ Snake, YG, Dominic Fike, Kaytranada, Niki, A$AP Ferg, Nelly, Rick Ross, H.E.R, Jorja Smith, Doja Cat, Kehlani, and Young the Giant. And on Wednesdays, Highlanders can catch a free mini concerts featuring local artists at 12 p.m. The series is called Nooners. Clever, right?

You can also attend speaking engagements, which have featured high profiled guests including Hasan Minhaj, Bill Nye, Bretman Rock, Kyle Kuzma, Louis the Child, Chad Michael Murry, Justin Baldoni, Spike Lee, Angela Davis, Buzzfeed’s Try Guys, Rainn Wilson, and so much more.

ASPB events are all fun, all free, and all exclusively Highlander. “The best part of my job was creating experiences where students can come together, even virtually and be themselves, and make lasting memories here at UCR,” says Andy Ortega, an alumni and former ASPB chairperson. 

Fact 45: Basic Needs Provided in Not-So-Basic Ways

The R'Pantry van, wrapped with an illustrated graphic, represents the on-campus food pantry and how it helps students who are experiencing food insecurity.
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UCR’s Basic Needs Department is a place where Highlanders can connect with essential resources that make college life easier. If you are a UCR student experiencing basic needs challenges, such as food insecurity, housing displacement/homelessness, or financial crisis, we encourage you to reach out to us for assistance. Pick up a gift card so you can purchase items at a local grocery store. Or check out R’Pantry, which provides Highlanders with food resources, hygiene products, and childcare items. We can also get you into temporary housing if you find yourself living in your car, at a friends house, in a shelter, or on the street. Additionally, we offer application assistance for the CalFresh food aid enrollment process, and emergency grant support through our Economic Crisis Response Team. Basic Needs looks forward to connecting you with the help you need.

Fact 46: Farm Fresh

A man holds a box of oranges to illustrate UCR's mission to offer fresh fruits and vegetables in an effort to combat food insecurity.
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Through its Basic Needs department, UCR has launched a number of initiatives to combat food insecurity, including one that ensures students have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Covering 8 acres of the UCR campus, the R'Garden is a space for students, faculty, staff, and community members to grow fresh produce and features community garden plots, a greenhouse, and a Valencia orange grove. Some of the produce grown here ends up in the R'Pantry, UCR's emergency food resource, giving students easy access to healthy, delicious, and fresh food.

Fact 47: The Place to Be

The Barn, built in 1917, was renovated in 2020 in order to serve more campus and community members as a restaurant and entertainment site.
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One of the oldest spots on the UCR campus is also one of the coolest. Built in as a horse stable in 1917, The Barn has lived many lives. With the official opening of UCR in the '50s, The Barn became a restaurant. Starting in the 1960s, it became a music venue, welcoming acts including Van Morrison, No Doubt, and Rage Against the Machine over the next three decades. Student groups and campus organizations have used The Barn for performances and celebrations. There have even been weddings at The Barn! Last year, a revitalized Barn welcomed back the campus community following a two-year, $30-million renovation and expansion. The upgraded space features a dining hall with four food stations, a private dining room for faculty and staff, a bar with UCR-citrus-infused beers on tap, large patios for outdoor dining, and a stage set to welcome a variety of live acts.

Fact 48: Executive Suite

Ivan Hinderaker, the third chancellor of UC Riverside, is pictured in front of the building that bears his name and
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UCR has been led by a dozen different chancellors over the course of its nearly seven-decade history. Many of these distinguished campus leaders have been memorialized with buildings named in their honor. Hinderaker Hall, the administration building named for our longest-serving chancellor, Ivan Hinderaker, is one example. UCR's third chancellor, Hinderaker championed the construction of the iconic Bell Tower, development of campus radio station KUCR, and launching of the UCR/California Museum of Photography during his 15-year tenure. When anti-war protests broke out on campus, Hinderaker invited student leaders to his office for coffee and donuts. The Ivan's coffee shop in Hinderaker Hall is also named in his honor.

Fact 49: For Those Who Served

A photo from UCR's 1954 yearbook shows UCR's first student, a Navy sailor, Jim McMillan a day after his release from the U.S. Navy. He is shaking hands with with Dr. Gordon Watkins, the provost from 1949 to 1956.
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When UCR's Veterans Resource Center (VRC) opened its doors in fall 2017, the veterans, active-duty servicemembers, military spouses, and military dependents it serves had a group of student veterans to thank for spearheading the center's founding. Student veterans met with campus leaders to push for the development of a centralized space on campus that would provide military-affiliated students at UCR with resources, support, and a community. Targeted resources like the VRC earned UCR a No. 45 spot on U.S. News & World Report's 2024 list of Best Colleges for Veterans, as well as being one of the top schools for veterans as listed by Military Friendly Schools.

For decades, UCR has been home to veterans. A photo (left) from UCR's 1954 yearbook shows UCR's first student, Jim McMillan, a day after his release from the U.S. Navy. McMillan is being greeted by Dr. Gordon Watkins, who served as provost from 1949 to 1956.

Fact 50: Built for Student Success

A teacher is lecturing in one of the lecture halls inside the Student Success Center building.
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UCR’s Student Success Center is a three-story, 62,000-square-foot multipurpose space near the center of campus that provides classroom space with seating for 1,100 plus medium- and large-size lecture halls, meeting rooms, study spaces, a student lounge, and dining.

Fact 51: Going Green

Collage showing sustainable efforts made my UCR: Top left shows an aerial view of the solar panels covering parking Lot 30. Top right shows a student working in a greenhouse. Bottom photo shows students planting a tree.
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Sustainability is a way of life at UCR, from the compostable utensils used in campus dining to the solar panels found across campus that are sending 100% renewable energy into our grid. UCR also offers alternative transportation programs such as Bike/Walkcarpool, and vanpool. You can even get free bus passes!

UCR is ranked No. 9 among public universities in The Princeton Review’s 2023 Guide to Green Colleges. UCR is also ranked No. 27 on The Princeton Review's Top 50 Green Colleges list for superb sustainability practices, strong foundations in sustainability education, and healthy quality of life for students on campus. The top 50 schools’ shared practices include purchasing from local sources and/or organic; diverting waste from incinerators and landfills; having a sustainability officer on campus, and offering sustainability-focused degrees like UCR's Sustainability Studies major. 

The year 2022 marked the largest expansion of Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) certified buildings on campus and UCR's Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (AASHE STARS). 

Fact 52: Tartan and Traditions

Fourteen UCR students gather together to show their R'school spirit and feature their Highlander blue and gold kilts.
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UCR takes pride in R’school spirit. We wear UCR gear on Wednesdays for R’Day, cheer on our athletes alongside our UCR Highlander Pep Band, and hold true to four core Tartan Soul values (Integrity, Accountability, Excellence, and Respect). We honor decades of campus traditions with our Highlander Traditions Keeper program, where students complete and track at least 54 predetermined traditions to earn a medal upon graduation.

Fact 53: Dining in Style

UCR students stand in line to make food selections at the Glasgow Residential Restaurant.
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Glasgow Residential Restaurant is the newest dining venue on the UCR campus. The two-story restaurant features several unique food stations and an exhibition bakery that includes healthy vegetarian and vegan fare, halal and gluten-friendly options, and international entrees inspired by cultures across the globe! Glasgow also features an exhibition bakery, retail store, and two private dining rooms.

Fact 54: Bike-Friendly & Cycle-Savvy

Male student fills the tires on his bicycle from an air station on campus.
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It’s official! UCR’s ongoing promotion of bicycling as an alternative transportation mode that saves money, reduces the campus’ carbon footprint, and provides fitness opportunities has gotten us recognized as a bike friendly university by the League of American Bicyclists. To show the over 1,000 cycling Highlanders some love, we provide free California bike licenses and registration to all students and employees. We also offer bike amenities such as over 3,000 bike racks and covered cages for safe storing. Bicyclists can also travel safely, knowing the campus has six 24/7 fix-it stations that include tools for minor repairs and six powered air pumps that are free of charge. We also partnered with a local business, Riverside’s Pedals Bike Shop, to offer a professional repair shop which has a location right on campus at Bannockburn. “These colleges and universities are leading by building healthy environments where people can safely get around while improving the well-being of their community by enabling access to sustainable transportation options,” says Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists.

Check out facts about UCR's academics and people.