From bringing faculty together from across disciplines to build a more interdisciplinary campus life to inviting the public to share in the exciting research currently underway at the university, the Institute serves as a creative nexus at UC Santa Cruz for the campus community and the greater community alike.
Since 2013, the Institute has hosted evening talks that have proven widely popular with faculty, graduate students, and the members of the greater Santa Cruz community. These Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) feature the work of scholars, artists, and thinkers from the university, Santa Cruz County, San Jose, and the greater Bay Area. They are free and open to the public. For current schedule of public events, see http://ias.ucsc.edu/events
The Institute has also invited artist collaborators Public Doors and Windows (PDW) to lead informative and participatory public walks of the campus. The artists have invited faculty, staff, alumni, and community members to contribute to these walks. For instance, at UC Santa Cruz's 'Farm" (Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems) the walk included Cathrine Sneed of the Bay Area Garden Project and a group of the teens she is currently mentoring. Cathrine is an alumni from the farm apprenticeship program, and she spoke of the importance of that experience to the work she currently does in low-income communities, employing and training former prisoners and at-risk teens to plant and maintain street trees and organic gardens. For more about this walk, see here and here.
The Institute's outreach program will expand when it moves into its permanent home to better service the communities in Santa Cruz County, San Jose, and the greater Bay Area. It will offer regular visiting programs for 3rd-12th grade students and teachers, and weekend family events with hands-on activities. Institute public programs and exhibitions will draw community members, tourists, and regional visitors to campus, and the Institute's website will provide rich background information designed to support teaching and build a worldwide audience.