Santa Cruz isn't just known for its beaches and boardwalk. It became world famous for one of its quirky claims to fame as the University of California Santa Cruz chose to adopt a school mascot that was a bit common in life, but unusual as far as colleges go. It wanted to be known as UC Santa Cruz, home of the Banana Slug!
Some of the great colleges are located along the California coast in UC San Diego (King Tritons), Cal Poly Pomona (Broncos, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (Mustangs), UC Berkely (Bears), UCLA (Bruins), and USC (Trojans) represent animals or creatures generally larger than humans in their size and strength. So where does the lowly Banana Slug fit into the food chain of college life and sports?
Sammy the Slug makes appearances at sporting events, and even lends his name to the university's Slug Connection report, providing one of the most humorous and fun-loving university mascots that brings chuckles and smiles wherever Sammy slithers along in his Santa Cruz home.
UC Santa Cruz has ranked as the nation's number 1 best campus for schools churning out smart grads. Add beautiful beaches, great surf, redwood forests, coastal mountains, Mediterranean climate, and the healthy environmental ethos, and A-plus sense of adventure, and you have the makings of a university that highly desirable to gain admission to and graduate from. It combines academics with a fun environment to provide great balance for students.
Sammy the Banana Slug was adopted as the university mascot unofficially circa 1981. Five years later a 1986 student referendum voted in the banana slug as the official mascot of UCSC. People magazine and ESPN championed the cause by giving much press to UCSC Banana Slug. ESPN called it the "best nickname in college basketball". The Slug mascot represents the slimy yellow creature indigenous to the dark, moist redwood forests crowning the campus. The costumed slug gets up to 20 guest appearance requests per year.
The beloved banana slug logo appears on merchandise sold at the college bookstore. T-shirts say, "I've been slimed." Slug mugs, keychains, the Fiat Slug decal, plush stuffed slugs, and even the Grateful Slug t-shirt supporting the Grateful Dead band gifted Archives (documenting 30 years of performing) all offer opportunities for slug fans to support this unique and wacky mascot not seen at any other university around the globe. slugstore.ucsc.edu