The UCSB Department of Recreation provides programs, services and facilities which promote an active, balanced lifestyle that contribute to the development of social, emotional and physical health essential to long-term wellbeing.

We Believe In / Value:



Building Community

Being Student Focused

Creating Life Enriching Opportunities


The UCSB Recreation Center opened in 1995 with 100,000 sq. ft. and has been one of the most popular spots on campus ever since. The original Rec Cen has two swimming pools, two gymnasia, two weight rooms, two squash courts and five racquetball courts. The Rec Cen Expansion (Rec Cen II) was approved by students in Spring 2000, opened in the Spring of 2005 and added 56,000 sq. ft. to the Rec Cen Complex. The expansion includes an additional weight room, multi-activity court (MAC), climbing center, spa, pottery studio, classroom and additional locker facilities.


Adventure Programs

Adventure Programs is how Gauchos engage outdoor and wilderness trips and skills. It exists to enhance campus and community lives by providing educational and recreational experiences through wilderness trips, outdoor recreation classes, ropes courses, and climbing center programs.  Meet new people, hone your skills, and experience the awesome wonder of nature.


The Aquatics program encompasses the Department’s pool facilities, professional staff and lifeguards, swimming and water fitness classes, and youth swimming programs. The Recreation Center pool includes an Olympic sized pool, diving well, spa, and handicap access – all overseen by student lifeguards.

Gaucho REC

Gaucho REC (Recreation and Exercise Classes) are for leisure and personal interest only. Offerings range from arts and crafts to yoga, or from music to martial arts. There are no pressures, exams, (except for certification courses), or grades, simply learn and enjoy!

Group Fitness/Group Cycling Classes

Through these programs, people will get the most out of their resistance training exercises and are taught proper form, technique and intensity in whichever discipline the class is being taught in. 

Group Fitness classes are taught by professional instructors who aim to get you to the next level of performance. Join in the camaraderie with others who will sweat by your side as you go through offerings such as cardio circuit, kickboxing, pilates, step interval, and more.

Group Cycling is a high intensity cardio workout choreographed to music from warm up to cool down. Three different types of classes are offered for multiple skill levels: All Level, Endurance Ride and Cycle & Core. Our Schwinn Fitness™ certified instructors are there to keep you focused, motivated and engaged for a results oriented workout.

Intramural Sports

Intramural Sports exists for those looking to engage in a physical and competitive play, without an extreme level of commitment. With different leagues, tournaments, and flexible game times, IM Sports is perfect for those looking to learn a new sport, make lasting friendships, or practice their talents.

Special Events

Special Events is a multifaceted program that creates, collaborates and supports a diversity of recreational activities. Our events vary in nature from competitive to playful to personalized experiences through sport, play, fitness and overall wellbeing-focused activities. We create numerous one-time, quarterly and annual special events including the annual Fun & Fitness Festival, Turkey Trot, Alumni Softball Tournament and Warm Up with REC. 

Sport Clubs

Students who have a strong passion for a certain sport should look into joining one of the 28 Sports Clubs. Athletes sweat it out for the love of the game and competitive achievement. The UCSB Sports Club program is one of the most successful in the nation, boasting 75 National Championship awards and over 1,000 student athletes. 

Youth Programs

Department of Recreation Youth Programs offers quality summer camps and classes that draws thousands of participants from the Santa Barbara area and around the world each year. The popular Summer Day Camps have been running for the past 34 years, introducing children to action-packed adventure and opportunities to make new friends. Activities include swimming, ropes courses, soccer, field trips, nature hikes, and more. 

Governance Board

The Recreation Center Governance Board addresses policies governing the Recreation Center's purpose and image, facilities, services, programs, activities, scheduling, access and establishes user fees. It reviews and has full authority over the operation and development of the Recreation Center with respect to any matters involving policy, and has authority for approval of the annual Recreation Center budget. The Board is involved only in policy-making; implementation of policy is a function of Recreation Center management. The Board is not involved in daily management matters. Any decisions made by the Board are ultimately subject to review and possible veto by the Chancellor.

The Board consists of 10 voting members:
2 Intramurals Representatives
1 Sport Clubs Representative
1 Exercise & Sport Studies Representative
1 Graduate Student Representative
1 Faculty Representative
1 Staff Representative
1 Alumnus Representative

Please contact Emily Boone for more information at Emily_Boone@ucsb.edu.