When students at UCSB are not partaking in their predominant pastime, partying, their energies are diverted to an array of campus clubs and organizations.

U.S. News & World Report recently recognized UCSB in “America’s Best Colleges of 2008,” emphasizing the campus’ breadth of extracurricular activities including its 535 registered clubs, 37 combined intramural and club sports and 30 total fraternities and sororities.

Incoming freshmen face an exhaustive list of potential activities. Among the front-runners are the Gaucho Locos. Started in 1998, the Locos – originally known as the Gauchoholics – energize sporting events with fight songs, notoriously rabid fans and an iconic sea of golden T-shirts.

According to third-year biology and psychology major Michael Bergin, students should also utilize the Campus Learning Assistance Services.

“I thought [CLAS] was something just for people who were failing,” Bergin said. “Then I realized the people in it are the ones getting the As. It’s like having someone that studies for you for free. Especially for the sciences, there’s no reason not to sign up for CLAS.”

Like most universities, varying political ideologies are well represented at UCSB. Students can join the Campus Democrats, College Republicans or even the Campus Greens.

Looking to get involved in bipartisan politics at the campus level? UCSB’s student government, Associated Students, allows students to run for offices, which grant authority to represent the interests of the student body, allocate funding and influence campus and community policies.

For those interested in circumventing the freshman fifteen, there are endless athletic approaches to curtailing the dreaded beer gut. The Recreational Sports Dept. offers 16 intramural sports including everything from kickball to squash and 21 club sport options like surfing and alpine racing.

Improvability offers the Isla Vista community alternative social programs while training quality improvisational actors through weekly practices and performances. Naked Voices, UCSB’s a cappella group, is known for their unique mix of male and female voices and “beat-boxing” and is often hired as entertainment by campus organizations as well as private parties.

Those interested in broadcast journalism will be happy to know that UCSB features its own nonprofit radio station. KCSB-FM 91.9 allows student programmers to learn the fundamentals of radio broadcasting and explore advanced aspects of the audio medium.

Meanwhile, print journalists can check out the La Cumbre yearbook’s opportunities in layout design, photography, business, publicity, marketing and writing.

Cultural clubs also abound at UCSB. For example, students can join the Black Student Union, which exists to foster cultural and social ties with all people of African descent.

Additionally, the groups Hermanas Unidas and Hermanos Unidos support Chicano students in becoming productive members of society while preserving their cultural heritage.

Indus, another cultural club, was formed to build a South Asian community within the UCSB campus by having students seek out their culture, learn about their history and discuss contemporary issues relevant to the South Asian community.

In regards to religious affiliations, the Muslim Student Association, Santa Barbara Hillel and the Christian Real Life programs provide students with a space to enrich their faith while at the same time providing informational and entertaining events to the public.

Lastly, for students interested in print journalism, the Daily Nexus provides UCSB students with local news, sports, arts reviews and community opinion columns. The newspaper is readily available around campus and I.V. five times a week.