The ELI Program

The Environmental Leadership Incubator (ELI) is a nine-month program that trains undergraduate students to become environmental leaders. ELI welcomes second and third-year students with an environmental project idea from any undergraduate major on campus. Projects may focus at the campus, community, or national levels and can be aimed at social, cultural, technical, and/or policy change. They can be something new to be launched or an extension of an existing initiative. Students may work individually or as teams. In short, all project ideas are welcome! The ELI program extends across three quarters, and ELI students receive six course credits upon completion of the program. Final grades are awarded following the spring quarter capstone presentations.


Fall Quarter Seminar (ENVS 195)

A nine-month experience, ELI starts with a seminar-style, fall quarter course (ENVS 195) that meets weekly for three hours. The fall seminar helps get students launched on their leadership projects and trains them in the hands-on skills they will need to turn their project ideas into reality. By the end of fall quarter, students are also matched up with expert project mentors. Mentors are drawn from the community of UCSB alumni and affiliates. They have years of experience in their respective fields and are excited to share that expertise with ELI undergraduates. 

Implementing an Environmental Project

After the ten-week intensive ELI course in the fall quarter, during which students turn their project idea into an action plan, students spend the winter and spring quarters bringing their action plans to fruition. ELI students may work independently or in teams.  They work with the support of their mentors and the ELI Program Manager. Students meet on a bi-weekly basis with the ELI Program Manager to share project updates, track progress, discuss challenges, and brainstorm next steps. 

Working With A Mentor

Students in the ELI program actively collaborate with mentors throughout the program. Students are matched up with expert mentors at the end of the fall quarter.  Mentors are drawn from the community of UCSB alumni and affiliates, have years of experience in their respective fields, and are excited to share their expertise with ELI undergraduates. ELI student-mentor matching is based both on project topics and compatibility.  Students and mentors meet on a regular basis throughout winter and spring to discuss project progress, to identify useful resources, and to work together to overcome challenges.  

ELI Capstone Presentations

The ELI experience culminates with capstone presentations at the end of the spring quarter. Capstone presentations provide an opportunity for students to showcase their work and thank their mentors in front of their classmates, mentors, professors, family, friends, and other interested individuals. The capstone presentations are held at the UCSB University Center and are open to the public to learn about the ELI program, our change-making students, and their innovative leadership projects.