Emily Conway & Liam Coggon
We wanted to educate families from IV Elementary School about our local, closed-loop food system as well as how they can actively be a part of it. We held a field trip and Farm Day event at the Edible Campus Program Student Farm where we led games, activities, and a puppet show to educate elementary students and their parents about sustainable food systems. Each family received a pamphlet detailing how closed-loop food systems work, how they are involved, and a list of local food and composting resources throughout our community.
The Beach Access Initiative focused on making beaches and natural spaces at UCSB more accessible to wheelchair users. We conducted a survey and found that most people frequently visit natural areas/beaches but don’t find them to be very accessible. We sought to change this by installing a shed at Campus Point to store a beach wheelchair managed by the Department of Recreation and 2 all-terrain tracks that attach to the user’s wheelchair. The project successfully obtained funding and will be completed in the 2023-2024 school year.
I worked to address eco-emotions, any emotions triggered by an awareness of environmental degradation, within the environmental studies department at UCSB. I completed two eco-emotion education courses and started a club called Climate Convos. I coordinated six guest speaker meetings on emotional awareness and management techniques, and I coordinated one collaboration event with another organization on campus. I created and delivered one 75-minute lecture and one 50-minute lecture to over 700 students on eco-emotions and self-empowerment. I retrieved over 200 survey responses to gather information about the demand for emotional support catered to environmental studies majors.
I conducted a two-quarter long E-Waste Awareness campaign at UCSB. The central idea for this project was to run an awareness campaign with the three primary goals: educate the local community about the rare materials and toxic substances found in electronics, advocate for electronic repair resources in the area, and connect consumers with local e-waste donation and recycling services in our community. This project was carried out in collaboration with Associated Students Recycling who helps manage e-waste on UCSB’s campus. Different aspects of this project included the creation of a map showing the e-waste drop-off locations on campus, replacing the e-waste bin signage, and the dissemination of educational graphics on social media. These resources will remain at the disposal of AS Recycling for future use to ensure that Gaucho’s will continue to be mindful of their electronic waste and ensure its proper disposal.
I developed and led my own Sustainable Food studies course at UCSB that addressed food security, agroecology, climate and social justice, life cycle analysis of food systems, agricultural histories and economies, health, and nutrition. What distinguished this course from other environmental courses is that it functioned as a sustainable cooking and local farm touring class, fostering a culture of students who not only learned what it means for a food system to be sustainable but were equipped with the resources, knowledge, and experience to lead healthy lives for themselves and their environments. In creating this course, I directly connected and collaborated with experts in the food system, who led discussions and cooking workshops with my class, including those working in regenerative agriculture, plant-based cooking, food justice advocacy, sustainable nutrition, sustainable bee-keeping, Indigenous clinical nutrition, and more.
Erica Kinsel and Isabella Puchkova
The Green Study Space was a collaborative project with multiple campus organizations and committees, the goal being to create a study environment that encourages sustainability, environmental education, and student wellness. After receiving design approval from the campus, we partnered with the Veterans Resource Center, who shared our values and purchased five new solar powered tables for the space. In addition, we planted native pollinator gardens in recycled planter boxes around the site. Despite the amount of campus regulations and short funding, through perseverance and collaboration we initiated a project that will live on our university campus for years to come, teaching students and the campus community of environmental values. You can find the Green Study Space behind the Annex.
GreenLeaf Isla Vista is a project geared towards improving the environmental practices of local businesses. Through this project, I conducted extensive research on specific areas where Isla Vista businesses are lacking in sustainability, ranging from waste disposal practices to compliance with local environmental legislation. I worked with one business in particular, KOZY Craft Coffee, to provide environmental consulting services with the ultimate goal of assisting this business in becoming certified by the Santa Barbara County Green Business Network. After conducting multiple audits of this business’ environmental practices, I provided KOZY with a comprehensive list of recommendations to become more sustainable. Currently, I am still working with KOZY on implementing several of these changes in order for them to become Green Business Certified!
I built a book donation system to reduce paper waste here at UC Santa Barbara. I partnered with University Housing’s Arts & Culture Committee to propose Little Free Libraries (LFLs) in residential areas. After securing national grants, developing design mock-ups, and recruiting 20+ volunteers, we assembled the very first LFL on UCSB’s main campus. The library was lovingly decorated with reusable material from Art from Scrap, a local Santa Barbara nonprofit. To celebrate its opening, we hosted a sustainable book giveaway for over 120 attendees. It was built in front of San Nicolas Residence Hall next to luscious palm trees and across from the DLG dining hall.
Ellah Foster and Vincent Cuenco
Born from a love of thrifting and vintage clothing, our project aimed to highlight the slow fashion community in Isla Vista through the medium of a digital magazine. We mentored a team of about 15 UCSB students in interviewing community members, writing articles, and designing spreads. From educational pieces on the fast fashion industry to local craftsmen profiles, our digital zine seeks to engage students with the sustainable fashion movement. Through our instagram @lowandslowmag, we’ve cultivated an eclectic following interested in learning more about secondhand fashion in our community.
Research shows that outdoor learning is linked to many positive learning and developmental outcomes for kids, including enhanced imaginative play, increased physical and mental well-being, and environmental stewardship. My project focused on cultivating these benefits and connections with nature through the implementation of an outdoor classroom space at Kellogg elementary school in Goleta. During the year-long timeline, I gathered information and resources on what would be best to include, then collaborated with the Kellogg principal to help design the space. The project is still ongoing but after the classroom has been installed, I hope to inspire surrounding schools to incorporate similar structures on their campuses.
Reinventing the Splash Zone
The year-long ELI program kickstarted the documentary film, Reinventing the Splash Zone. Breaching early 2024, Reinventing the Splash Zone is in production through the entirety of 2023, aiming to bring awareness to the incompatibility of orcas with captivity, introduce audiences to rehabilitation methods in place for affected animals, and showcase the variety of killer whale hotspot locations across the Western Seaboard. Release. Rehabilitate. Reconnect. Natural cetacean sightseeing is thriving; through 2023 we were able to travel to San Diego, CA, Monterey, CA, San Juan Islands, WA, and Seward, AK while still taking advantage of the prime Santa Barbara Channel home base. Check out our website for clips and where to view the film!
Dani Bier and Sophia Glover
As Environmental Studies majors and residents of Isla Vista, we noticed a significant issue with litter in the community. When examining the sources of this problem, we found that improper trash receptacles created issues by promoting littering and allowing wind and animals to disperse trash throughout the community. We partnered with local organizations to implement an improved trash can near the coastal access point for Devereux Beach, a highly trafficked area with inadequate infrastructure. Additionally, we relaunched an Instagram account, @litterfreeiv, working to educate the community about clean-up efforts and a plethora of ways to adjust our daily lifestyles to live a litter-free lifestyle.
Many of us make conscious decisions daily to live more sustainably, but did you know that the money we save and invest can have negative impacts on the environment? Together, we organized a two part workshop educating students on sustainable personal finances. We guided students through the hurdles of sustainable banking, credit cards, and spending, and invited an industry expert to talk to students on sustainable investing. The two workshops and additional sustainable finance resources can now be viewed on the UCSB financial literacy organization, the Community Financial Fund (CFF), website. Additionally, we were able to incorporate information on sustainable finances in CFF’s quarterly grant workshops. We hope that students can use these resources to kick-start healthy and eco-friendly financial habits for the rest of their lives.
Fiona Jeweler and Shannon Carew
Our project, UC More Bats, was completed with the goal of supporting local bat populations with a restoration garden. Bats are very important, as they provide many ecosystem services, such as fertilization, seed distribution, pollination, and insect regulation. However, their populations have declined due to a plethora of reasons like climate change, a disease called White Noise Syndrome, and habitat fragmentation. We decided to address the issue of habitat fragmentation by building a restoration garden with native plant species that local bats utilize, such as Artemisia californica and Datura wrightii. Additionally, we have published an informational article on the Cheadle Center’s (CCBER) official website, educating the public on the importance of bats, how our garden is helping their populations, and what readers can do to help support the cause.
Angela Gelfand and Benise Limon
We created and ran UCSB’s Climate Action Program, a six-week competition encouraging students to reduce their personal carbon footprint and learn more about their impact on the environment. Campus organizations competed against each other as teams while logging simple everyday actions, such as unplugging appliances or altering their laundry cycle, to see which team could earn the most points for their personal sustainability actions. We hoped to create a fun, competitive environment and reach students who may not realize the significance of simple actions they could be taking to combat the climate crisis. Our competition reached nearly 100 students who collectively reduced an estimated 60,000+ pounds of carbon emissions based on the actions they logged.
Films are a vital part of society because they can be created to entertain, educate, and expose social issues. But the process of production to create these films has a massive carbon footprint. Therefore, for my project, my goal was to make UCSB’s film production courses more sustainable. To do this, I researched the concept of sustainable film production to come up with solutions for the Film and Media Studies Department at UCSB. From my research, I discovered the idea of creating a sustainable production checklist for student film productions. Such a checklist would help students follow sustainability standards on set and manage their carbon footprint. In addition, I compiled the research I gathered into one document titled “Sustainable Production Lecture Talking Points” for professors to share with students in all film production courses. Through these efforts, UCSB’s FAMST department is one step closer to a sustainable film production curriculum.
Isabelle Tector, Jasmine Toni, and Sophia McLoughlin
College students, as newly independent consumers, are at a pivotal moment in forming lifelong grocery shopping habits. Our project goal was to shape consumer behavior to make meaningful environmental change by empowering college students to make informed eco-conscious decisions. We used education to empower a lifetime of good habits. We created a website with streamlined information on reading eco labels and sourcing food locally and sustainably, hosted an informational workshop, and created a comprehensive infographic. We hope students will continue to utilize our website as a resource.