Bren Student Organizations & Activities
There are many ways to get involved as a Bren student! Scroll down for information on student clubs, committees, and activities. As always, Bren School staff are here to help if you can't find what you're looking for or if have any questions along the way (email@example.com).
- Environmental Justice (EJ) Club
The Bren School's goal is to ensure that Bren students leave equipped with the ability to identify and address environmental justice in their future careers. Striving to remove the shroud between science, policy, and people, the EJ Club serves the Bren community by providing a setting where students can build awareness and understanding of environmental justice. Stay informed about EJ Club meetings and other ways to get involved (guest speakers, initiatives, organizing, field trips, etc) by joining their listserv. Contact Meet Muchhala (MESM '24) or Melissa Vezard (MESM '24) with any questions.
Brengrass is the fabled, legendary and official band of the Bren School. If interested, a recruitment email will be sent in the academic year.
- Bren Sustainability Committee
The Bren Sustainability Committee (BSC) is run by Bren students and aims to enhance the environmental performance of Bren Hall and promote sustainability throughout the community. Past and future planned events include cleaning Bren Hall's solar panels, restoration days, clothing swaps, beach cleanups, energy audits, and more. If you have an interest in creating a more sustainable community at Bren, UCSB, and greater Santa Barbara, you may join BSC, provide feedback, or make a recommendation, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Bren Energy Club strives to connect Bren students to an inclusive community that is working to develop and implement solutions to today’s energy challenges. Events such as happy hours and speaker panels bring together current MESM and PhD students, alumni, and industry experts to discuss pressing energy issues. Please sign up for the listserv to stay informed on club meetings, events, and receive the monthly newsletter, containing energy news, recommended media, alumni spotlights and job search tips. Contact Lillian Liu (MESM '24), Kaytee Dobbs (MESM '24), Hannah Irish (MESM '24), Seth Villanueva (MESM '24), Julia Kuhlman (MESM '24), or Austin Sonnier (MESM '24) with any questions.
Bren Student Committee Descriptions
Class Chairs are elected for each cohort of master’s students. Each MESM class elects two co-chairs in early Winter Quarter. The MEDS class elects two co-chairs in Summer Quarter and these co-chairs also serve on the MEDS DAC. Class Chairs facilitate communication between their classmates and the Bren School. Cultivating awareness and an appreciation of philanthropy, Class Chairs lead Class Giving that provides annual support to the Bren School to meet priority needs with the goal of 100% participation among the graduating class. After graduation, the Class Chairs continue to facilitate communication between alumni in their class and the Bren School. The support of our alumni and friends enables the school to offer student financial aid and unique professional development and training opportunities.
Dean's Advisory Council (DAC)
The Dean’s Advisory Council serves as an information conduit between students and the administration. The DAC works with the administration to ensure the Bren School provides a supportive and positive environment for students. The DAC explores different student opinions and views to motivate problem-solving for any student-related issues. There are three DACs, one for each degree program (MESM, MEDS, and PhD). The MESM DAC includes three 1st-year MESM and three 2nd-year MESM students. The MEDS DAC includes three MEDS students (the Class Co-Chairs and the Master’s Curriculum Committee student representative). The PhD DAC includes up to five PhD students. Each DAC is responsible for scheduling quarterly meetings with the dean and senior staff, creating its own minutes, and defining its processes and procedures. The DAC may lead school-wide functions that involve the student body.
A Student-Faculty Representative from each degree program (MESM, MEDS, PhD) is invited to attend one faculty meeting per quarter. These student representatives serve as liaisons between faculty and students, bringing topics of discussion that complement, rather than duplicate discussions and initiatives within existing Bren committees, and focus on topics appropriate for full faculty engagement. Elected student representatives work closely with the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) Chair to plan the quarterly meetings, and are responsible for soliciting feedback from the Bren Student Leadership Collective and student body on important topics to discuss with Bren faculty.
The Diversity Committee focuses on diversity and integrating diversity considerations into decision-making. The Diversity Committee is composed of two Bren faculty, four staff, one PhD student representative, one MEDS student representative, and one MESM student representative. The Diversity Committee meets once or twice per quarter, or as needed. The Bren School’s Diversity Values are posted on the website under About Bren.
Bren Seminars Committee
The Bren Seminars Committee consists of PhD students and master’s students who plan and host the Bren Seminar series in coordination with faculty and staff. Seminars are focused on research topics of interest to environmental science students and faculty. Bren Seminars are scheduled on Mondays at 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. The Bren Seminar Committee works closely with the Senior Events Manager and one faculty representative.
PhD Program Committee
The PhD Program Committee sets standards and policies for the PhD curriculum. It provides advice and consent on matters of policy, programs, and practice that impact the quality of the PhD educational program and the educational experience of PhD students. The Committee consists of faculty, staff, and two PhD student representatives, one who has advanced to candidacy and one pre-candidacy. According to University rules, the student representatives cannot be voting members; only faculty that are members of the Academic Senate can be voting members. Nonetheless, the students play an important and valuable role. The Committee reserves the right to have Executive Sessions that exclude the student representatives as needed to discuss confidential personnel issues or issues related to specific students. The staff contact for the PhD Program Committee is the Director of Academic Programs.
Master's Curriculum Committee
The Master’s Curriculum Committee sets academic standards and policies for the Master of Environmental Science and Management (MESM) and Master of Environmental Data Science (MEDS) degree programs. It provides advice and consent on matters of policy, programs, and practice that impact the quality of the master’s education and the educational experience of master’s students. This Committee consists of faculty, staff, one 2nd-year MESM student representative, and one MEDS student representative. In Spring Quarter, the MESM student representative is elected from the 1st-year class and serves on the committee through their second year. The MEDS student representative is elected during Summer Quarter and serves on the committee through the academic year. This MEDS student representative also serves as one of the three MEDS students on the DAC. According to University rules, the student representatives cannot be voting members; only faculty that are members of the Academic Senate can be voting members. Nonetheless, student representatives play an important and valuable role in shaping the committee agenda and working to address students’ interest and concerns. The Committee reserves the right to have Executive Sessions that exclude the student representative as needed to discuss confidential personnel issues or issues related to specific students. The staff contact for the Master’s Curriculum Committee is the Director of Academic Programs.
MESM Group Project Committee
The MESM Group Project Committee reviews and selects MESM Group Project proposals, which serve as master’s thesis projects for MESM students and consists of faculty, staff and three 1st-year MESM students who oversee the MESM Group Project selection process. In Fall Quarter, MESM students are elected from the 1st-year class to serve on the committee during the Winter Quarter of the first year of study. The faculty and staff guide MESM Group Project policy and communicate guidelines to students. The staff contact for the MESM Group Project Committee is the Director of Academic Programs.
MEDS Capstone Project Committee
The MEDS Capstone Project Committee reviews and selects Capstone Project proposals. Faculty, staff and two MEDS students oversee the Capstone Project selection process. In Summer Quarter, MEDS students are elected to serve on the committee during Fall Quarter. The faculty and staff guide MEDS Capstone Project policy and communicate guidelines to students. The staff contact for the MEDS Capstone Project Committee is the Academic Programs and Capstone Coordinator.
Innovation Program Committee
The Innovation Program Committee consists of faculty and staff who oversee the Environmental Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program. The committee members mentor students in Eco-E Projects, provide feedback to Eco-E Project teams through progress review meetings, and allocate funding for student fellowships. The staff coordinator for the Innovation Program Committee is the Innovation Program Manager.
UCSB Orgs with student representatives
Graduate Student Association (GSA)
The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is the elected representative government for the UC Santa Barbara graduate students. They articulate graduate student concerns to the campus administration and to campus-wide committees that deal with topics ranging from parking and student family concerns to long-range academic planning. Becoming a GSA rep is a great way to get to know UCSB outside of Bren and contribute to the wider graduate student community on campus. Students interested in serving as representatives can apply here.
The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF)
The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) was the first green fee in the UC system. It was created by students in the spring of 2006 with a charge to “reduce the University’s impact on the environment.”
|Committees||Elections||# of Student Representatives|
|Capstone Project Committee||Summer Quarter||2 MEDS students|
|MEDS Class Co-Chairs||Summer Quarter||2 MEDS students|
|Diversity Committee (MEDS-only Election)||Summer Quarter||1 MEDS student|
|Master's Curriculum Committee (MEDS-only Election)||Summer Quarter||1 MEDS student|
|Student-Faculty Representative (MEDS-only Election)||Summer Quarter||1 MEDS student|
|Graduate Student Association (GSA) (MEDS-only Election)||Summer Quarter||1 MEDS student|
|Group Project Committee||Fall Quarter||3 first-year MESM students|
|Graduate Student Association (GSA)||Fall Quarter||2 first-year MESM students|
|MESM Class Co-Chairs||Fall Quarter||2 MESM students from each cohort|
|MESM Dean's Advisory Council (DAC)||Fall Quarter||3 first-year MESM; 3 second-year MESM|
|PhD Dean's Advisory Council (DAC)||Spring Quarter||5 PhD students (1 from each cohort)|
|Student-Faculty Representative||Spring Quarter||1 PhD student; 1 MESM student|
|PhD Program Committee||Spring Quarter||2 PhD students (1 pre-candidacy and 1 post-candidacy)|
|Diversity Committee||Spring Quarter||1 PhD student; 1 MESM student|
|Master's Curriculum Committee||Spring Quarter||1 MESM student representative|
|Bren Seminars Committee||Spring Quarter||2 MESM students; 2 PhD students|
|The Green Initiative Fund||Spring Quarter||1 Bren student|
|Graduate Student Association (GSA)||Spring Quarter||1 PhD student; 2 second-year MESM students|