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Bren Student Organizations & Activities

Welcome, Brennies! 

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 (academics@bren.ucsb.edu). 

Clubs

  • 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 Madeline Oliver (MESM '21), Evan Heberlein (MESM '21), or Kazia Mermel (MESM '21) with any questions. 
  • Brengrass
    Brengrass is the fabled, legendary and official band of the Bren School. Contact Bri Baker (MESM '22) or Louis Graup (PhD) if interested.
  • Bren School Sustainability Committee
    The Bren School Sustainability Committee (BSSC) is comprised of Bren MESM and PhD students who have an interest in creating a more sustainable community at Bren, UCSB and greater Santa Barbara. The BSSC coordinates interesting activities to promote sustainable action and education. To join BSSC, provide feedback, or make a recommendation, send an email to bssc@lists.bren.ucsb.edu. Click here to join the BSSC listserv.
  • 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 Hannah Brady (MESM ‘22) or Joaquin Meckler-Pacheco (MESM '22) with any questions.

Bren School Committee Directory

View a directory of committees and current members for the Bren School, including faculty, staff, and student committees, ad hoc committees, and campus committees.

Bren Student Committee Descriptions

View the current committee member lists

Dean's Advisory Council (DAC)
The DAC serves as an information conduit between students and the administration. It works with the administration to ensure the Bren School provides a supportive and positive environment for its students. DAC represents the entire student body and explores different student opinions and views to motivate problem-solving for any student-related issues. The MESM DAC includes three 1st-year MESM and three 2nd-year MESM students. The PhD DAC includes up to five PhD students. The MEDS DAC includes three MEDS students (the Class Co-Chairs and the Master’s Curriculum Committee student representative). The DAC is responsible for scheduling meetings, creating its own minutes, and defining its processes and procedures. Meetings are held quarterly. DAC may lead school-wide functions that involve the student body. 

Diversity Committee
The Diversity Committee is composed of two Bren faculty, four staff, and one PhD student representative, one MEDS student representative, and one MESM student representative who focus on diversity and integrate diversity considerations into all decision-making. The Diversity Committee meets once or twice per quarter, or as needed. The Bren School Diversity Values are posted to the website under About Bren.

PhD Program Committee
The PhD Program Committee consists of faculty, staff, and two PhD student representatives, one that has advanced to candidacy and one pre-candidacy. The committee sets standards and policy 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. 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 Academic Programs Manager.

Master's Curriculum Committee
The Master's Curriculum 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 his/her 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 in the DAC.  The committee sets standards and policy on master's education. It provides advice and consent on matters of policy, programs, and practice that impact the quality of the MESM and MEDS educational programs and the educational experience of Bren master's students. 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 Academic Programs Manager.

Group Project Committee
The Group Project Committee consists of faculty, staff and three 1st-year MESM students who oversee the 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 committee reviews and selects Group Project proposals. The faculty and staff guide Group Project policy and communicate guidelines to students. The staff contact for the Group Project Committee is the Academic Programs Manager.

Eco-Entrepreneurship (Eco-E) Program Committee
The Eco-E Program Committee consists of faculty and staff who oversee the Eco-E Program. The committee mentors students in Eco-E Projects, provides feedback to Eco-E groups through quarterly lessons-learned presentations and Eco-E Project defenses, and allocates funding for Eco-E student recruitment, internships, and prototypes. The staff coordinator for the Eco-E Program Committee is the Eco-E Program Manager.

Capstone Project Committee
The Capstone Project Committee consists of faculty, staff and two MEDS students who oversee the Capstone Project selection process. In Summer Quarter, MEDS students are elected to serve on the committee during Fall Quarter. The committee reviews and selects Capstone Project proposals. The faculty and staff guide Capstone Project policy and communicate guidelines to students. The staff contact for the Capstone Project Committee is the Academic Programs and Capstone Coordinator.

Bren Seminars Committee
The Bren Seminars Committee consists of staff, PhD, and MESM students who plan the Bren Seminar series. 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 Seminars Committee works closely with the Senior Events Manager and Assistant Dean for Academic Programs.

NCEAS Roundtable Committee
The NCEAS roundtable is a weekly series of informal presentations and discussions on a wide variety of topics related to current work happening at NCEAS. Roundtables are open to the public, but are often geared toward a scientific audience. One MEDS student will be on the committee along with NCEAS scientists to help invite and organize roundtables for the year.

Class Chairs
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 represent their class and provide meaningful feedback to the school’s administration. Each year Class Chairs play a leadership role in rallying classmates to provide annual support to the school in the form of personal contributions. After graduation, the Class Chairs continue to facilitate communication between alumni in their class and the Bren School. It is through the support of our alumni and friends that the school can offer comprehensive, leading-edge approaches to environmental problem-solving. 

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. 

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.”

Bren School Student Committee Election Timeline

The Bren School Student Affairs team will ask students to self-nominate if they're interested in serving on one of the following committees. Elections for student representatives are held at different times throughout the year and each committee has a different number of representatives. See the table below for an overview.

Committees Elections # of Student Representatives
Capstone Project Committee Summer Quarter 2 MEDS students
MEDS Class Co-Chairs Summer Quarter 2 MEDS students
NCEAS Roundtable Committee Summer Quarter 1 MEDS student
Diversity Committee (MEDS-only Election) Summer Quarter 1 MEDS student
Master's Curriculum Committee (MEDS-only Election) Summer Quarter 1 MEDS student
MESM Dean's Advisory Council (DAC) Fall Quarter 3 first-year MESM; 3 second-year MESM
Group Project Committee Fall Quarter 3 first-year MESM students
Graduate Student Association (GSA) Fall Quarter 2 Bren students
MESM Class Co-Chairs Fall Quarter 2 MESM students from each cohort
PhD Dean's Advisory Council (DAC) Spring Quarter 5 PhD students (1 from each cohort)
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
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