Bonnie Reiss Carbon Neutrality Fellows at UCSB

Sarah Swinnerton – Student Engagement Fellow

Sarah Swinnerton is this year’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative’s Ambassador. She is a fourth-year Environmental Studies and Political Science double major. Sarah is focusing on promoting awareness of climate change and engaging the student body in the CNI. Through interactive events and programming, she hopes to empower students to get involved with sustainability and climate initiatives on campus. This quarter Sarah is promoting carbon-conscious diets and lifestyle habits.

Simran kaur – Carbon Offsets

Simran is a third-year Economics major who is interested in helping UCSB achieve its goal of carbon neutrality. She is continuing the work of past UCSB CNI Fellows by exploring the potential for local carbon offset projects that are high quality and bring co-benefits to the local community. Simran has identified several projects in Santa Barbara County that have the potential to generate carbon offsets and is exploring the feasibility of those projects. These projects may include livestock management as well as best practices in stewarding grasslands and rangelands.

Rachek Huang – Energy Conservation

Rachel Huang is a fifth-year Chemistry and Biopsychology double major. Stemming from her interest in laboratory energy use, she saw CNI program as an opportunity to design her project based on her interest. Rachel wants to learn how students and staff can conduct research more efficiently, as laboratories are one of the biggest energy consumers on campus. She is collaborating with LabRATS (Laboratory Resource, Advocates, and Teamwork for Sustainability) to reduce plug load usage and replace inefficient ultra-low freezers. Rachel will also be working with the Lab Ventilation Working Group to improve heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in on-campus buildings.

Faculty Involvement

Dr. David Lea – Global Climate Leadership Council Representative (GCSC)

Dr. Lea is the representative for UCSB on the GCLC. The GCLC is comprised of UC administrators, professors, staff, and outside experts, GCLC advises the UC system on the best practices, policies, and technologies that will help achieve their carbon neutrality goal. The council also provides guidance on how to integrate CNI and other sustainability goals into the UC system’s teaching, research, and public service mission. Dr. Lea received his undergrad in geology from Haverford College and his Ph.D. in oceanography from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lea switched from geology to oceanography to focus on the chemistry of the ocean and the carbon cycle. He was also interested in reconstructing changes in ocean circulation and how they related to past climate change.

Learn more about faculty involvement here.


Research at the Bren School

UCSB has a wide range of researchers and interns including faculty, administration, and students, all working on achieving carbon neutrality. Below is a list of many different leaders on campus striving towards zero emissions.

  • TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project seeks to develop and deploy solutions to mitigate climate change by capitalizing on the vast resources and researchers within the University of California (UC) system. The goal is to support innovative, multidisciplinary research projects that will substantially accelerate the progress of the University of California Carbon Neutrality Initiative. David Auston, Principal Investigator, Lisa Leombruni
    •  Net-Zero Communication Strategy Working Group is developing a plan for strategic communications to help the University of California achieve its carbon neutrality goals. This involves identifying key UC decision-makers and values, conducting primary and secondary research on audiences throughout UC, and performing message testing to determine the most effective methods of engagement for different audiences. Jay McConagha, Celine Mol
    • Natural Gas Exit Strategies working group is evaluating options for eliminating natural gas as an energy source at University of California. This group is specifically investigating how energy efficiency, biomethane, and electrification can reduce and replace natural gas consumption at the University of California. Charlie Diamond, Evan Ritzinger
  • Carbon Zero UCSB Carbon Zero is a graduate student group thesis project from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management working with the Institute for Energy Efficiency at UCSB to determine optimal technological, financial, and stakeholder engagement strategies to achieve the Carbon Neutrality Initiative. Carbon Zero is collaborating with Geography and Facilities Management to prioritize locations for onsite rooftop solar photovoltaic. They are researching possible funding mechanisms and developing a financial model to forecast potential greenhouse gas and cost savings if a green revolving fund were implemented on campus. After meeting with an array of campus decision-makers and students, they are developing communications tools and recommendations to provide different campus groups, including staff and students, tools to help further engage the wider campus community around the Carbon Neutrality Initiative.  Charlie Diamond, Evan Ritzinger, Lydia Rudnick, Dawnielle Tellez, Emily Waddington