Written by Samantha Ellman, Carbon Neutrality Engagement Fellow

Every year, UCSB Sustainability selects a handful of Fellows to be the representatives of the Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI), a system-wide movement to make all UC campus and medical center operations carbon neutral by 2025. Established in 2015, the Bonnie Reiss Carbon Neutrality Student Fellowship Program funds student-chosen projects that support the UC system’s goal to produce zero-net greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. This year, UCSB has four CNI Fellows focusing on transportation, carbon offsets, campus resiliency, and student engagement.  Click here to read more about the four CNI Fellows.

Continuing her work with carbon offsets, Elizabeth Szulc will serve for a second year as a CNI Fellow. She spent the last year writing a guidebook on how to develop local carbon offset projects, and she hopes to use this newfound knowledge to register a project here at UCSB. This project would use grant funding to yield real carbon emission offset credits and make a verified difference to Carbon Neutrality by 2025.

Carolina Watts, a first year Fellow, is focusing on mitigation strategies for staff and faculty transportation emissions. As a fourth year, Environmental Studies major, Carolina has become intimately familiar with the effects of carbon emission on environments, as well as the exciting, modern technology that can limit such negative effects. So during her time as a CNI Transportation Fellow, she plans to address barriers that the UC Santa Barbara staff and faculty face when integrating alternate transportation services into their lives. Carolina is thrilled with the impressive UCSB undergraduate and graduate alternate transportation statistics, and she hopes that soon the staff and faculty will show similar statistics as well. In this position, Carolina looks forward to creating new, effective transportation alternatives that will cater to Santa Barbara’s unique environment and UCSB’s esteemed staff and faculty.

An Nguyen, a fourth year Environmental Studies major, is another CNI Fellow. Her interest in sustainability and planning has grown immensely through her other experiences at UCSB. An has served as the Environmental Planning Coalition’s Co-President and is also the Outreach Coordinator for Associated Students Coastal Fund – a student initiative that provides funds to preserve, protect, and enhance the terrestrial and marine habitats associated with the shoreline of UCSB.


As a Fellow, she is eager to build campus resiliency in the face of increasing climate-related impacts. In recent years, the UCSB community has experienced extensive droughts, fires, and mudslides, which have all greatly affected students, faculty, and staff. She hopes to conduct research that will lead to better mitigation and adaptation to these types of events.

I, Samantha Ellman, am a second year Environmental Science major looking to gain knowledge and experience in the field of sustainability as the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative Student Engagement Fellow. As a second-year student, I am excited to be involved with CNI so early in my UCSB career and am eager to make tangible change on UCSB’s campus. In this position, I plan to spread awareness about CNI and promote student involvement in the initiative through tabling at events, coordinating UCSB’s climate coalition, participating in town hall style forums regarding carbon neutrality, and encouraging participation in the Cool Campus Challenge. I hope to increase the sense of urgency regarding CNI across campus so that there is adequate time to ensure UCSB can reach carbon neutrality by 2025.