Every year, three Bonnie Reiss Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI) fellows are selected by UCSB Sustainability. The Carbon Neutrality Initiative is a system-wide initiative that aims to get all UC operations to carbon neutrality by 2025. CNI undergraduate fellows lead projects that can span multiple topics: furthering the UC system’s goal of net-zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2025; advancing climate justice; making critical sustainability, carbon neutrality, and climate justice part of the educational experience for all UC students; and more. This year’s fellows are Gigi Fung, Lauren Sullivan, and April Zhang. Learn more about them below!
Gigi Fung (she/her/hers) is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Spatial Studies. Studying the relationship between sustainability/earth’s systems and humans made her realize how important it is for people to focus on the big picture of saving the planet and sustainability. Since we are back on campus this year, she wants to engage the student body and raise awareness through her role as a CNI ambassador. She is currently working on connecting student leaders with interests in environmental justice, carbon offsets, and more related issues, together to create deeper impacts and initiatives on campus. She also hopes to explore buildings’ energy use, and look into LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance. For Gigi, the most gratifying part of being a CNI ambassador is that it has really opened her mind about all the effort that goes into reducing GHG emissions on campus.
Lauren Sullivan (she/her/hers) is a third-year Environmental Studies major working with the UCSB Natural Reserves to create a prioritized list of sustainability projects, which she will then help write grants for. So far, being a CNI fellow has been a great experience for her—she has been able to connect with people who care about sustainability across all UC campuses, and she is really excited about the work that she is doing. She has been learning more about the UC Reserves, particularly Coal Oil Point, right by campus.
April Zhang (she/her/hers) is a second-year Environmental Studies and Sociology major from Shenzhen, China. She got involved as a CNI fellow through Eco Vista, a community sustainability organization dedicated to transforming Isla Vista into an eco-village in the upcoming decade. April is exploring the possibilities of campus-community collaborations and their impacts on carbon neutrality: recognizing that sustainable practices on and off campus are often disconnected and that UCSB cannot achieve true carbon neutrality without working collaboratively with the Isla Vista community. Her project will work to identify areas of the most concern in the community, while simultaneously helping the university establish collaborative relationships with the non-student community, and partnerships with local businesses and organizations. She is extremely grateful for this opportunity to contribute to local and UC-wide sustainability and carbon neutrality efforts, to connect with experts and professionals in the fields of her interest, and to network with like-minded peers and community members with similar passions.
Our passionate and dedicated CNI fellows are working to address intricate details that go into achieving carbon neutrality throughout the UC system. We are so excited to see what they accomplish as they sow the seeds for a more sustainable campus.