UCSB sustainability is a collection of efforts from staff, students, administrators, and faculty across the campus. We work in a decentralized manner through partnerships in an informal network to implement changes and improvements.

Vision Statement

At the University of California, Santa Barbara, we envision a future where we have little to no impact on the environment, and everyone is engaged in sustainability. We are committed to fostering a culture of sustainability through campus-wide sustainability efforts, program development, and promulgating the sustainability work of staff, faculty, and students – our greatest renewable resource. UCSB strives to capitalize on our position as an institution of higher education to ensure that all students understand the interconnectedness of environmental, economic, and social systems and to communicate that we each have a role to play in sustainability.
More specifically, we aim to research, create, and implement solutions for a more sustainable future. We want all students graduating from UCSB to be motivated to integrate sustainability into their future professions, embedding sustainability throughout the workforce. We envision that all members of our campus community will have access to healthy foods and lifestyles and will be able to meet their needs today and in the future with minimal impact on the needs of others. Finally, UC Santa Barbara continues to seek to do business with companies that are integrating sustainability into their strategic planning and operations, as well as assisting their workers in meeting their own needs. Thus, we believe that building sustainable partnerships will result in a stronger local economy.
In order to achieve this vision, UC Santa Barbara continues to prioritize and monitor the implementation and progress of its sustainability initiatives. We encourage and coordinate the efforts of our faculty, staff, and students who are the front line of positive change by taking action today for a better tomorrow. By working with all sectors of the campus community, we look forward to helping UCSB maintain its leadership and attain its shared vision of a sustainable future.


The University of California, Santa Barbara is committed to global leadership for sustainability through education, research, and action.


UC Santa Barbara has been a center for environmental movements since the 1969 oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel. In 1970, a group of faculty calling themselves “The Friends of the Human Habitat” started to develop an environmental education curriculum, which became the genesis for the Environmental Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara. The Program was one of the first undergraduate environmental studies programs in the United States. Today, UC Santa Barbara’s Environmental Studies Program is the largest program of its type in the country, with over 700 undergraduates, more than 20 faculty and lecturers,and over 4,000 alumni. UC Santa Barbara signed the Talloires Declaration to make a public commitment to promote sustainability. The Declaration is a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations, and outreach at colleges and universities. Drafted in 1990 at an international conference in Talloires, France, the Talloires Declaration has been signed by more than 300 university presidents and chancellors in over 40 countries.
In 1996, the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management began an interdisciplinary graduate program and professional school offering both a Masters and a PhD in environmental science and management. In 2002, the Bren School completed its 85,000 sq. ft. building; the first laboratory building in the U.S. to receive a Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification awarded for new construction (NC) by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). UC Santa Barbara adopted a green building practice of its own, requiring that Campus buildings programmed after July 1, 2004 undergo external certification by the USGBC and achieve a minimum of a LEED Silver rating. The LEED minimum rating on campus for new buildings was raised from Silver to Gold for buildings approved after July 1, 2012.
Soon after Bren Hall received a LEED-NC certification, the Central Campus Sustainability Committee was formed, along with the Sustainability Working Team. These groups incorporated senior administrators, faculty, staff, and students to research a campus-wide approach to LEED certification. In 2002, Physical Facilities created a Campus Sustainability Coordinator position to green the campus’ building portfolio. In 2005, the Sustainable Purchasing Coordinator was formed to focus on sustainable procurement. A third position was created for a Sustainability Academic Education and Outreach Coordinator. A few years later, The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) created a half-time position of Grant’s Manager. The campus funded the other half of this position to create one FTE that would split its time between managing TGIF and focusing on sustainability communications and coordination. In 2012, the Student Affairs Division created a full-time sustainability coordinator position to address sustainability in their division and to oversee the Renewable Energy Initiative.

UCSB Sustainability Brochure