David Chair Picture

David Pellow, Chair

Serving as the Chair of the Environmental Studies Program is the best job I’ve ever had and that’s because of the extraordinary staff and faculty, and Lecturers I work with every day, and because of the amazingly committed students I teach and learn from every year. We have a phenomenal group of students whose enthusiasm for learning about and defending our environment is unmatched and unbowed. Our students go on to become the most active, accomplished, and impactful alumni community I’ve ever seen, and the class of 2020 was yet another record-breaker, the largest ES graduating class in 50 years!

This year our Program turned 50 years young, and we celebrated with a series of campus-wide and public events for a national and global audience to commemorate the progress we have made in the program’s first half-century, while charting a course for what we plan to accomplish over the next fifty years. This included a major address by climate leader and author Bill McKibben, an Environmental Studies Alumni Reunion, and the release of a film featuring the ES Program’s history, current accomplishments, and our vision for the future. That film is titled Building a Movement: 50 Years of Environmental Studies at UCSB and can be viewed here.

Furthermore, over the past couple of years Environmental Studies has successfully raised over a million dollars in donations for new educational leadership programs, Environmental Studies Program scholarships, grants to help undergraduate research, and paid internships in a number of different environmental career fields. I’d like to offer a hearty Environmental Studies welcome and thanks to our new Business Officer, Boris Palencia, who has done a remarkable job in the short time he’s been with us (and 99% of that time working remotely!). And a big thanks and congratulations to our immediate past Business Officer, Alex Garcia, who is now an Assistant Dean of the College.

I want to recognize that we are all facing a range of daunting challenges associated with a global pandemic, an economic recession, institutional racism, and climate disruption, among others. Through it all, our community has stepped up to meet these challenges head on and have persevered through these difficult times, as I knew we would.

Environmental Studies is a place and a community where people are coming together, collaborating, sharing, learning, and innovating to devise and implement inspiring solutions to the environmental challenges we face today so that our future will be brighter, more equitable and just, and more sustainable. Many thanks for making Environmental Studies the extraordinary program it has become.



David Pellow
Chair, Environmental Studies Program