Strategic
Environmental
Commnication

BrenComm@bren.ucsb.edu

Bren Communication

Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
2400 Bren Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara CA 93106-5131

PROJECTS.

We Research how to improve and apply environmental communication.

We design and evaluate messages and campaigns, explore digital informal science learning, and work in communities to promote environmental justice.

All of our research projects are applied and designed to help clients achieve campaign or engagement goals or to help media professionals improve their craft. We work in mixed methodologies, from qualitative interviews and focus groups to quantitative surveys and spatial analyses. We also focus on organizational and political communication, and how it can impact message, campaign, or engagement effectiveness.

Ongoing projects
NOVA's Polar Extremes

2018-2020

NSF Funded Project

Partner: NOVA Science Unit, WGBH Educational Foundation

The goal of this project is to test different learning approaches and to increase the ability to reach different audiences; different age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds may engage differently with different learning materials and platforms. Specifically, the project will explore the effectiveness experiential and narrative-driven learning, generate learning outcome metrics, and determine now to expand STEM media audiences.

Past projects
Strategic Communication for Energy Efficiency (Phase 2)

2018-2019

Funded by Southern California Edison

Partners: Liberty Hill Foundation, Center for Sustainable Energy

                             aims to spread awareness of and promote enrollment in California and federally-funded clean energy, energy efficiency, and electric transportation programs for income eligible, Latino/a, and communities of color in California— specifically LA, the Inland Empire, and the Central Valley. Building upon phase one, the second phase of this project will develop additional, tailored communication and outreach materials, including promotional testimonial videos. 

This project seeks to understand what happens on social media in terms of learning and engagement with science and is exploring the following research questions:

  1. How do we define informal science learning on social media?

  2. What does learning look like on social media and how does it differ from other forms of engagement and across social media platforms?

  3. Can science media outlets influence informal STEM learning on social media through a diversity of outreach approaches across different social media platforms?

NOVA Wonders: Assessing Learning Through Science Social Media

2016-2019

NSF Funded Project

Partner: NOVA Science Unit, WGBH Educational Foundation

Final Project Presentation, Southern California Edison, Aug 2018

From left to riight: Shaun Wolfe (MESM '18), Sarah Salem (MESM '18), Michelle Nuttall (Southern California Edison), Alex Jamis (MESM '18), Lisa Leombruni (Comm Program Director) Photo: Michael Hanrahan

Strategic Communication for Energy Efficiency (Phase 1)

2017-2018

Funded by Southern California Edison

Partners: Liberty Hill Foundation, Center for Sustainable Energy

                                  The goal of this project was to develop a strategy to increase awareness and enrollment in California and federal energy programs among income eligible, Latino/a, and communities of color in California— specifically LA, the Inland Empire, and the Central Valley. We developed a recommended campaign, outreach strategy, and a communication package to increase enrollment in energy programs. These recommendations were developed in consultation with non-profits currently working on-the-ground to enroll families and after reviewing current literature/reports on science communication and energy messaging or marketing.

Strategic Communication to Achieve Carbon Neutrality at the UC

2016-2018

Funded by the UC Office of the President and the TomKat Foundation

NCEAS Working Group

The University of California (UC) has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from on-campus operations and purchased energy by 2025 through the Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI). We investigated attitudes toward the CNI among students, faculty, staff and administrative leaders across all campuses and developed a plan that UC can use to build the needed understanding and motivation. Our working group included experts in communication, education, political science, public opinion, psychology, sociology, engineering, sustainable design, and public policy as well as energy and sustainability practitioners.

Evaluating the UC's Healthy Campus Network Initiative

2017-2018

Funded by the UC Office of the President

This evaluation was designed to assess the University of California Healthy Campus Network (HCN) program effectiveness. Our assessment was based on a number of data sources, including original survey, focus group, and participant observation data, as well as secondary data collected by program organizers. Overall, the evaluation found that HCN subcommittees varied significantly in their effectiveness at supporting campus health. However, UC students, faculty, and staff are eager to take advantage of health-related programs.