5 Questions with Chellsee Lee, EAB Clean Energy Chair and Founder of UC For Clean Energy


Kyle Skinner
Staff Writer

Q: What is UC For Clean Energy?
A: I started a campaign team called UC For Clean Energy and we are trying to get our campus to commit to 100 percent clean energy by 2020. It’s really ambitious but we are trying to show the chancellor that there is a sense of urgency and priority among students here.

Q: What was your experience like at the Climate Rally in Washington DC?
A: Three students and I went to Washington DC to attend the largest climate rally ever held in U.S. history.  It was really amazing. We were basically protesting the Keystone XL, which The Bottom Line did an article on a couple of weeks ago, and we wanted to put our name out there. It was crazy to be a part of this huge rally of 50,000 people all fighting for the cause and just as passionate or even more passionate than us. There were a small amount of California students out there and so we wanted to show Washington that California students support moving away from fossil fuels and transitioning towards clean energy. The reason it mean so much to us, beyond it being about clean energy, is that the pipeline will be placed between people’s houses and displacing indigenous communities, and so that really matters to us.

Q: Why is it important for UCSB specifically to switch to clean energy?
A: Well if you look around, you can see that UCSB is the most abundant place for natural resources, and we have the potential to transition in an easier way than other campuses. We have ideas of putting solar panels on the parking structures, which is fully funded by students who are willing to support the transition. Not only do we have the students’ support, but we have the innovation, we have the will to research, and we have people who want to do these things but may not have the funds to do it, so we are trying to get the school to reallocate those funds from investing in really bad utility companies to going towards solar, geo, or wind power.

Q: What advice would you give to the average UCSB student to help the school transition into a cleaner school energy wise?
A: The thing that sticks with people is the realization that they can directly impact people with their decisions. The school is putting $8 million into a utility company that is using coal. That coal is most likely being disposed of in a low income community of color. Those children are likely to have health issue, and if you think about it like that, you can see that leaving the lights on for an extra eight hours a day could negatively impact someone. Students can try and unplug things when they aren’t using them, and try not to waste electricity. Look at the school we live at. Go outside, study outside and tan and become even more beautiful than you already are! So just stay beautiful!

Q: How can someone get involved in the transition to clean energy?
A: Anyone can come to EAB and join our working group, which is pretty awesome because you can come to one meeting but really be involved in two really cool causes. We are always looking for fresh faces. We have a very strong foundation of people that would love for new people to come and be a part of it. You don’t need to be really, really dedicated, you can just come check it out, that’s awesome, and we will probably persuade you to join because we are really awesome! It’s a really great cause and I’m extremely passionate and I want to get others passionate about it as well. You can totally become passionate by joining our team!