With its emphasis on eco-friendly buildings and a recently acquired $1 million donation, the future is beginning to look a little “greener” for USCB’s Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.
The school received the $1 million donation from an anonymous UCSB alumni donor and the Goleta-based Deckers Outdoor Company – the creator of name-brand footwear such as Simple, Ugg Australia and Teva sandals. The school will use the funds to enhance Bren’s current programs and attract the top graduate students in the environmental field.
The Bren School, which maintains certified green buildings and laboratories, offers graduate courses in fields such as environmental law and environmental economics.
The UCSB Foundation will maintain the $1 million for the school and invest it. The Foundation hopes to earn interest for Bren and provide an annual usable income of about $50,000 toward various enrichment and recruitment activities.
As a gesture of gratitude for the endowment, the school will name the 1,545-square-foot second floor patio of the Bren School after the Deckers company. The terrace, home to the school’s administrative offices, overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is often used to help recruit students.
Michelle Apodaca, executive assistant at Deckers, said the company expects to continue working with the Bren School in pursuit of green practices.
“We have a lot in common,” Apodaca said. “Our goals are the same. It is an exciting way to strengthen our relationship.”
Two UCSB students, including current Deckers Outdoor Company chairman Doug Otto, founded the company in 1973, manufacturing their own Deckers brand sandals for over 20 years. The company has since acquired the international rights to Teva brand sandals as well as Ugg Holdings, importers of the ubiquitous sheepskin boots, as well as Simple shoes. The company went public in 1993 and is traded on NASDAQ.
The company is also a corporate partner with the Bren School and has worked closely with faculty and students as well as providing speakers and resources for the classrooms.
According to Jennifer Deacon, Bren School’s assistant dean of development, Deckers has had a long and increasingly beneficial relationship with the school, providing internships for current students and jobs for Bren School graduates.
“We’ve been working with Deckers for the past couple years,” Deacon said. “Over time, our relationship with them has grown as they’ve come to understand our goals and values.”