•  Pop Up Discussions

Pop Up Discussions bring together students to discuss the research and work of leading scholars and practitioners whose efforts focus on issues of poverty and inequality. The moderated discussions feature an expert in a related field who help students examine the given scholar/practitioner's work in more detail. Students who participate in the Pop Ups are often invited to a subsequent meet and greet with the featured scholar/practitioner. Join us for a passionate discussion on topics that resonate today. Check out our calendar for upcoming, and previous, Pop Up Discussions.

  • Podcast

Blum student hosts interview leading thinkers, activists and organizers about pressing questions shaping the lives of youth today, strategies for mobilizing their engagement, and avenues for action. Forthcoming!

  • Workshops

Applied workshops provide students with in-depth knowledge on a particular policy/issue (i.e. housing rights) or skills (i.e. conducting ethnography abroad, social justice writing) with experts in these fields. Do you have an idea for a workshop on a particular topic or skill set? Contact Joanne Nowak ( to discuss.

  • Blum Signature Series

Each year we choose an annual theme around which we organize a series of events to dive deeper into key issues and questions related to poverty, inequality, and democracy connected to this broader theme, as well as outline avenues for engagement. In 2019/20, the theme is the Green New Deal as an organizing framework for activism and mobilization related to economic and environmental justice.

  • Online Blum Courses across the UC System

The UCSB Blum Center is part of the Blum Network, featuring Blum Centers across the UC system. Several of these Blum Centers offer online courses available to all UC students. Check out these course offerings below!

- Global Poverty & Inequality in the 21st Century: why does poverty occur? Why does it persist? How can we solve it? This course offers an introduction to the study of poverty, inequality and social justice both in the US and globally, and how it intersects with education, health, environment, disaster, gender and technology. This 4-unit, 10 week course, aims to prepare students to think critically about the subject. The next course offering will be in Spring 2019.

- Environmental Security and Sustaining Peace: how do natural resources and the environment influence violent conflicts, and their aftermath? How can environmental peacebuilding influences these processes? This 8-week MOOC course (massive open on-line course) on Environmental Security and Sustaining Peace provides an in-depth introduction to the multiple roles that natural resources and the environment play in the onset, escalation, and resolution, of violent conflicts. Offered in Spring 2018, stay tuned for the next offering!

- Cultures of Sustainability and Social Justice: is there one definition of sustainable development? What about social justice? This course explores how communities come to define and achieve sustainable development by drawing on multiple theoretical frameworks, as well as case studies from around the world involving Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize in Social Justice and Sustainability). Offered Summer 2018, stay tuned for the next offering!

For more information on how to enroll, visit the Cross-Campus Enrollment website.


  • Poverty Action Days

Poverty Action Days feature Blum student-led projects on issues related to poverty, inequality and social justice often connecting Blum Centers from UC campuses across the system. 

In 2019, our Blum Center put on a series of events focused on class inequality on college campuses, including a Pop Up Discussion exploring the promise and pitfalls of free college tuition, a panel of first generation students, faculty and alumna discussing the unspoken challenges of first-generation and/or low-income students and strategies for overcoming them, as well as a student-led change panel drawing on the experiences of other student groups addressing inequalities to inform action on class inequality. 

In 2018, our Blum students organized a student workshop on housing access and rights to raise awareness of local tenants' rights and global issues of housing insecurity, in collaboration with the local (Isla Vista) Community Services District and Tenants Union.

In 2017, our Center focused on identifying key problems in global production and consumption practices, how these have changed over time, and what you can do to address these issues individually and collectively. Students hosted a film screening ont he Rana Plaza collapse, and a panel discussion with experts on global supply chains and ethical production practices including academics, local business, and a youth activist.

Check out the Blum Center Calendar for more details on Poverty Action Day events in 2017, 2018 and 2019 on our campus, and at Blum Centers at other campuses.

  • Sustainable Technology Repair Initiative

In 2019-20, the Blum Center, alongside the Center for Information Technology & Society, are implementing a pilot Sustainable Technology Repair Initiative to provide minor software and hardware repairs of smartpones and laptops to UCSB students through two Pop Up repair events in Winter and Spring 2020. We believe that sustained access to quality technology is a basic need on college campuses today. This pilot aims to reduce e-waste by facilitating tech repair and reducing digital inequality.

  • Big Ideas

The UC Berkeley Blum Center for Developing Economies manages Big Ideas – an annual contest that provides funding and support to students with ideas tackling problems that matter available to all UC students. Think your idea isn't ready yet? Big Ideas will provide you with mentoring and guidance to flesh it out into an application. Unsure of whether your idea is relevant? Big Ideas is interested in ideas ranging from Art & Social Change, to Energy & Resource Alternatives, to Global Health and more – for a total of 8 categories (click here for past winners). The contest process begins every September, with initial 3 page applications due mid-November. What do you have to lose? 

  • Insight Magazine

UC Irvine’s Blum Center recently launched InSight Magazine – a student led media project focused on making poverty visible and actionable. If you have an idea or art piece you would like to submit, please contact Joanne Nowak (, the Academic Coordinator of UCSB’s Blum Center, for more details.

  • Blum Network Internships

The UCSB Blum Center is part of a network of Blum Centers across the UC system. Several Blum Centers feature internships available to all UC students, notably UC San Diego and UCLA. These internships provide work in the field of poverty and inequality generally or have a more specific focus, such as global health. Please click on the following links (UC San Diego, UCLA) for more details, or contact the Blum Center’s Academic Coordinator: Joanne Nowak (


  • Blum Student Careers

Each year the Blum Center hires students (both undergraduate and graduate) to assist with the planning and implementation of our core programming, as well as lead on the Center's youth-focused initiatives - such as our Podcast and Poverty Action Days. If you're interested in joining our team, stay tuned for our yearly job recruitment call in early Fall. To get to know our current team of student leaders, please see the About Us Section of our site.