Diversity Committee

History of the EPMDC

The EPMDC was founded in response to the public resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement due to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and more during the spring of 2020. The public resurgence of the movement was felt widely throughout the world and brought to bear the unveiling of inequities and aggressions against students of color in academia. In response, EPM students organized the EPMDC to provide student leadership in ensuring that the EPM program addresses the inequities within academia and the communities that EPM students serve.

During the summer of 2020, students gathered remotely to develop the EPMDC Action Statement (not to be confused with the Diversity Action Statement released by program leadership) in which students asked for specific action regarding course structure, diversity in admissions, diversity hiring and more. Since then, the EPMDC has worked with the EPM Program Director, Chair and Coordinator in collaboration to achieve these goals.

2022-2023 EPMDC Action Statement

November 9, 2022

Dear EPM Faculty and Staff

The Environmental Policy and Management Diversity Committee (EPMDC) is a student-led organization that was established in June 2020 in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and the resulting public resurgence in the Black Lives Matter Movement. The EPMDC is a collection of graduate students that advocate for student issues and act as a listening body for EPM students. We are working to create a community that is collaborative, with the primary goal of equity in opportunities, learning, and leadership in our graduate group and on our campus. We aspire to recognize, appreciate and celebrate diversity by encouraging and promoting diversity in staffing, faculty, student admissions, and professional networks. EPMDC thanks EPM faculty and staff for being responsive and supportive collaborators for supporting diversity in the program and beyond to-date. 

When EPMDC was first established, EPM students were focused on addressing white supremacy in the environmental field and academia. EPMDC is carrying on this legacy while expanding its focus on all needs for marginalized students. We all have a responsibility to address all forms of explicit, implicit, and institutionalized discrimination as we continue to grieve the lives lost to police brutality and systemic racism across the U.S. EPMDC will advocate for all aspects of diversity among our students, including gender identity, sexual orientation, religious orientation, race, ethnicity, immigration status, and disabilities. These identities are intersectional and require a brave space within the program and the university. The EPMDC will be proactive in taking action to support and celebrate these identities, while addressing colonial structural inequalities embedded in the EPM student experience, from the application process to the educational experience. 

The environmental field has a history and current practice of leaving BIPOC and other marginalized voices out of conversations and power-sharing. As a graduate program that trains environmental policy makers, the EPM program is well-positioned to help correct this dominant practice. We believe it is extremely important that - through this committee’s participation in the EPM program’s strategic direction - we ensure future environmental leaders represent environmental concerns from all walks of life. 

The EPMDC has further recommendations to Program Leadership falling under six main categories:

  1. Strategic planning
  2. Enhancing diversity in EPM faculty and External Advisory Committee
  3. Enhancing diversity in the EPM admissions process
  4. Supporting incoming and existing students of color and international students
  5. Acknowledging and supporting the intersectional identities of EPM students
  6. Serving our community by providing leadership in achieving these goals

The EPMDC has outlined specific recommendations on how to achieve improvements within these six umbrella categories in the Actionable Steps section below.

Actionable steps

1: Strategic Planning

We ask that Program Leadership:

  1. Formally recognize the EPMDC in the EPM bylaws
  2. Commit to hosting diverse speakers and/or commit to supporting an EPMDC-led seminar series that hosts diverse speakers in the EPM Degree Requirements
    1. Invite local leaders to speak about community engagement, environmental justice legislation, community advocacy, tribal advocacy and more
  3. Provide a position description for the student representative on the EPM Executive Committee in the EPM bylaws that includes that the representative must consult regularly with the EPMDC, as this person represents all EPM students.
  4. Require all two-year track EPM students to enroll in an environmental justice course as part of graduation requirements, similar to the quantitative elective requirement. 

2: Enhancing diversity in EPM faculty and External Advisory Committee

  1. Require EPM faculty members to participate in diversity and inclusion trainings that includes but is not limited to microaggressions and sensitivity trainings
    1. Invite experts to facilitate discussions
    2. Use trainings formed by BIPOC, QTPOC, and LGBTQ+ leaders; and leaders with disabilities
  2. Recruit external advisors that represent diverse identities

3: Enhancing diversity in the EPM admissions process

We ask that Program Leadership:

  1. Work toward the creation of a student Graduate Student Researcher position -- ensured in the EPM bylaws -- that is tasked with assisting in the admissions process by:
    1. Maintaining the digital code used for admissions
    2. Assisting in designing the rubric for admissions
  2. Assisting in outreach and therefore assisting with student recruitment as well as admissions
  3. Begin a discussion between the EPMDC, EPM Program Leadership and ESP Department leadership on how to involve students in faculty hiring decisions

4: Support incoming and existing students of color and international students

We ask that Program Leadership:

  1. Continue to post and update the list of basic needs resources created by the EPMDC on the EPM website, weekly update, and/or EPM syllabi
  2. Include diversity training in new student orientations including training on microaggressions, sensitivity and more
  3. Increase representation of international students and students of color
  4. We invite EPM faculty and staff to serve the EPMDC as advocacy officers who carry out principles of diversity and inclusion and advocate for the EPMDC in their everyday work life
    1. Advocacy Officer Expectations
      1. An advocacy officer agrees to act as an ally and advocate to/for the EPMDC.
      2. An advocacy officer attends regular (quarterly) EPMDC meetings and advocates for EPMDC goals and objectives in their everyday work.
      3. As the EPMDC and EPM program grows, the EPMDC reserves the right to add/edit these responsibilities and will always be communicative when changes are made.

5: Acknowledging and supporting the intersectional identities of EPM students

We ask that Program Leadership:

  1. Educate students and staff on the continuing efforts to uplift diverse voices
  2. Connect with organizations, both external and student-led, in creating spaces for all aspects of diversity

6: Serving our community by providing leadership in achieving these goals

We ask that Program Leadership:

  1. Support and collaborate with local people of color (POC)-owned businesses for EPM fundraising events, merchandise sales, social and networking events
  2. Support the EPMDC in creating local volunteer opportunities for students and faculty to connect with community members
  3. Support the EPMDC in hosting events that are open to and benefit members of the community members in the greater Sacramento area
  4. Highlight BIPOC organizations related to conservation, environmental justice, and other relevant topics in EPM classes, professional development seminar and EPM social and networking events
  5. Encourage faculty to participate in organizations or conferences serving under-represented minority groups

The EPMDC provides an important student perspective to issues of diversity that may be overlooked by higher levels of administration. Incorporating a student diversity perspective into administrative action would be a demonstration of solidarity with students as we pursue the school’s diversity goals together. The EPM program is training the next generation of leaders in the environmental policy field. It is important to create an educational experience that supports students holistically and supports their professional development.

As members of the EPMDC, we formally commit to being accountable for our own progress and adjusting actions as needed. As the EPMDC grows, we will formally and regularly (quarterly) communicate our progress via open forums, the EPM website, email, and meetings. We will provide opportunities for open comments and feedback using these or similar pathways.

In Solidarity,

The Environmental Policy and Management Diversity Committee


Ruchika Jaiswal

Natalie Kataoka


Rachael Alcala

Alex Berk

Christina Harrington

Hannah Mone

Trish Reardon