Family, friends, and Environmental Studies alumni combined efforts recently to create lasting celebrations of ENVS undergraduate Annais Rittenberg.
Annais embodied many of the qualities that make the ENVS community so special: she was passionate, articulate, often laughing, and at the same time committed to making a positive difference in the world. Her death in a tragic accident during the summer of 2013 prompted an enormous response from her community of family, friends, and fellow ENVS students.
Led by her family, this large group successfully raised over $90,000 to support two projects that will benefit UCSC undergraduates in the years to come. One project will create the Annais Circle of Love, a gathering space to be built at the UCSC Farm.
The second project endowed a scholarship for students with financial need to participate in ENVS’s Natural History Field Quarter (NHFQ). Noting Annais’s transformation through participation in this full-quarter field class, her family wanted to help other students participate in this course in the future. Annais’s family and friends worked with faculty, staff, and a very active alumni group dating back more than 40 years to raise enough to qualify for matching funds provided by the university.
So far, over 100 donors have given to this fund! The success of this effort is a testament to how much Annais was loved as well as the commitment of our alumni to provide meaningful educational opportunities for future ENVS students. You can contribute to the scholarship by donating online to the Annais Environmental Studies Project.
In Annais’s own words from her NHFQ journal, "In our quest to learn about boundless nature, we have embarked on a boundless quest of our individual and collective potential, to love and to be loved. We . . . have chosen to fill our hearts with the soft touch of sand dunes, the sounds of song at a coastal sunset, the stillness of a day alone, and the motivation to make positive change."
Family and friends of ENVS student Annais Rittenberg partnered with UCSC alumni for Natural History Field Quarter student scholarships. Over 120 donors created an endowed fund to honor Annais's passion for experiential education.