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Brown Bag Becomes Lunch+Learn

The Current has heard rumblings of confusion over the name change of our lunchtime WCEE events from "Brown Bag" to "Lunch & Learn." The editors reached out to Board Member and Lunch & Learn Committee Chair Roxolana Kashuba to get the inside story and clear up the following questions:

Q: Lana, can you tell us what the thinking was in changing "Brown Bag" to "Lunch & Learn"?

A: Sure! During our February retreat, the WCEE Board agreed that we wanted to give our signature lunchtime professional development seminar series a more sophisticated feel than the image brown bag lunches conjured, so we decided to jazz up the nomenclature to better reflect the contemporary, educational nature of these events. We realize “Brown Bags” have been a vital piece of WCEE’s core programming since its inception in 1986, and we hope the meetings continue to inspire the same loyalty, excitement, and participation under their rebranded “Lunch & Learn” identity!

Q: What can WCEE members expect at a "Lunch & Learn" event? Will it be different from the "Brown Bag" events we know and love?

A: The goal is still to enhance professional development and networking opportunities for our membership and others interested in energy and the environment by providing high quality speakers addressing up-to-the-minute topics as part of small group, interactive discussions.

Q: Should attendees still bring their lunch?

A: Yes, please! Logistics of “Lunch & Learns” will remain exactly the same as “Brown Bags” – attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunches, if they choose, and complimentary drinks and dessert will still be provided by the organization hosting the event. A big shout out and thank you to all our wonderful sponsors who do such a fabulous job hosting WCEE Lunch & Learns at their lovely venues all over downtown DC!

Q: Any goals and aspirations for the "Lunch & Learn" program going forward that you would like to share with the WCEE members? 

A: In addition to working on implementing all the exciting topics solicited from membership during January’s “Come Dream With Us” brainstorming session, new this year, we have initiated a quarterly series of seminars focused on career development tools (e.g., our recent “Using Social Media for Career Advancement” Lunch & Learn on June 24) in collaboration with WCEE’s Career Building Section. We are also, together with WCEE’s Marketing and Communications Section, considering developing a webinar series for members unable to attend “Lunch & Learns” in person. Finally, in collaboration with WCEE’s Membership Section, we are exploring the idea of organizing a “35-and-under” event series catered towards the needs of early- and mid-career professionals. 

Q: What has been your favorite "Lunch & Learn"? Any coming up that you are particularly excited about?

A: This year we have had a bunch of great ones, thanks to the hard work of all my committee members! A couple of unique ones include “The Cow of the Future: Methane Reduction and International Dairy Sustainability” and “Electrons Don’t Stop at the Border: US-Canada Cooperation and Coordination of the Electric Power System.” Other exciting topics include “Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars” and “Making Solar Energy Accessible to Everyone.” Any suggestions of topics you would like us to cover are highly encouraged! Please email me at to contribute suggestions or to become a member of the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) Committee that plans WCEE Lunch & Learns!

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