The 2012-2013 academic year proved to be another successful year for The Green Initiative Fund. TGIF introduced the TGIF Mini-Grant Program, an opportunity for UC Berkeley students, staff, and faculty to apply for TGIF Grants in the amounts of $500-$2,000 in October and November. TGIF hoped to award up to $20,000 in mini-grants. The goals of the mini-grant program were 1) to fill a gap in fall funding for sustainability projects and 2) to finance projects of smaller scope and shorter timeline.
The mini-grant program proved successful. TGIF received twenty-one mini-grant applications, eleven by the October deadline and ten by the November deadline, requesting a total of $34,000 in funding. TGIF selected twelve projects, awarding a total of $17,525. Five projects were second phases or additional plans for existing TGIF projects, while seven were new projects. As of June 1, 2013, four mini-grant projects were completed, with the remaining eight slated to complete by mid-December 2013. Due to the success of the inaugural mini-grant program, it will now be a permanent grant cycle offered annually by TGIF.
TGIF has speculated that the addition of the fall mini-grant program led to a decrease in spring TGIF Grant Applications. TGIF received twenty-eight original abstract submissions- fourteen early abstract submissions, sixteen final abstract submissions, with two being resubmissions of early abstracts. The applicants requested a total of $589,000 in funding. The application and funding request numbers were down from 2012′s numbers of 45 original abstracts and $779,000 requested. TGIF is less interested in the numbers of requests and more concerned with the high quality and originality of project proposals- the 2013 submissions proved to have both.
TGIF awarded a total of $278,505 across fourteen projects, which included the funding of twenty-three paid students internships. For the first time in TGIF history, habitat restoration dominated as the project theme, with five habitat restoration projects selected. The TGIF Coordinator will also be leading grant project “Campus Tree Inventory”, another first for TGIF. With the announcement of the 2013 TGIF Spring Grant Awards, TGIF has now awarded over $1.5 million to 96 projects and funded 195 student internships in six years of grant cycles.
In addition to success in grant funding, TGIF grew in the areas of education, outreach, and publicity. TGIF became part of the new LEAD Center and relocated its office to Hearst Gym 102. The transition into the LEAD Center has assisted TGIF with building partnerships and publicity within the Division of Student Affairs, and the physical location within the LEAD Center has led to more connections with new students and student groups. One such group is the new Student Environmental Resource Center, initially funded by a 2012 TGIF Grant. TGIF provided advising and financial support throughout SERC’s first year of growth, which included the establishment of a leadership structure and the hosting of multiple successful student-centered events, including the California Student Sustainability Coalition’s Spring Convergence.
Twenty-four projects completed in 2012-2013: four mini-grant projects and twenty spring grant projects.
TGIF expanded its influence when it was invited to become a member of the UC Berkeley Zero Waste Working Group and the City of Berkeley Climate Action Coalition. The TGIF Coordinator position was added as an ex-officio position to the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability and was asked to serve as the 2012-2013 ASUC representation on the UC Berkeley Environmental Management System Committee.
TGIF Coordinator Katherine Walsh presented twice at the 2012 AASHE Conference, Green Funds 1.0: Getting a Fund Started and Green Funds 2.0: The Nitty-Gritty of Campus Sustainability Fund Management from the Ground Up. The Green Funds 2.0 presentation led Walsh and her co-presenters to co-found the Campus Green Fund Collaborative and begin writing a green fund “how-to” publication in conjunction with AASHE.
Twenty-five TGIF projects presented posters at the 2013 CACS Sustainability Summit and five TGIF projects have been selected to give presentations at the 2013 California Higher Education Sustainability Projects. For the second year in a row, a TGIF/PowerSave Campus Project (Fight the Flow) will be receiving a Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practices Award in the Student Energy Efficiency Category.
TGIF hired TGIF Program Associates in February 2013, marking the first time the TGIF program (not projects) has had student interns. The Program Associates have been assisting the TGIF Coordinator with project documentation, interviewing projects leaders, blogging, and developing new program features, like the TGIF Project Locations Map.
TGIF is proud of its work for 2012-2013 and is working to make 2013-2014 even better! Look for new features on the website, new campus sustainability projects and partnerships, more blog posts about our TGIF projects, and more leadership and sustainability opportunities for UC Berkeley students.