- The TGIF Committee is currently reviewing the 2013 TGIF grant submissions with plans to announce the recipients early May. TGIF successfully launched its first mini-grant program this fall, awarding $17,525 to 12 projects.
- To date, TGIF has awarded $1.3 million to 82 projects. Over 165 student internships have been funded through these projects.
- Some visible projects on campus include the new sustainable landscaping outside Anthony Hall, the Student Environmental Resource Center, the new recycling bins on Upper Sproul, on the campus tennis courts, and in Wurster Hall, food prep expansion within the Berkeley Student Food Collective, UZLOW shower valves in Units 1 and 2, and at University Village, Bring Your Own Mug Klean Kanteens, and new bottle refill stations in Wheeler and Sproul.
- TGIF recently cofounded a national group entitled the Campus Green Fund Collaborative and is currently coauthoring the “Green Fund Implementation Guide” to be published by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
- TGIF and PowerSave Campus recently published “How To: Organize and Run a Greek House Energy Savings Competition Guide”, a guide to direct student groups through the process of creating and running energy-savings competitions within college or university Greek systems. The guide is based on TGIF funded Green Cup, the Cal Greek community’s energy-savings competition.
- PowerSave Campus was just notified it won a 2013 Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practices Award in the Student Energy Efficiency Category for its TGIF funded project Fight the Flow. PowerSave Campus also won this award in 2012 for Green Cup.
UC Berkeley’s PowerSave Campus program and The Green Initiative Fund have published a guide to direct student groups through the process of creating and running energy-savings competitions within college or university Greek systems. The guide is based on Green Cup, a Greek energy-savings competition at the university.
I recently went to see environmental author and 350.org co–founder Bill McKibben speak in Berkeley, California as part of his new “Do the Math” campaign*. I have heard McKibben speak multiple times—the first being my senior year when he spoke at BC for a Lowell Humanities Series lecture. He successfully convinced BC to be one of the first universities to take part in a 350.org featured action that spring.
McKibben’s “Do the Math” event was held at the local middle school, which was a fitting setting for learning a bit of climate math and three key numbers regarding our energy future: two degrees Celsius—the degree limit for “safe” warming; 565 gigatons—the amount of carbon dioxide that we can put into the atmosphere with the hope of staying below two degrees of warming; and 2,795 gigatons—the amount of carbon dioxide that would result from the world’s proven carbon reserves. It proved to be another educational speech from McKibben, accompanied by impressive visuals of the global climate movement and the topographical impact of our current energy production.
The most impressive visual of the night was the age range of the audience, with members from the Greatest Generation to the Millenial Generation. McKibben asked how many in the audience were current students and how many were considered “alumni”. This got me thinking—how do we, as BC alumni, support current students at both BC and other academic institutions with inventing, building, and demanding a sustainable energy future? And more specifically—how do I, as a sustainability professional in higher education, impact my students’ educational development so that they, and the university, directly influence our global energy future?
When I was a freshman, I attended the Third Annual Northeast Climate Conference. This conference would forever change my view of higher education’s role in creating a sustainable world. After the conference, I began to see BC not as a roadblock but as an innovation hub for sustainable solutions and the development of socially responsible leaders. Following graduation, I took a position at the University of California, Berkeley as Coordinator of The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), which is a nationally–renowned campus sustainability fund.
In 2007, UC Berkeley students campaigned for the establishment of a fund that would provide grants to students, faculty, and staff for campus sustainability projects. Now in its fifth year, TGIF’s projects promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reshape waste reduction practices. TGIF has awarded over $1.2 million across seventy–six projects, ten of which have focused on energy conservation and efficiency.
Current energy projects include a Green Cup Competition within the Cal Greek Community, Human Powered Gym research, and a Learning and LEEDing internship program. Green Cup Competition collaborates with the Cal Greek Houses to complete small energy retrofits and educate residents on energy conservation behaviors. Human Powered Gym is retrofitting stationary bikes and elliptical exercise machines to be “human–powered”, with a long–term goal of the gym using the equipment–generated energy to power its entire facility. Learning and LEEDing sponsored the LEED Green Associates certification process for four students, who will now assist with LEED certification of small campus projects that otherwise would go uncertified.
These are only a few examples of how a university and its students can impact the course of a more sustainable energy future. An energy conscious campus culture can cause students to graduate with the knowledge and skills to weatherize future homes, invest in clean energy, or use state–offered resources for home energy audits and energy efficient appliance rebates. Some of our students may graduate and establish clean–tech companies, write national energy policy, or serve on local climate action coalitions.
We are now seeing the shift in what our graduates come to expect in the “real–world” access to LEDs (light–emitting diodes) and CFLs (compact florescent lamps) for light sources, solar and wind powers, recycling and composting, bike lanes, and increased public transportation. Institutions of higher education and available programs such as TGIF will continue to be beacons of possibilities and progress for securing a sustainable energy future, thanks to their innovative energy research and their education and development of our world’s future energy influencers and users.
* 350.org is an international campaign whose mission is “building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis.” See www.350.org/mission.
By Katherine Walsh- Boston College Class of 2008
Coordinator of the Green Initiative Fund at University of California, Berkeley
Originally published in the Boston College Energy and Environment Alumni Network Winter 2013 Newsletter
Kelley Doyle, who graduated from UC Berkeley in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, was recently honored by AASHE with the Student Research on Campus Sustainability Award for her senior research project “Converting university spending to greenhouse gas emissions: A supply chain carbon footprint analysis of UC Berkeley”. While a student at UC Berkeley, Kelley served as president of Greening the Greeks and led the successful TGIF project Waste Reduction in the Cal Greek Community after receiving a 2011 grant from The Green Initiative Fund. Kelley was nominated for the AASHE award by Kira Stoll, Sustainability Manager in UC Berkeley’s Office of Sustainability. Congratulations, Kelley!
Converting university spending to greenhouse gas emissions: A supply chain carbon footprint analysis of UC Berkeley
by Kelley Doyle- University of California, Berkeley
UC Berkeley was awarded honors last week at the 2012 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference held at UC Davis.
UC Berkeley also took home awards in the “Best Overall Sustainable Design” category for the Energy Biosciences Building and in the “Best Monitoring-Based Commissioning” category for Davis Hall.
These awards were part of the Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards, awarded annually to projects from the CSU and UC systems.
Read the full list of 2012 winners here.