FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2014
Berkeley, CA- The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), UC Berkeley’s campus green fund, recently became an official program of the new Student Environmental Resource Center. The Student Environmental Resource Center, known by its Berkeley acronym “SERC”, cultivates a collaborative space to strengthen the collective effectiveness of the sustainability community, and provides resources for students to actualize their visions of a more equitable, socially just, and resilient future.
The Student Environmental Resource Center was envisioned in 2012 by UC Berkeley students who, inspired by campus centers such as the Multicultural Community Center (MCC) and the Gender Equity Resource Center (GenEq), determined the need for a similar campus center for the student environmental and sustainability community. The SERC student leaders received initial advising and financial support from The Green Initiative Fund, when SERC was awarded a 2012 TGIF grant. SERC officially opened its doors in October 2012, with its first few months in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union, thanks to the generosity of the Cal Student Bookstore. With the impending closure of the Union due to the Lower Sproul Redevelopment project, the SERC student leaders presented a space proposal to the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM).
ESPM graciously granted Mulford Hall room 337 to SERC beginning February 2013, and SERC has subsequently flourished. SERC held its first Environmental Town Hall shortly thereafter, with an estimated 100 students gathering to discuss pressing campus, local, and global environmental issues. Additional spring 2013 programming highlights included hosting the California Student Sustainability Coalition’s Convergence, a GreenCorps Workshop, and a Green Careers Networking Event with PowerSave Campus.
Beginning fall 2013, SERC transitioned from registered student organization to University supported functional area within the LEAD Center, thanks to a $125,000 CACSSF Grant and TGIF’s continuous advising support. This transition included hiring the first SERC staff director in December and adding The Green Initiative Fund to the SERC portfolio, recognizing TGIF and SERC’s shared history of being student-initiated sustainability-focused campus programs, and TGIF’s reputation as a national model for campus green funds. TGIF has awarded over $1.6 million in grants to one hundred eleven (111) campus sustainability projects since its inaugural grant cycle in 2008. These grants have included the funding of two hundred (200) student internships, with the students working an estimated 12,000+ hours on TGIF-funded projects.
In addition to The Green Initiative Fund, SERC will be offering the following programs and services:
- Zero Waste Research Center (in partnership with Campus Recycling and Refuse Services)
- ECO Leadership Board
- Student Environmental Training Program
- SERC Workshop Series
- Words of the Watershed Blog
- Words of the Watershed Journal
- Words of the Watershed Workshop Series
- Mixed Greens Socials (in partnership with the ASUC)
- SERC Library
- SERC Career Series (in partnership with the Career Center)
- DeCal: Communicating Sustainability
- DeCal: Introduction to Sustainability & Environmentalism at UC Berkeley
- DeCal: Student Environmental Activism
- Nourish, a Green Bag Lunch Series
- Environmental Organization Database
- The Den: Hibernated Projects Clearinghouse
- California Student Sustainability Coalition Chapter
- Student Org Green Certification Program
- Town Halls
- Earth Week Leadership
- SERC Mobile Application
- Peer and staff advising for students and student orgs
- Support for students to attend related conferences and trainings
- Connections with on and off-campus environmental and sustainability resources
- Advertising for student organization activities
- Physical space for meetings, project workspace, campaign planning, etc.
The TGIF Coordinator and SERC Director will continue to work out of the LEAD Center (102 Hearst Gym), while Mulford Hall 337 will continue to serve as the SERC student space, until a new campus space is secured- a space that can support all SERC staff, community members, programs, and services.
Thus far, SERC has overcome the space constraints, offering 3 DeCals, the Words of the Watershed Blog, Workshop Series, and Journal, fundraising for 13 students to attend PowerShift 2013 in Pittsburgh, PA, and co-hosting the 2014 Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Career Fair with the Career Center. Upcoming SERC-supported programs include UC Berkeley’s Earth Week, a Start Your Own Business Workshop with solidariTEA, and UC Berkeley representation at the California Student Sustainability Coalition’s Spring Convergence. The 2014 TGIF Grant Awards will be announced early May.
Questions regarding this announcement can be directed to Katherine Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org. For future related announcements, sign-up for the SERC e-newsletter.