Program History

2006-2007: The Campaign Year

2007-2008: The First Year- The First TGIF Grants

 2008-2009: The Second Year- TGIF Hires its First Coordinator

2009-2010: The Third Year- Introducing the Abstract Process

2010-2011: The Fourth Year- TGIF Hires its Second Coordinator

2011-2012: The Fifth Year- Reaching Milestones

2012-2013: The Sixth Year- Introducing Mini-Grants


2006-2007: The Campaign Year
The Green Initiative Fund was created via a student fee referendum on the ballot during UC Berkeley's 2007 ASUC elections. By voting yes on the referendum, UC Berkeley's students created TGIF's $5 per semester student fee and created the charter by which TGIF operates.

The TGIF campaign was created and run by a group of undergraduate and graduate students at Berkeley. Much of the inspiration and ideas for the Fund's structure was taken from The Green Initiative Fund at UC Santa Barbara, which had been created by a student referendum the previous year. TGIF's core campaign team consisted of about 15 students, who worked tirelessly in fall 2006 and spring 2007 to finalize TGIF's design and determine the best way to pitch the TGIF Dream to Berkeley's student body. During the two "campaign" weeks immediately before the ASUC elections, the campaign team organized its 30+ additional volunteers for tabling activities on Sproul Plaza, spoke to student groups on campus, publicized itself via email, and debated critics. The TGIF campaign's $3,000 budget was funded via a generous grant from Tom Kalil, Special Advisor to the Chancellor for Science and Technology, as well as individual contributions from passionate students.

The campaign team's hard work paid off - UC Berkeley's TGIF referendum succeeded, winning 69% of the student vote.

2007-2008: The First Year- The First TGIF Grants
The 2007-08 academic year was the first year of operation for TGIF. The first TGIF Committee was appointed and met throughout the year to execute all aspects of TGIF. Much of the success of the Committee was visible in the establishment of the infrastructure and processes of TGIF, which included the TGIF Bylaws. The ASUC Auxiliary agreed to house TGIF within its department, providing a home base for the financial administration and organizational knowledge of TGIF.

The TGIF Committee also organized a large publicity campaign to increase campus awareness of TGIF's existance and to solicit grant applications from students, staff, and faculty. Information was spread through class announcements, email lists, the launch of the first website, and three informational sessions with attendance totaling thirty people. The response to these efforts was great, with 28 grant applications submitted, requesting a total of $1.2 million; in comparison, UCSB's TGIF received 18 applications totaling $490,000 in its first year of operation. The TGIF Committee selected nine projects and awarded a total of $168,615.

The TGIF Committee received an award from the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Sustainability recognizing its incredible efforts to promote sustainability within the UC Berkeley community.

2008-2009: The Second Year- TGIF Hires its First Coordinator
The 2008-2009 Committee continued to build upon the work of the previous committee. Nicole Leung was hired as the first TGIF Coordinator and began work during the fall semester to raise awareness about TGIF and support the efforts of the committee and the 2008 grantees. Of the 2008 grant awaredees, five projects were completed by June 30th, 2009 and four were still in progress. These projects generated increased education of campus sustainability as well as reduced the amount of resources consumed by the university. For instance, the I Heart Tapwater Campaign combined outreach activities such as tabling with water bottle give-aways with efforts to promote infrastructure projects like installations of bottle refill stations in campus buildings.

During the spring semester, TGIF was heavily promoted to solicit more grant applications and publicize the efforts of the grantees. TGIF was communicated largely through online methods (emails, the TGIF and other campus websites, online newsletters) although a series of class announcements and three informational sessions was also undertaken to communicate about the applications. Nicole and members of the committee also tabled at many campus-wide events such as the PlayGREEN Festival, Cal Day, and at Earthweek activities. Finally, in a tradition that has since continued, four of the 2008 grantees and TGIF created posters that were displayed at the CACS Summit, the Office of the President Earth Day event, and the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

For the 2008-2009 grant cycle, a total of 33 applications were submitted with a total request of almost $1.3 million. The number of applications was up from 2007-2008 as well as the entire amount request (the 2007-08 total was about $1.2 million). TGIF also received significantly more small requests (those less than $10,000). The TGIF Committee selected ten projects and awarded a total of $286,650.

2009-2010: The Third Year- Introducing the Abstract Process
For the 2009-2010 grants cycle, TGIF switched to using an abstract system whereby projects submitted a two-page abstract and received approval by the TGIF committee before submitting a full application. The abstract system allows the committee to interact earlier in the application process with the projects and provide feedback prior to the projects' final submissions.

With the new system in place, the committee reviewed 39 abstracts, 37 original and 2 re-submitted abstracts. As a result of the abstract review, 21 full applications were submitted and reviewed for funding. A total of 14 projects were selected and awarded a monetary total of $249,150. A continuing trend noticed with the 2010 grants cycle was that a greater percentage of projects were awarded smaller grants (less than $10,000), as fewer projects requested large grants.

The 2009-2010 TGIF grants cycle experienced a number of campus publicity highlights. TGIF continued to be communicated through online methods such as emails, the TGIF website, Facebook, and online newsletters. The student group Innovative Design designed a new TGIF logo to provide consistency in advertising. TGIF joined the Office of Sustainability in tabling at campus-wide events such as Caltopia and Calapalooza. TGIF also participated in all four Sustainability Forums, the PLAYgreen Festival, Earthweek, and Spring Welcome Week, and coordinated an activity at Cal Day with Cal Do Something. Three of the 2009 grantees and TGIF continued the tradition of creating posters that were displayed at the 2010 CACS Summit. These posters were up for awards at the 2010 This Way to Sustainability Conference VI at CSU Chico.

During 2010, TGIF publicity also extended beyond the Berkeley campus to state and national conferences. TGIF Coordinator Nicole Leung presented at the ACUI Conference with Katie Maynard of UC Santa Barbara and James Robinson of Humboldt State on how to create and run grant fee programs. Nicole also presented at the California Higher Education Sustainability Summit with Judy Chess on how to support sustainability projects on campus. In October, Nicole presented at the 2010 AASHE conference with Mieko Ozeki of the University of Vermont, Cindy Shea of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Suhail Barot of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on implementing green fee programs following successful referendum campaigns. The success of these conference presentations was due to the growing collaboration amongst the various California and national green fund programs.

The 2009-2010 grants cycle ended with four completed projects, nine projects in progress, and two projects discontinued. TGIF Coordinator Nicole Leung announced her leave from the position to attend graduate school and Katherine Walsh was hired as her replacement on September 7, 2010.

2010-2011: The Fourth Year- TGIF Hires its Second Coordinator
Katherine Walsh was hired as the new TGIF Coordinator and began on September 7th. The 2010-2011 academic year was also the first of two increases in the TGIF fee, from $5.00/student/semester to $5.50/student/semester, as was approved in the 2007 referendum. After completing three years of grant funding, TGIF expanded its publicity and outreach efforts during 2010-2011, such as attending and presenting at various conferences, events, and meetings, launching this new website, a blog, and a Facebook page, hosting grant writing trainings, and publishing various newsletters and articles. TGIF also assisted fellow colleges and universities with the establishment and improvement of their own student-fee based green funds by providing consultation on best practices and lessons learned.

At the 2010 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference, outgoing TGIF Coordinator Nicole Leung served as a panelist in a session entitled Student Green Fee Management and Project Implementation along with Mieko Ozeki, University of Vermont; Suhail Barot, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Amber Garrard, Green Mountain College; Cindy Shea, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Jedd Wilcox, University of Vermont. At the This Way to Sustainability VI Conference, TGIF Coordinator Katherine Walsh collaborated with Robyn DiFalco (CSU Chico), James Robinson (Humboldt), Chelsea McDaniel (UCSC), and Alisa Orris (UCSC) in a presentation titled Green Funds on Campus: How to Start One on Your Campus and in a panel discussion titled "Green Funds on Campus: Best Practices & Lessons Learned". Six TGIF project posters were also displayed during the conference's poster session. Walsh also presented at the 2011 CACS Sustainability Summit, the 2011 Spring California Student Sustainability Coalition Convergence, and the 2011 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

For the 2011 TGIF grants cycle, TGIF held a series of trainings during the abstract, application, and grant winner stages. Throughout January and February, Walsh offered 30-minute trainings entitled "How to Submit a TGIF Abstract" for those interested in applying for a 2011 TGIF grant. During March, Walsh held voluntary trainings for the twenty-four selected final application applicants, entitled "How to submit a TGIF Application." Once the winning applications were announced, Walsh held mandatory trainings for the winning project leaders to review the TGIF funding guidelines and reporting procedures required of the project leaders.

The 2011 Grant Application process received a total of 43 abstract submissions requesting $1,077,124 in awards. The TGIF Committee invited twenty-three abstract applicants to submit final applications and selected fifteen grant winners, awarding a total of $247,675, the largest grant award being $33,100 and the smallest grant being $3,000. Eight projects were student-led and seven projects were staff-led. The grant awards also funded thirty-two new student internships and covered themes such as water efficiency, waste reduction, energy conservation, and habitat restoration.

Twenty-one TGIF projects were completed in 2010-2011, twenty-eight projects continued into 2011-2012, and one project was discontinued at the request of the Coordinator.

2011-2012: The Fifth Year- Reaching Milestones
The 2011-2012 academic year was a dynamic year for The Green Initiative Fund, filled with milestones reached and major program changes. The ASUC Auxiliary, and therefore TGIF, left Business and Administrative Services and joined the Division of Student Affairs under the Dean of Students. As of August 1, 2012, TGIF is a program within the LEAD Center, a unit of the ASUC Auxiliary in the Division of Student Affairs. April 2012 marked the 5th Anniversary of the passing of ASUC Bill 61a TGIF and the establishment of TGIF at UC Berkeley, while Summer Sessions 2012 marked the fifth year of collecting student fees for TGIF grants. To mark its fifth year and meet a goal set in the 2010-2011 Annual Report, the TGIF Committee updated the TGIF bylaws to reflect the changes in the TGIF program that have occurred since its last update in 2009.

2011-2012 also marked the fifth year that the TGIF Committee awarded grant funding, which was celebrated by the awarding of the most funding to the most projects in one grant year. Twenty-two TGIF project presented posters at the 9th Annual CACS Sustainability Summit and the TGIF program was represented at multiple regional and national conferences. TGIF Coordinator Katherine Walsh was selected to serve as the 2012 Staff Co-Chair of the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Sustainability and partnered with local non-profit Bay Area Green Tours on its 2011 Grant from the Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund. The TGIF Committee voted in favor of adding an annual fall mini-grant program beginning fall semester 2012, to better serve interested applicants and award greater amounts of funding per year.

The 2011-2012 TGIF Grant Application Process saw an increase in quality and quantity across the board. The TGIF Committee selected 22 projects for grant awards, the most projects awarded in one grant year, and awarded a total of $308,630, the most funding awarded in one grant year, a testament to the strength and innovation of the applications.

This year's amount puts TGIF over the million dollar mark in total grant funding awarded: $1,270,101 in five years of grant awards. TGIF also set program records for most abstracts received and most abstracts invited to submit final applications. TGIF received 25 Early Abstract Submissions and 27 Final Abstract Submissions, with seven abstract resubmissions and four abstracts choosing not to resubmit. This amounted to 45 original abstracts requesting $779,462 in funding. The Committee invited a total of 28 abstracts to submit final applications. A final milestone met by this year's grant awards was greatest number of student internships funded with a total of 56, well up from last year's 32 student internships. This brings TGIF's five year total to 157 paid student green internships.

If a year had a theme, 2012-2013 will be the year of "waste reduction" with the TGIF Committee awarding 8 waste-related projects, in line with UC Berkeley's goal of Zero Waste by 2020. Due to the variety and quality of this year's submissions, the TGIF Committee was able to select at least one project in each sustainability category.

2012-2013: The Sixth Year- Introducing Mini-Grants
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-two projects completed in 2012-2013: four mini-grant projects and eighteen spring grant projects.

Air Handling Unit Transmitters Greening the Berkeley Science Review
Berkeley Student Food Collective Food Prep Expansion Greening the Berkeley Science Review: Phase II (MG)
Break the Mode Installation of Bottle Refill Stations
Break the Mode Part II (MG) Lawns to Meadows
Cal Dining Sustainability Team Nature Village: Sustainable Family Living
Cal Habitat Restoration Student Leadership Training Strawberry Creek Planting (Filling the Weed-Shaped Hole)
Composting at Blake Garden (MG) Strawberry Creek Restoration Demonstration
Earth Week 2013 * Strawberry Creek Water Quality Probe (MG)
EcoMovie Nights Student Environmental Resource Center
Food Day 2012 Talking Louder About Sustainability- Next Generation
Green Cup Competition: Round 2 * Teaching, Learning, and Change

*Green Cup Competition: Round 2 and Earth Week 2013 are not considered their own separate projects but phases of the original projects, 2011 funded "Green Cup Competition" and 2008 funded "Earth Week". These two original projects are now considered completed and are factored into the total "completed projects" numbers.

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 to 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.

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.