2017 Grant Awards

The Green Initiative Fund is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Spring Grant Awards.

TGIF has selected 10 projects, awarding a total of $238,065 in funding. 

Project Title Project Description TGIF Award
Building Sustainability Curriculum and Learning at Berkeley
Our overall objective is to boost climate neutrality and sustainability education at UC Berkeley, especially targeting faculty and students for whom sustainability may not be a focus. This project will not only impact the faculty and departments involved, but the countless students that will benefit from having sustainability education integrated into a variety of disciplines. A pilot project was implemented in 2015‐2016, as part of the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative. With funding from the UC Office of the President (UCOP), each UC campus organized a course curriculum workshop and a networking event to engage faculty members to infuse climate change and sustainability concepts into their existing courses. The UC Berkeley workshop targeted 15 faculty, and the follow up networking event was attended by about 35 faculty. Building off the success of last year’s Faculty Curriculum Workshop and Networking Events implemented at UC Berkeley, we propose to keep momentum of faculty and students engaged in incorporating sustainability into the curriculum in order to increase the numbers of courses with sustainability content at UC Berkeley, and the number of students who could be educated in various aspects of sustainability.
Connie and Kevin Chou Hall Zero Waste Certification In 2017, Haas unveiled its newest building, the Connie & Kevin Chou Hall, an 80,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to student learning. The building embodies Haas’s defining principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. Designed for LEED Platinum and WELL certifications, Connie & Kevin Chou Hall will also be the first business school building registered to attain Zero Waste certification by Summer 2018. The building will serve as a model for environmental sustainability at UC Berkeley and represents a critical step toward the University of California’s Zero Waste by 2020 and Carbon Neutrality by 2025 goals. The Zero Waste Certification project is be led by a multidisciplinary team of graduate and undergraduate students working closely with Cal Zero Waste, facilities management, and building vendors to ensure that building operations are designed for successful waste diversion. They will educate students, faculty, and staff on the importance of the initiative and how to fully utilize the space while achieving zero-waste. The building will have no landfill bins and a “pack-in, pack-out” mentality will be cultivated among users: any waste brought in will need to be brought out and disposed of by the user. Instilling this mentality can have broad reaching impacts beyond the Berkeley campus. As the project proceeds, an in-depth best practices manual will be developed to help scale the initiative throughout the UC campus system. $43,050
Elimination of Single-Pass Water Cooling Systems in Support of the UCOP Sustainability Policy Scientific instruments that go to low temperatures generate large amounts of waste heat along the way. Water-cooling is the primary method used to cool such equipment. Water-cooling is often open loop (also called "single pass"), meaning all the cooling water used runs through the system only once, with a continuous supply and drain of water through the system, leading to enormous water waste. In contrast, recirculating water systems, which consist of a water chiller that uses common refrigerants to cool a recirculating, closed water loop, use the same quantity of water over and over again to continuously cool the system. Implementation of such systems will save tens of thousands of gallons of water per month, per recirculating system installed. $34,282
EPA University Challenge 2017 As an extension of the services provided by UCB College of Chemistry's Chemical ReUse Facility (CRF), high quality chemistry & chemical safety information has been compiled into a "Safety Sheet" format that is user-friendly and readily comprehensible to researchers, EH&S professionals, and the graduate & undergraduate students, which is available to those that have access to the CRF searchable database. Unlike more traditional Safety Data Sheets (SDS's) made available by chemical manufacturers, these Safety Sheets provide many active weblinks in their PDF design, and act as springboards to other websites where source information is obtained, readily allowing for further investigation should the reader wish to follow up on any particular detail or facet. The federal Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program, which tracks chemical releases & disposal operations across the nation, offers an annual contest known as the EPA University Challenge which seeks novel ways in which publicly-available TRI data can be disseminated and utilized. In addition to all the other Hazard Communication information included with them, CRF's Safety Sheets devote an entire section to TRI information, including information on our state's, region's, and nation's releases, a 5-year history of those releases, and portrayal of the facility that releases the highest quantity of the chemical in question. This is done to help make the chemical's profile more relevant and personal to the user, giving them a picture of where those chemical assets are located both locally and nationally. If the Challenge submission succeeds, CoC will make the Safety Sheets for the entire TRI chemical list available to the public for a finite period of time, which will immensely broaden the audience that can freely access this information, and thereby empower the campus community, as well as the American public, with a greater degree of Hazard Communication information than they have had ready access to previously. $23,400
Gill Tract Community Farm Student Coalition GTCFSC will expand upon the efforts made from Phase I of this project, the Agroecological Fellows Program. It will also develop new initiatives and gain permanent funding for the program. GTCFSC has two main components: 1) Student fellowships and 2) student-initiated projects. The fellowship positions include two coordinators and nine student fellowships: Farm Management, Volunteer Management, Data Management, Food Distribution, Research, Food Justice, Communications & Outreach, and two Fundraising Fellows. The student-initiated projects are intended to provide financial and institutional support for students seeking to create new projects, programs, and research at the farm. We will also have one core project, the indigenous foodways project. The indigenous foodways project seeks to implement traditional systems of agriculture, education, and ceremony at the Farm in ways that strengthen the resilience and sustainability of the land and farm practices while also empowering urban indigenous peoples. These projects will empower students' leadership, community engagement, and intellectual pursuits. They will also contribute to the success of the farm and by extension to the farm's benefits to the campus, such as improved student food security and a lower carbon footprint. 



Graduate Assembly Environmental Sustainbility Conference

This project is to conduct a one-day environmental and climate science, policy, and advocacy conference for graduate students to engage with these issues in a manner outside their academic focus, building cross-disciplinary skills and collaborative efforts. 
Managed Print Program The Office of Sustainability and Supply Chain Management propose employing 2 student interns to assist with the implementation of the Ricoh Managed Print Solution for the Berkeley campus. Currently UC Berkeley uses over 69,000,000 sheets of paper annually and it is estimated that less than half of the devices on campus are defaulted to double sided printing. Additionally as many as one fifth of all printing is waste resulting from older improperly functioning machines which also use more energy to run. The goal of managed print is to optimize printing on campus by actively monitoring printing through technology embedded in each printer; such technology allows the campus to add or remove printers when needed to meet its printing needs. This program will help eliminate unnecessary power consumption from unused or underused printers and standardize on environmentally preferred practices such as double sided printing.  $9,000
Rainwater Harvesting Program The Rainwater Harvesting Project was founded with the ideals of sustainability and conservation firmly rooted in mind. It aims to address two issues: UC Berkeley mostly uses municipally supplied water that is treated to the standards of drinking water for irrigation, while rainwater from many campus-building rooftops is diverted directly into Strawberry Creek without filtration. Additional money and energy resources are wasted when potable water is consumed for non-potable demands and excess chlorine from treated water runs off into the stream during rain events as well. Furthermore, the rainfall in Berkeley, which averages 26.74 inches each year, is simply diverted into Strawberry Creek without treatment; this is a waste of precious water resource in our drought-prone state, and poses a negative impact on the local creek. Pollutants such as nutrients, organic material, debris pollutants, and pathogens that accumulate on roof surfaces are washed into Strawberry Creek during storm events without being filtered through vegetation, affecting water quality of the creek. This project will tackle the issues presented above by creating a rainwater harvesting system along with a bioswale at the Hearst Field Annex Buildings to collect rainwater for irrigation and to filter storm water. Rainwater collected will be directly supplying for the 8208 square feet lawn at the center of Hearst Field Annex with the original municipal water as back-up supply. $24,076
Reducing BearWALK Wait Times and Fuel Emissions Working with ASUC and the Graduate Assembly, UCPD collaborated to enhance BearWALK on the three free campus Night Safety Services. Since BearWALK is a walking service where UCPD student officers walk in between escort requests, feedback showed that clients wanted a reduced wait time. When BearWALK staffing was low (due to employees being a student first and an employee second), UCPD allowed the use of a patrol vehicle. As a way to reduce BearWALK wait times and fuel emissions, the idea of an electric bicycle was proposed so that the BearWALK employee could travel in between escorts faster than on foot (especially from CKC back to Moffitt Library).The TGIF funds will cover the cost of two electric bicycles to be utilized by the UCPD student employees (Community Service Officers or CSO’s) that operate BearWALK. $2,190
Sustainable Menstrual Products for the Cal Community
The idea of free menstrual products on the UC Berkeley campus began with Students for Reproductive Justice (SURJ), who released a survey gauging the support of the campus community for such a project and where accessible locations for menstrual products might be. The project leadership has since shifted to the Office of ASUC Senator Rosa Kwak, who, after meeting with SURJ, elected to restart the project with a 'Reverse' Drive of menstrual products from April 24th to May 5th. Products are located at MCC, GenEq, and the Food Pantry, with follow-up surveys released to students and staff members taking down data in order to assess the impact of the initial program. A flyer demonstrating the environmental impacts of using sustainable products is also provided for students. In the future, the project aims to promote the institutionalization of the provision of menstrual products on campus for students, with the added goal of providing the even more environmentally-friendly cups if financially feasible.
Vermicomposting In efforts to better campus' waste management practices and improve waste-related knowledge and transparency, UC Berkeley affiliates are working towards developing the capacity to process all of campus’ organic waste matter in-house. Due partially to permitting restrictions, but also to ensure diverse methodology and research opportunities, the group will be introducing the following three different composting systems: 1) The first is an experimental aquaponics system, inspired by Sacramento State's. This innovative and newly developed system offers research opportunities on multitrophic ecosystems, closed-loop systems, and alternative gardening. 2) To better process the large amount of organic waste the campus produces, they will install an on-campus windrow composting system and organics sorting facility. Permitting restrictions limit the amount of organic matter allowed to be processed through the windrow system at any given time to 100 tons. 3) Since campus produces more organic waste than could be processed through the windrow system alone, they will also install supplemental vermicomposting plots. This working group (consisting of representatives from UCB and Sac State) just submitted another grant application through CalRecycle. Funding from this grant would be applied towards constructing the windrow composting system and the aquaponics (MTSS) system. This TGIF grant will supplement the CalRecycle grant for two main reasons: CalRecycle grants cannot fund student interns, and the group would like to begin working towards processing campus' organic matter regardless of the outcome of the other grant. Thus, through this TGIF project, we will be hiring three student interns and the developing a vermicomposting system. $35,246

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.