2018 Grant Awards

The Green Initiative Fund is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Spring Grant Awards.

TGIF has selected 20 grants, totaling $308,771.88.

Project Title Project Description TGIF Award
UC Berkeley’s Richmond Field Station (RFS) contains the last intact, undisturbed native coastal terrace prairie adjacent to the San Francisco Bay shoreline. This prairie contains native bunchgrasses, “the old growth at our feet,” which are possibly thousands of years old. These seventeen acres of ancient, biodiverse prairie contain a rich community of native grasses and forbs (wildflowers), including a rare stand of slender wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus). UC Berkeley recognizes the value of the prairie, with portions protected for teaching and research. This rare and ecologically critical prairie faces multiple threats, including habitat damage due to soil pollution and incursion of invasive plants. Soil at the Richmond Field Station is contaminated with arsenic due to dumping of chemical waste from a neighboring former chemical plant. Non-native invasive plants, especially Harding grass (Phalaris aquatica), outcompete native prairie plants, preventing native grasses from re-establishing in disturbed, moderately contaminated soils, and threatening the undisturbed remnant coastal prairie. Phase I of this project, funded with TGIF 2017 Fall Mini-grant funding, used plant based remediation methods to remove arsenic from the soil. Phase II, funded with TGIF 2018 Spring Grant funding, will fully restore coastal terrace prairie habitat. 


Autoclave Replacement The Green Labs Autoclave Replacement Assessment project aims to address the massive amounts of water consumed by laboratory sterilizer equipment, specifically by autoclaves. The Green Labs program recognizes the opportunity to significantly reduce this exorbitant water usage (and its associated long-term financial costs) as part of its underlying commitment to achieving campuswide water efficiency. Proposed funding for this project will aid continued student research throughout the following academic year. Through an in-depth evaluation of the outdated autoclaves housed in the Life Sciences Addition (LSA) building, findings have since spurred a broader discussion among other campus labs and a desire to continue research on behalf of future sterilizer upgrades based on their autoclave needs.


Recently, UC Berkeley has received a gold-medal in bicycle-friendly universities by The League of American Bicyclists and ranked #4 in the country for most transit-friendly colleges by TransitScreen. Based on the increase of transit programs, technologies, and infrastructure, it is important for the students at UC Berkeley to rely on other forms of transportation (meaning very few cars are allowed on campus) as well as the value of transit as a sustainable, congestion and pollution mitigation program. Additionally, P&T launched a RideShare matching website for the students at Cal to connect with the rest of the UC Berkeley Community to carpool to campus, home, or on vacation. UC Berkeley's Parking and Transportation plans to address educating and outreach to the students on campus by providing funding for a transportation handbook and a monthly TEDtransit talks to further develop an interest in transit, advocate for advancements for transit after-college, and to support future efforts on campus.


Brown's Cafe Herbal Garden
"The Cal Dining Sustainability Team Garden Coordinators proposes a project to develop a new herbal garden with both raised bed and in-ground features at the site of the Brown’s California Cafe in the College of Natural Resource (CNR). Representatives from the Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) department, Campus Grounds department, Campus Access Services, and Campus Sustainability Office have been and will continue to be consulted throughout the process. The team proposes that educational signage be created to transform the space into not only a productive edible green space but also an outdoor education space. The TGIF Funds would cover the cost of student garden interns, planter boxes, and gardening materials. Implementation of this project would be a two phase process. The first phase would entail installing raised planter beds around the cafe’s outdoor seating area in accordance with an already development site plan and design standard. The second phase would expand the efforts by converting a strip of the lawn adjacent to the cafe into perennial herbal landscaping. One student garden interns would be tasked with initiating and tending to the garden over the summer 2018. Another student intern would be tasked with coordinating with on campus student organizations such as the Sustainable Campus Landscaping and Ecological Design Decal to plan work days over the course of the fall and spring 2018-2019 semesters."


Building Sustainability at Cal (BS@C) The Building Sustainability at Cal (BS@C) Program trains and utilizes students to help reduce the environmental impact of campus buildings by identifying structural and operational changes that can be made to buildings, as well as designing and implementing educational projects. This is accomplished by hiring student interns and working on case‐by‐case outreach and auditing projects. BS@C interns cooperate with building and project managers, assisting on LEED© (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credit documentations and other audits. In addition, we provide a framework for recognition of smaller-scale green construction projects known as the Green Paw Certification, developed by a group of BS@C interns in collaboration with professionals in the field. 


Cal Dining Rentable Reusables The Rentable Reusables program is an effort made with the help of Cal Dining and the ASUC to make affordable reusable dining materials available to all student groups, regardless of size. This is an attempt to eliminate both landfill and compost waste across campus, to therefore to reduce the energy inputs necessary for disposables, and the greenhouse gases that occur as a result of single-use plastics, paper, and compostable plastics. A main goal for this program is to remain accessible to every single student organization by remaining affordable; by doing so, the Rentable Reusables program attempts to encourage a Zero Waste culture throughout campus, thereby contributing the campus' goal of zero waste by 2020, and helping to deconstruct the idea that "zero waste" practices are reserved to a certain demographic.


Clark Kerr Rain Garden Community Garden
Our focus will be on the Building 2 Courtyard at the Clark Kerr Campus. Currently, because of poor landscaping and irrigation, water is constantly flooding directly into the entrance of the building and off into the street. Recently, an orchard was planted in the courtyard; however, when it rains, the water flows directly down the side of the building to the door, rather than to the newly planted trees. It is vital that this area be modified, not only for functionality, but for sustainability purposes as well.


Decolonize the Environment: A Series of Workshops on Environmental Intersectionality
This series of workshops aims to involve the campus community to explore the intersectionality of the environment. These workshops aim to increase awareness of environmental justice to students, staff, faculty, and the community and connect them to community activists who do this work for a living. These workshops will be devoted to the topics of: gender and the environment, race and the environment, disability and the environment, food and the environment and more. They will be led by activists in the environmental community who are doing work along these intersections and addressing it to decolonization. 
These workshops provide an opportunity for the Berkeley community to engage in topics that are not regularly offered in mainstream environmental spaces, helping push the environmental dialogue towards centering justice, intersectionality and equity to the center of their agenda.


Earth Action Initiative
Our vision is to foster a community of people on and around campus to take direct climate action, and help reduce the barrier to action for others. The goal is to demonstrate meaningful climate action is possible, especially for students and community members, and provide a roadmap of how that can happen. To execute the Earth Action Initiative vision, EAI will organize a variety of events and actions that build community, leverage existing efforts, inspire new plans, and find innovative ways to communicate with each other.  The work throughout the year will culminate in a spring 2019 conference featuring graduate student organized workshops and a climate art show. The workshops cover a variety of climate and environmental topics. EAI engages a variety of issues, such as; responsible personal and business consumerism, environmental justice, local policy and activism, and technological advancements. A point of distinction is that each workshop has an associated action, which will take place on the day of, or 1-2 weeks following the event. These actions strengthen the community, acts as an example of what is possible, and results in measurable outcomes. The Earth Action Art Show is an extension of EAI’s larger mission to cultivate creative endeavors around a culture of climate justice. Raw climate data can be overwhelming and difficult to internalize, we hope that art can provide an evocative, intimate experience to connect with, and be inspired by.The art show is a critical communication tool, and a means to assemble groups that may not regularly interact on the essential topic of climate change.


This project, “Environmental Education for People of Color”, is divided into two parts: People Of Color Environmental Justice Conference and Outdoor Education for People of Color.  The People Of Color Environmental Justice Conference aims to foster an intersectional environmental movement that inspires and empowers underrepresented folx in the environmental movement. The conference will consist of keynotes, panels, and workshops from environmentalists of color to recenter the environmental movement around those most marginalized by environmental degradation. Creating an intentional space in environmental education for people of color reshapes the current dominant environmental narrative to a more inclusive and equitable one for long term justice and sustainability. Outdoor Education for People of Color aims to ensure students of color have access to affordable outdoor space with two retreats (Fall and Spring). Retreats will be part of an outdoor education plan focused on organization and movement building, leadership workshops, reflection activities, guided hikes, environmental consciousness, and personal and community development. This retreat will not only make the outdoors more accessible, it will also strengthen the Students of Color Environmental Collective as an organization and ensure internal community building, retention of community history, and a passing of environmental and institutional knowledge that will withstand yearly member turnovers.


Equity & Inclusion in Campus Gardens and Land Use Decisions
UC Berkeley is home to a growing network of gardens that capture student interest in urban agriculture and greening and respond to urban sustainability, food security, environmental health, and climate change resilience. Many of these gardens are student led and maintained with specific functions for food production, education, research, and/or cultural representation. In 2016-2017, a strategic plan for campus farms and gardens was conducted across campus that revealed challenges of equity and inclusion in gardening spaces that mirrors those in national and Bay Area urban agriculture. These unequally prioritize white and privileged spaces, disconnecting from communities of color, facing food insecurity, and with historical and cultural ties to land and food production. The strategic planning process also revealed a campus land use decision making process that lacks transparency, effective community input processes, and focus on equity and structurally prioritize the preferences of those with power and funding.  This project aims to respond to the equity and inclusion challenges related to campus gardens and land use planning with student leadership and voices from underrepresented communities. A paid student Outreach and Equity Fellow and two student Working Group Coordinators will coordinate and facilitate collaborative discussion with underrepresented communities to better understand challenges, brainstorm, and initiate cultural and structural challenges to improve inclusion, diversity and representation."


This project seeks to implement and institutionalize a streamlined e-waste recycling system on campus where none was accessible to students before. Student staff will spearhead an education campaign detailing the environment and economic impacts of e-waste, meant to support the campus-wide Zero Waste by 2020 goals. The recycling system is meant to be modular, and will be highly responsive to feedback from facilities, faculty, students, and other stakeholders. 


This project will be the construction and maintenance of a student garden for the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center. This garden will provide free and fresh produce for students, initiate opportunities for self sufficiency and healthy living, and build unity and growth around the black community. Nearly 40% of undergraduates experience food insecurity- and disproportionately the black community suffers the most. This becomes an added pressure to the already existing forces of redlining and gentrification that place black people face in many of the neighborhoods they systematically reside in. Coming to Cal should be something that is a gift for all people, specifically folks who are coming here from lower income neighborhoods and/or experiencing the struggles of the black identity that threaten their rights to basic needs. This project also serves as a tool to close the gap between people and their food, both physically and mentally, by creating a food producing, educational space. The Fannie Lou Garden will grow culturally relevant crops using agro-ecological methods that sustain the earth while providing a context for black students to learn about the importance of reclaiming land and farming practices. In addition, we plan to engage with the larger black community outside of UC Berkeley’s campus for shared resources, workdays, workshops, special events, and guest speakers.


Berkeley has a unique and exciting opportunity to advance sustainability in the next three years – through strategic assessment and planning; implementing measures to reach zero waste and advance carbon neutrality; and, to more widely institutionalize sustainable practices and understanding. This project adds two key graduate and undergraduate student leadership positions to the Office of Sustainability team, to help us reach the next level of campus sustainability by 2020, and beyond. This project will support funding for two years: the project will start in June 2018 and completed in 2020. Upcoming, the Office will be producing numerous sustainability plans (waste, water, transportation, and more) that will guide our direction for the next decade; piloting new zero waste efforts to reach zero waste by 2020; enhancing energy, green building, and climate initiatives to support carbon neutrality by 2025; and, powering-up community engagement and behavior change. The following describes the general responsibilities of these positions. 


The Zero Waste Research Center (ZWRC) at UC Berkeley has been working to create the first Plastics Recycling Research Facility at UC Berkeley over the past four years. This research facility, located at the Richmond Field Station, north of Berkeley, will process the University's plastic and recycling waste through proper collection, sorting, and redistribution. This project will allow for the UC Berkeley to expand recycling and reuse programs, reduce its carbon footprint, and create research and education opportunities for students and the community of Richmond. The team is working to incorporate 3-D printing into the project by reprocessing our plastic waste into 3-D printing filament. This project will be one of the first of its kind, and will greatly improve recycling efforts on university-wide and local levels. This project reduces the quantity of waste going to landfill from UC Berkeley by approximately 20-30%, as the University is unable to recycle #3-6 plastic. Student associates will work in the Plastics Recovery Research Facility sorting and processing plastic material, under the supervision of SERC and Cal Zero Waste staff. Once processing is finished, plastic pellet feedstock will be sent to business partners to use to make end products.


The People of Color sustainability campaign aims to facilitate sustainable and environmental justice education for POCTH residents and Berkeley Student Cooperative students of color. Targeted outreach will be led by a paid resident from POCTH who will facilitate conversations, coordinate workshops and conduct outreach. The campaign will host a series of eight workshops in Fall and Spring, four per semester, devoted to topics of: indigenous food systems and sovereignty, zero-waste and compost, urban agriculture, and decapitalizing your health. Activists, students and community leaders of color from campus and the greater bay community who are in environmental justice and sustainable movement, will be invited to facilitate a workshop and be compensated. The TGIF funds will cover the cost for the materials and supplies needed for: the facilitators’ honorariums, travel costs, catering for the workshops, and supplies, as well as materials needed for the workshops. The funding will cover the expenses required to improve the productivity of our own green spaces. This project promotes to connect movements of solidarity to environmental justice by practicing acts of sustainability and resistance in our own gardens.


This project aims to increase UC Berkeley students’ global citizen leadership through participation in International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) programs and cultivation of this citizenry on campus. The IARU, of which Berkeley is a member, was established as a platform for faculty, staff and students from the 11-member institutions to work together to address the major challenges of our time, including sustainability and environmental justice, both through academic programs and campus operations. The project supports three students’ experiences abroad in the summer of 2018 and their development as student leaders. One student will attend an international conference in Stockholm, Sweden in June 2018. The IARU Sustainability Group and the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) are co-hosting this conference on the role of universities in promoting critical research, teaching, learning, leadership development and public engagement with a focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Professor Um will be a speaker at the event and Stoll will be facilitating discussions. In July 2018 two students will attend the IARU Field Research Course in Thailand- Borderland: Critical Approaches to Field Research in The Global South, co-instructed by Professor Um. Themes that will be addressed in the course include: borders and boundaries; mobilities and immobilities; environment and natural resource management; human in/security and social justice. Following these summer programs the student participants, with guidance from the Project Leads and GSR, will plan and hold a six-hour teach-in and planning workshop at Berkeley in fall 2018. The teach-in will be open to all Berkeley students, and will focus on sharing the pertinent
and pressing issues discovered through the summer experiences abroad. Major outcomes of this event will be a plan for continuous learning and engagement by students in these international sustainability issues and IARU, developing new leaders, exploring the implementation of a DeCal.


Inspired by Patagonia's Worn Wear program and Bay Area Fixit Clinics, Cal Zero Waste, in partnership with UC Berkeley's student organization ReUSE, proposes to establish a Repair clinic housed in the ReUSE store located at Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union building beginning August 2018 for primarily UC Berkeley affiliated students, staff, and faculty. In compliance with the UC-wide Zero Waste by 2020 goal, this project aims to reduce the amount of textile waste accruing from clothing damage by hiring a team under CZW to operate the clinic and collaborate with campus entities to host pop up clinics on campus and in residential halls to teach the campus community how to repair common clothing issues while promoting reuse in support of the zero waste effort at UC Berkeley. There will be drop-in hours for the Repair Clinic at the store during the Clinic staff's work hours, where students and staff can drop off their damaged clothing for repairs and leave behind their contact information for later pick-up, or learn to repair their clothing themselves. Customers will be emailed and alerted with a pick up window when the repair is complete. Repairs that require more time, materials, or intensive work will be charged a small fee for extra time and supplies needed for the clinic. The Repair Clinic staff will also measure the weights of the clothing repairs to calculate the amount of textile waste diverted from the landfill. A Repair Clinic Coordinator and two Repair Clinic Staff will be hired in Summer 2018 to prepare for the launch of the Clinic at the beginning of the academic year. The end goal of this project is to have Clinic staff work closely with ReUSE to plan how the repair clinic can eventually be incorporated as a volunteer-run service offered by the ReUSE store through the training of ReUSE volunteers in the necessary repair and sewing skills. To ensure that the Repair Clinic can be preserved after the completion of this project, there will be training workshops to train volunteers and biweekly meetings between Cal Zero Waste, ReUSE, and the Repair Clinic Staff.


To continue the momentum of zero waste in Residence Halls after the bin system was implemented in 2015, the Residential Hall Education Program will aim to close the gap between our current progress and our zero waste goal. This project will develop an educational program to aid students in beginning to understand the basics of the zero waste. This program will focus not just on how to live a zero waste lifestyle, but also why it is important from a regional and global lens. Education at the start of students’ UC Berkeley experience will set the stage for successful results of the zero waste movement throughout campus as these students go into their subsequent years at Cal. As each class moves on to the rest of their time at UC Berkeley, they leave their first year with the knowledge of waste diversion and what it means to be zero waste. TGIF will be funding a team of students who are committed to this project and who will serve as liaisons between the infrastructural components put in place by the university and the student body.


University Village will remedy the mismatch in messaging around the Zero Waste goal and public waste infrastructure by using TGIF funds to replace single-bin trash cans in the Village’s public spaces with three-compartment Max-R bins. These bins, which have prominent visual signage for each compartment and thus have high collective visual impact, will serve as a launch point for renewed and sustained educational outreach to improve waste separation and diversion.


  Total: $308,771.88

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.