Promoting Student Engagement and Leadership on Sustainability: The Role and Relevance of Universities in The UN Sustainable Development Goals, Globalization, and The Environment

Project Leads: Kira Stoll & Khatharya Um

Sponsor: Office of Sustainability (OS); Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Department 

TGIF Grant: $11,250.00

Project Theme: Environmental Justice

Project Location

2018 Application Submission

Status: In Progress

Project Description: 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.


  • Better understand best practices and strategies from other countries and institutions that can inform continued engagement on critical issues both on and beyond the Berkeley campus.
  • Increase UC Berkeley students’ global citizen leadership in sustainability and environmental justice
  • Offer the campus new opportunities to define more expansive objectives and metrics around service learning, meaningful connection between sustainability in academics and sustainability in operations, and environmental justice at home and abroad.

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.