2017 Mini-Grant Winners 

Project Title

Project Description

TGIF Award

EH&S Bicycle Program

The Office of Environment, Health & Safety initiated a departmental fleet bike program over ten year ago for our 70+ staff to have access to bicycles while at work. The program has been generally successful, with a number of staff using the bikes. Over time, we have realized that the bikes needs to be replaced with newer models with better gearing for hilly terrain, and a size and configuration what works better for more office staff. This grant will allow us to purchase new equipment to enhance our fleet bike program and provide incentives, such as helmets, for office staff. Implementation of this project will reduce reliance on office fleet vehicles, and potentially, allow our office to downsize the number of motor vehicles in its fleet.


Environmental Action Network

The goal of this project is to create a political action alert platform. The ASUC Eco Senate office will send out customized action alerts to people who have signed up for our political advocacy program. When people sign up, they give us their physical address. Every week, we will have an environmental bill we want people to call or contact their representative about. We will send general information about the bill to everyone, but we want a software that will integrate personalized elected representative information into the emails we send out.


Herbicide Free Cal

The overall goal of this campaign is to greatly reduce/stop the use of carcinogenic herbicides on the UC Berkeley campus. This will be done through a awareness campaign to hopefully inspire public discussion around the hidden dangers of herbicides. In addition, members of the campaign team will be working with grounds keeping staff and student groups to come up with the best possible alternative solutions to spraying herbicides. 


Latinxs and the Environment Campus Resource Fair  

Latinxs and the Environment hopes to address pressing issues related to Latinxs and how they are impacted by environmental factors, including but not limited to climate change change, urban and rural pollution, participation in the green labor market, education for Latinos interested in the environment and STEM fields, and water quality and quantity. The event will highlight a cohesive and comprehensive approach to the topic of how Latinxs and Latinxs students in particular relate to the environment via research, working groups and outreach. Thus, the main approach to start this awareness is by having a Latinxs and the Environment Resource Fair to provide a platform for students, student organizations and organizations outside of campus to build connections with each other regarding the collective issues faced by Latinxs. Students will learn how to be involved in research, advocacy work, and environmental careers related to Latinxs. 


Passive Solar Greenhouse

This project aims to reduce material inputs, energy costs, and GHG emissions of UC Berkeley’s sustainable food production by constructing a passive solar greenhouse at the UC Gill Tract Community Farm. Constructed out of local, salvaged, or recycled materials, the greenhouse will be used to house the farm’s vegetable starts and provide needed nursery infrastructure on-site. It will help Farm Management provide educational programming on seeding, crop planning, nursery practices, and more. Once built, the greenhouse will require no energy inputs other than sunlight. A coalition of students and community partners will weigh in on the design and implementation of the structure, which will help the Gill Tract continue its project of feeding food insecure communities through urban agriculture.


Reusable Ware for ESPM

​In the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM), it can be taken as a given that members care about living wisely, with landscapes wildlife, and natural resources in mind. When the department gathers for seminars, for special events, for happy hours, coffees, or finishing talks, all would appreciate that the department's collective behavior represents these deeply held values. Now, the installation of a dish washer in the remodeled wing of one of ESPM's buildings enables the ditching of disposables at all departmental events! This TGIF mini grant project will purchase a set of reusable dishes, glasses, and cutlery, so that the events of the department and all affiliated student organizations can stop producing bags of discarded, single-use paper, plastic, and polystyrene. This transition should tangibly affect the culture experienced and shared with all event attendees.  


Smyth-Fernwald Soil Testing for Community Engaged Land Usage Planning

The Smyth-Fernwald grant is a first step in establishing a community-engaged “fertile ground” in a 4.5-acre tract of University land with a history of fires, erosion, seismic risks, and possible environmental contamination. The grant project will assess the ecological health of the site through soil testing to determine what remediation efforts and soil amendments are needed to ensure safety and soil quality. Soil testing is a component of a larger goal for community engagement around the Smyth-Fernwald Tract: The effort will continue through meetings with nearby groups of neighbors, students, educators and others to draft a proposal to the campus administration for land use. The grant will result in a replicable model for use at other sites that includes consistent consultation with community members, reduced safety risk, improved ecological and public health, increased biodiversity, and future food production.


Sustainably Remediating UCB Soils

Decades of industrial activity have left a legacy of soil pollution in urban areas, including at UC Berkeley. A prime example of polluted, yet environmentally sensitive, land is UC Berkeley’s Richmond Field Station (RFS). The soil at RFS is contaminated with high concentrations of arsenic from chemical processing waste. Traditional soil remediation methods to clean up contamination depend on disruptive excavation, where soil is removed, transported off-site, and landfilled. We use plant-based remediation, a sustainable alternative to soil excavation, to remediate RFS soils. Specifically, we use a fern, Pteris vittata, to remove arsenic from soil, a method known as phytoextraction. Our project will sustainably restore the native ecosystem, reduce waste and air pollution associated with traditional soil remediation practices, and sequester carbon.


UC Mobility Cooperative

Several studies have shown that car sharing reduces the environmental impact of transportation by decreasing the total number of vehicles and increasing use of alternative travel modes such as public transit. Given that most privately-owned vehicles are only used about 5% of the time, it also makes common sense. But despite rapid growth in recent years, car sharing has failed to become a primary mode of transportation, and remains more expensive than car ownership in most cases. In order to become economical and mainstream, car sharing will need to replace ownership entirely, which means the sharing system must affordably serve all of a car owner’s transportation needs, from daily commuting to long road trips. The goal of the UC Mobility Cooperative is to leverage pre-existing social networks to reduce many of the barriers associated with car sharing, and launch a sharing platform that can provide the same flexibility and convenience as private vehicle ownership with lower cost and carbon footprint.


Video: How Cal Will Achieve Zero Waste by 2020

UC Berkeley has an ambitious goal of achieving zero landfill waste by the year 2020. However, the current diversion rate is 54%. In an effort to accelerate this process and establish a zero-waste culture on our campus, Berkeley Haas has recently opened Connie and Kevin Chou Hall as a completely zero waste building. Although Cal students want to make sustainable decisions, not every student understands the transformational impact that upstream waste solutions can have on a community. Our Zero Waste at Chou Hall video will mitigate this problem by providing information and inspiration to students so that they have the power to make decisions to reduce landfill waste. It will emphasize the behavioral shift that users must showcase for a building to become zero waste certified, therefore also underlining the importance of rethinking ‘waste’ to foster new norms of reuse and recycling innovation on campus. By sharing our campus efforts of waste auditing, pack-in- pack-out programs, building design strategies, and more to solidify Chou Hall’s significance of being a zero waste building, this video will serve to fill the essential gap between our campus zero waste goals and their students’ realization of what it takes to accomplish those goals.





2016 Mini-Grant Winners 

Project Title Project Description TGIF Award
Enhancing the Social Space of Strawberry Creek This project would take place in the area around the Carillon Road bridge directly west of Stephens Hall. It provides three main services to campus. The environmental service involves stabilizing the North slopes of the area and replacing invasive plants with natives that are more authentic to the Redwood understory setting. Since the slopes around the bridge are steep, dense plant cover needs to be maintained to provide slope stabilization and discourage visitors from trying to walk to the stream. The second service is enhancement of the social component of the creek by creating a more welcoming and visually stimulating area around existing structures for sitting. The third service is to provide an outdoor educational space for Berkeley students and those who visit the creek by installing a few signs. These signs would inform users of the history of Strawberry Creek and the plant species used in the rehabilitation. The process of implementing the plan would also give students in the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning department real design-build experience while creating a greater sense of community and highlighting Strawberry Creek as an asset to student wellbeing on campus. $2,000
Greek Recycling at Berkeley Greek Recycling at Berkeley (GRAB) is dedicated to taking on a huge source of waste in our city: the fraternities. The city of Berkeley refuses to collect the recycling from fraternities, so these students have decided to take on the task themselves. The fraternities at Cal throw away an estimated 9000 cans and bottles per week because they simply have had no other choice, until now. Armed with large blue recycling bins, homemade lids, and U-Haul moving vans, GRAB hopes to work together with the Greek system to work toward zero waste. $1,982
Multicultural Community Center (MCC) Healing and Learning Garden, Phase I The MCC Healing and Learning Garden (MCCHLG) project aims to transform the underused patio area on the north side of the MCC (located inside MLK, Jr. Student Union) with accessible raised bed planter boxes. They will plant herbal and edible cultivars that the multicultural community, students, and staff can use for stress reduction from everyday events, anxieties, and to improve their overall sense of well-being on campus. Additionally, the MCCHLG aims to grow produce that student gardeners and community members can use to increase their food security. $2,000
Rain Garden for the Grinnell Natural Area When water flows down impervious surfaces such as pavements and parking lots, various urban pollutants accumulate and wash into the water table. The Low Impact Development (LID) approach tackles this problem by adopting the site’s natural hydrology to control the stormwater at the source. As an LID design structure, a rain garden consists of trenches, berms, swales and curb openings that channel the rainwater into its basin. The captured water percolates, taken up by the plants of the garden which break down and remove the pollutants. Controlling the quality and volume of stormwater runoff conserves the local water resource and prevents the erosion of the surrounding infrastructure. Building a rain garden in the Grinnell Natural Area protects the Strawberry Creek – the central waterway of the campus. $1,986
These Come From Trees This project involves putting stickers on paper towel dispensers all over campus (in classroom buildings, in the residence halls and in fraternities and sororities) to remind students that they come from trees. Moreover, paper towels are a huge source of water waste, water pollution, and carbon emissions. $503
UCB 3D Printer Reclamation We plan to incorporate various 3D printing projects regarding the recycling of plastics in order to provide educational opportunities for students in Richmond and at UC Berkeley. In conjunction with the Design Engineering Collaborative, the campus’s 3D printing community will become zero waste with the incorporation of failed prints as the source of filament for 3D printed projects. This project will happen at UC Berkeley in efforts to reduce the current waste created by the otherwise innovative technology, and will involve a simple and organized collection and redistribution process. We are also working with Green Labs, College of Engineering and the College of Environmental Design in redistribution of plastics, as many scholars want the material for research needs. Finally, we plan to work in conjunction with the Richmond High School and provide educational opportunities for high school students. $2,000
Campus Bike Infrastructure Inventory Campus bike parking is currently at or near capacity during most days during the academic year, and access to bike parking is a critical need for encouraging more people to bike commute to campus. The goal of this grant is to update the campus bike parking inventory to reflect current bike parking conditions. This data collection will help identify areas that currently lack bike parking, areas with over-subscribed conditions, and support the campus’ efforts to document and improve its bike friendly university status. Immediately, the data can be used by Parking & Transportation’s website to inform people about bike parking locations. The bike committee also hopes to partner with Parking & Transportation and Real Estate to update the campus bike plan and construct new bike parking. $2,000
  TOTAL $12,471

2015 Mini-Grant Winners

Project Title Project Description TGIF Award
Anaerobic Digester Project The goal of this project is to simultaneously reduce food waste output and promote the use of clean alternative fuels in everyday life. This will be accomplished by the implementation of a student design for an anaerobic digester in a Berkeley living space, a device that will effectively recycle organic waste and produce methane to be used as a fuel onsite. As urban populations continue to increase, it has become pivotal to develop sustainable methods of processing waste locally. Both the amount of waste processed by the digester and the energy it produces will be monitored to qualitatively determine it's environmental and economic impacts. Addition of the digester to a living space will help in heightening awareness of the issues of food waste and the growing potential of alternative energy technology, ultimately resulting in a more forward thinking, environmentally responsible community.  $1,256.50
Blake Garden Adaptive Restoration Project UC Berkeley’s Landscape Architecture Water Savvy Garden Design class is working on a design/build adaptive restoration project sited within Blake Garden – a design and research laboratory for students, open to the public, and owned and operated by the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. The installation will include two separate components based on student-generated design and research: (1) slope-stabilization using sustainable methods and (2) a viewing platform made of locally-sourced materials, providing an inspiring view of the Bay. The primary slope stabilization technique will use hardy California native plants, many of which are pollinators providing major habitat value, and will have low water needs. Not only will this project focus on sustainable ecology and stewardship of the land, but it will also emphasize the poetic beauty of nature, itself. $2,000
Strawberry Creek Planting Resilience Project The goal of this project is to reduce the mortality rate of Strawberry Creek restoration plantings and increase awareness of creek restoration activities through the use of a plant protection system called Combi-guards.  This system uses a biodegradable mat in conjunction with a recyclable plastic sleeve to help seedlings overcome many of the disturbances and barriers to survival that urban plants face including herbivory, wind, trampling, and desiccation.  Increasing survival rates will decrease the economic and social costs plaguing campus creek restoration.  Together with increased visibility of restoration efforts, this project will fortify the long-term sustainability of Strawberry Creek riparian vegetation restoration. $1,475
  TOTAL $4,731.50

2014 Mini-Grant Winners

Project Title Project Description TGIF Award
CalSoChill Prototype  CalSoChill will provide a functional off-grid mobile solar charging station for students to charge their electronics outdoors, encouraging students to spend more time outside. Its prototype serves to represent CalSoChill in a smaller and more affordable scale, while still maintaining the main purpose of the project: providing electricity outlets outside by using solar power. $525.00
Green Hand Dryers A life cycle assessment (LCA) will compare paper towels versus hand dryers in the dorms. Economics, waste generation, and carbon emissions will all be looked at in the LCA. First, data will be collected involving the current number of times people in the dorms dry their hands. The total cost of paper towel usage will be calculated. Then, based on the number times hands are dried, the cost of hand dryers will be found including both electricity and installation. The environmental impact will be compared as well, taking into account every step in paper towel and hand dryer manufacture, electricity, transportation, and composting. Sustainable Minds software will be used in the LCA, and the TGIF grant will be used to purchase this software. $500.00 
Oxford Tract Community Farm Air Quality Research The overall goal of the project is to investigate the extent to which urban farms can reduce air pollution in order to promote the implementation of urban farms locally and nationally. In addition, this project will aim to address public health concerns in respect to air pollution and the potential absorption of air pollutants in urban agriculture. As sustainable communities and urban agriculture grow in popularity, the issue of soil and air contamination becomes progressively more important. This issue will be investigated by monitoring and tracking pollution levels at the oxford tract, a plant research station near the UC Berkeley Campus, with hopes to expand to urban farms in Oakland, CA. Comprehensive data analysis as well as real time air quality warnings for local residents will be published. $1,992.00
Russell Tree Farm Restoration The Russell Tree Farm Restoration project will improve education opportunities and increase research access for undergraduate and graduate level students at UC Berkeley. Improving site conditions will increase classroom opportunities and expand areas available for research use. Restoration efforts will also promote ecosystem resilience of UC Russell Tree Farm property in the face of ongoing climate change and drought conditions. $2,000.00
Soil Remediation Education  The Student Organic Gardening Association will create an educational program and curriculum that details the processes behind remediating contaminated soil. This curriculum will be implemented in workshops and during the spring 2014 DeCal ‘Intro to Organic Gardening’. $2,000.00
Sustainable Algae Bioreactor The Sustainable Algae Bioreactor Project will construct an environmentally-friendly and functioning algae biofuel reactor on the UC Berkeley campus to both promote and encourage the overall implementation of renewable energy to the student body. In the process, this project will be producing a workable biofuel to be put into use in campus fuel systems or sold and donated to fund future sustainability projects.  $1,700.00
Sustainable Concrete Canoe The Cal Concrete Canoe team seeks to design, create and compete with a concrete canoe that promotes sustainability through the use of more green materials than have been typically used by previous competitors. Through the education of new members and presentation at competition, the team seeks to encourage future teams to develop more sustainable designs for years to come. For information how you can join the project, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. $2,000.00
WattTime The UC Berkeley Energy Office, WattTime, and CITRIS will collaborate to pilot a new method of reducing the carbon emissions due to electricity use by neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). $2,000.00
  TOTAL $12,717.00

November 2013 Mini-Grant Winners

Project Title Project Description TGIF Award
BSFC Operational Sustainability Intern Funding requested for a paid student intern within the Collective who will synthesize store-related data gathered by already-funded interns (and volunteer members) into concrete ways in which the Food Collective can increase its capacity to customers. $2,000
BSFC Produce Refrigerator (LOAN) This proposal requests $2,000 to contribute to the purchase of a 6-foot self-contained open product produce refrigerator. The loan will be paid back in 10 months. $2,000 (LOAN)
Coastal Prairie Restoration and Commemoration Funding requested to complete two restoration projects that seek to restore California native plant species and habitat through the collaboration of UC Berkeley students and local community volunteers. The projects will take place in the Grinnell Natural Area and near the West Oval Glade. $1,500
College of Chemistry Chemical Reuse Facility Expansion Funding requested for a paid student intern to assist with the implementation of a College of Chemistry reuse program for lecture bottle‐size compressed gases. $2,000
Community: A Garden Project Funding requested to transform an unused garden space at Clark Kerr Campus into  a sustainable community garden which the residents of Clark Kerr can use both as a recreational space and as an organized garden to grow their own vegetables. $1,200
Designated Reuse Bins Funding requested for the purchase of six industrial bins on wheels to be used for reuse/move-out campus projects. $1,966.56
Food Bikery Prototype Prototype a licensable food bike that can be used by the Food Collective as the prototype model for the Food Bikery - a cooperative of food bikes that can be used as legal foodservice platforms in the Bay Area. $2,000
Fostering Community: Clark Kerr Lawns to Meadows Funding requested to convert an underused lawn on Clark Kerr campus into a more student-friendly area with native drought-resistant plants, modeled after the TGIF funded Lawns to Meadows project. $2,000
Install Recycling Bins at Clark Kerr Dorm Rooms Funding requested to install recycling bins in 327 residence hall rooms at Clark Kerr. $1,700
Ohlone Ethnobotany Garden The Ohlone Ethnobotany Garden project aims to work with the Ohlone community to create a gathering space in an area upland of Strawberry Creek within the Grinnell Natural Area of the UC Berkeley central campus that will also serve as an educational resource regarding the Ohlone community’s indigenous land management practices and uses of native plants. $800
Stop Waste in Sororities Funding is requested to close the gap in the recycling and composting bins needed throughout the Cal Greek Sororities.  $1,103.32
  TOTAL $16,269.88 in grants
$2,000 loan 


 October 1, 2013 Mini-Grant Winners

Project Name Project Description TGIF Award
Blake Garden ADA Path with Native Plant Garden and Viewshed Blake Garden is currently building an ADA accessible path connecting the event lawn to a new handicap-accessible bathroom in the education center in hopes to expand equal opportunities for environmental education and direct experiences with nature. UC Berkeley landscape design students will use the TGIF funding to purchase native plants to plant a native and drought tolerant habitat around the path. $1,500
LED Lighting Retrofit for the C.V. Starr - East Asian Library As part of an energy-efficient equipment upgrade strategy in the C.V. Starr – East Asian Library, the project leader will replace incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. $600
Local Composting Efforts at Pi Kappa Alpha Pi Kappa Alpha will purchase two compost tumblers to create organic material and use the compost primarily to regenerate top soil and invigorate vegetation at the fraternity's property. $546.56
Student Organic Garden Education Fund The TGIF Mini Grant will enable the facilitators of the Intro to Organic Gardening DeCal to provide students with a more complete garden education that they can use to further their own involvement in urban agriculture. $1,996.46
  TOTAL $4,643.02


November 19, 2012 Mini-Grant Winners

Project Name Project Description TGIF Award
Campus Sustainability Photos and Video for UC Berkeley's Public Affairs Digital Gallery Grant funding is requested to 1. create (at minimum) 30 new high-quality still images and up to 10 new video-clips which will showcase the breadth and depth of campus sustainability in action, and 2. synthesize the selected images and footage into one, short finished multi-media piece. Funding will cover media equipment rental costs and the student interns' hours. $1,000
Composting at Blake Garden Grant funding is requested to purchase materials for building compost bins at Blake Garden to mix compost on-site (reduction in transport emissions and increase in reuse of green waste) and prevent worker injuries. $760
Fight the Flow, Phase II Grant funding is requested to supply low flow, UZLow showerheads to residence halls as well as to family housing in University Village. Of the 974 families living in University Village, 50 will be participating in a pilot project in introducing these showerheads.This will be a continuation of the TGIF Fight the Flow project from 2011, and this new grant will cover showerhead and marketing costs for both Unit 2 and University Village. $2,000
Greening the Berkeley Science Review, Phase II Grant funding is requested to cover the additional cost of printing the spring 2013 issue of the magazine on recycled paper and to hire a spring student intern to assist with web-development of publishing online content. $2,000
Sustainable Laundry at University Village Grant funding is requested to purchase 50 drying racks to implement a sustainable laundry campaign with the Green Family Network pilot program. Grant funding will also pay for educational materials and a student intern. $1,851.50
Sustainable Water Infrastructure Campus Tours Grant funding is requested to create a book and online tour with new material about sustainable water infrastructure on campus, innovative design features that treat and/or detain runoff, and campus ecological restoration projects that maintain creek water quality as well as provide habitat for native plants and animals on campus. $1,268.50
Trash to Treasure Grant funding is requested to collaborate with ReUSE in the creation of a DIY Book aimed at reducing waste. The book would provide creative ideas for reusing materials and be publicized to students.  $880
  TOTAL $9,760


October 1st, 2012 Mini-Grant Winners

Project Name Project Description TGIF Award
Break the Mode, Phase II Funding is requested to hire three student interns to assist with Break the Mode outreach and education events and plans during spring 2013, a continuance of the fall 2012 Break the Mode project. $1,800
Campus Bike Plan Update Funding requested to two student interns to provide an implementation update of the 2005 Campus Bicycle Plan (CBP). The student interns will review the 2005 CBP, then update the implementation and achievement of its goals, and describe the status of bicycle commuting and circulation on campus, including a consensus-based goal setting exercise. $2,000
Multi-Family Housing Sustainability Retrofit Documentation Grant funding will be used to hire a student to produce supplementary video and still photography documentation of the City of Berkeley Climate Coalition Multi-Family Working Group's (MFWG) pilot multi-family housing energy retrofit program. The video and photo documentation of the process will be edited and compiled into an efficient but thorough step-by-step instructional tool for multi-family home retrofits- many UC Berkeley students live in multi-family homes in the city of Berkeley. $850
Reusable Sharps Container Pilot Project Funding is requested for containers and a student intern to transition campus labs from the use of disposable sharps containers to reusable sharps containers. $1,925
Strawberry Creek Water Quality Probe This grant will be supplemented by funding from EH&S and allow the Strawberry Creek Restoration Team to purchase a water quality probe that will assist with sediment and erosion research along Strawberry Creek. $1,190
  TOTAL $7,765


Coming Soon! 

Coming Soon!

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.