Student Internships for Jump-Starting the Office of Sustainability

Project Leads: Lisa McNeilly, Merrian Fuller, Lisa Mauro, & Kira Stoll

Sponsor:Office of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability Logo
TGIF Grant: $15,000

Project Theme: Education & Behavior Change

Project Location

2008 Application Submission

Status: Complete

Project Description: The UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability was formally launched in January 2008. This TGIF grant supported three student intern positions to focus on issues of sustainability in purchasing, metrics and transparency, and student involvement at UC Berkeley.

Goals: Develop a Green Purchasing Action Plan with metrics and concrete goals for purchasing sustainably. Focus on Sustainability Research and Assessment by collecting data for a campus sustainability plan and sustainability assessment update. Create a Campus Forum for Sustainability by developing tools for improved student group coordination and by coordinating website development for the Office of Sustainability. Assist in the general growth and development of the Office of Sustainability and assist UC Berkeley in reaching its Cal-CAP goals. Measure and record the reduction in carbon emissions from campus purchases that use the Green Purchasing Action Plan.

TGIF Blog Posts about the Office of Sustainability

2008-2009 Accomplishments and Final Results
The grant awarded to the Office of Sustainability supported three student intern positions to implement various sustainability activities in three areas: purchasing, metrics and reporting, and student involvement. In student involvement, students created publicity content and coordinated four well-attended campus forums throughout the year to increase collaboration and communication among campus entities as well as introduce new students to the resources on campus. The 2008 Campus Sustainability Assessment was released in October 2008 and the student working on metrics and reporting was listed as the primary author; the report provides accurate, transparent data for campus benchmarking and goal-setting and will continue to be updated annually. The purchasing intern has drafted guidelines for green purchasing which will be finalized over the next few months. Although the benefits of the metrics/reporting and student involvement interns is largely qualitative, the work of these students is expected to increase efficiency of students and staff working on campus. The development of the green purchasing policy and guidelines was estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 1,340 tons, and the environmental impact will continue to be monitored as implemented.

There was significant publicity for the 2008 Campus Sustainability Assessment, including a Berkeleyan article. The TGIF funding was included in the Acknowledgements page of the Assessment. The Assessment was also publicized in an Office newsletter.  

Student Involvement: The Campus Forums were widely advertised, and newsletter articles described the events. The newsletter articles can be found at:

  3. (includes photos) 

Additional outreach was conducted done via the Office of Sustainability webpage: 

Final Report

May 09 Sustainability Forum

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.