Campus Sustainability

Funded Projects

Graduate Assembly Environmental Sustainbility Conference

Project Leads: Jonathan Morris, Brandon Wood 

Sponsor: ​Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

TGIF Grant: $10,350
Project Theme: Education & Behavioral Change
Project Location: TBD
Status: In Progress
Project Description: 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.

Project Goals:
  1. The first overall goal of this project is to conduct a one-day conference that will consist of a variety of speakers, workshops, networking opportunities, and an exposition. Workshop topics are envisioned to include topics such as strategies for lobbying, securing grant funding, organizational development, communicating and messaging, commercializing technologies, and current environmental protection law and policy. Finally, the conference will conclude with an exhibition to help convey scientific information about the environment and sustainability initiatives, policies, and technologies to a broader audience that might not otherwiseconsider themselves interested in sustainability.
  2. Although this proposal is for a single year, the second overall goal of this project is to develop the institutional knowledge required to deliver long-term, year-round environmental sustainability programming to graduate students. Environmental sustainability is an interdisciplinary task, comprising of science, technology, policy, business, law, and the humanities. However, opportunities engaging environmental sustainability in a cross disciplinary manner are lacking. Ensuring collaborative efforts in environmental sustainability will allow graduate students to understand the multifaceted problem of making the campus and the larger community move toward environmentally sustainable patterns. 


Project Lead: Anna Yip & Valerie Yong

Sponsor: The Student Environmental Resource Center 
TGIF Grant: $35,246
Project Theme: Waste Diversion and Reduction
Project Location: Richmond Bay Global Campus
Status: In Progress
Project Description: 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.

  1. Begin processing some of campus's own organic waste in-house
  2. Improve campus's knowledge and understanding of their organic waste stream
  3. Develop outreach and educational programs with Richmond community farms and school

Reducing BearWALK Wait Times and Fuel Emissions

Project Lead: Wade MacAdam

Sponsor: UCPD Business Services Unit, ASUC Senator Filart, GA President Hazelwood-Carter, & GA-CAVP Vivid 

TGIF Grant: $2,190
Project Theme: Transportation and Urban Development
Project Location: UC Berkeley Campus
Status: In Progress
Project Description: 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.

  1. Provide a quicker mode of transportation over foot to reduce wait times
  2. Reduce fuel consumption and BearWalk emissions

Sustainable Menstrual Products for the Cal Community

Project Lead: Rosa Kwak & Xander Paul

Sponsor: The LEAD Center 
TGIF Grant: $2,049
Project Theme: Waste Diversion and Reduction
Project Location: MCC, GenEq, and the Food Pantry
Status: In Progress

Project Description: 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.


  1. Promote an understanding of the environmental impacts of using menstrual products and how this use affects a menstruating person's waste footprint
  2. Combat the stigma against menstruation and ease the financial burden that inherently comes with menstruating
  3. Institutionalize the distribution of sustainable menstrual products on campus. 

Rainwater Harvesting Program

Project Lead: Chia-Yun (Jocelyn) Tsai

Sponsor: UC Berkeley Real Estate, Construction, and Design Department
TGIF Grant: $24,076
Project Theme: Water Conservation
Project Location: Hearst Field Annex
Status: In Progress
Project Description: 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.

  1. Reduce potable water use for irrigation
  2. Localize water source
  3. Decrease storm water runoff that carries unfiltered pollutants into Strawberry Creek
  4. Promote the concept of rainwater harvesting and water conservation
  5. Allow for groundwater recharge.

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.