The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) is a lesser-known organization on campus that provides huge opportunities for students’ environmental activism.
Supported by a quarterly student lock-in fee, the Board has approximately $156,000 to allocate to projects that focus on campus sustainability.
According to Cassie Belden, third-year Psychology major and Environmental Affairs Board Representative for TGIF, these projects must be pursued on UCSB property and should aim to provide a tangible, sustainable addition to the campus community. Any student, staff, or faculty member may apply for funds, but the grants are strictly limited to members of the University community. Projects must also contain an educational element.
“TGIF was founded in 2006 by a combination of graduate and undergraduate students looking for a creative way to improve the campus’s environmental impact,” said TGIF advisor Mo Lovegreen.
Currently, the Board has six voting members comprised of four undergraduates, two graduate students, one administrative and one faculty representative. Members meet a few times in fall quarter and almost weekly during winter quarter because proposals for grants are due in February.
A multitude of students and organizations apply for grants each winter, spawning innovative and tangible changes on campus. Projects funded in the prior school year ranged from a retrofit of Harder Stadium’s bathrooms to include more energy efficient appliances to the implementation of exercise equipment in the Recreation Center that helps generate energy for the building.
Lovegreen expressed immense enthusiasm for the students’ commitments to sustainability.
“Each year the competition is greater and the proposals continue to address new challenges,” she said.
Lovegreen said that many projects have been successful beyond their initial phases. One such project was the Campus Sustainability Champion during the 2008-2009 funding cycle, which called for a paid faculty position to increase environmental awareness among the academic community. Lovegreen noted that there is now a second champion in place and a call for Chancellor Sustainability Interns.
Evanne St. Charles, fourth-year Art History and Geography double major, applied for a TGIF grant in the past. As a student leader of the Program for the Assessment and Certification for the Environment and Sustainability (P.A.C.E.S.), a joint effort between Associated Students Recycling and the University Sustainability Committee, she helped apply for a multiple waste audit grant in 2009-2010. St. Charles said that P.A.C.E.S. applied for about $14,500 and received $10,200.
“The project allowed a local, private waste audit company to run ten waste audits across campus with the help of student volunteers, and also entailed an educational component,” she said.
St. Charles highly recommends TGIF to other students.
“TGIF is a great resource for students who have innovative ideas and solutions to issues around sustainability because it allows students to get involved and receive funding for projects that would otherwise not be possible,” she said.
Any student, staff, or faculty member can submit a proposal to the board for funding.
This year, the application deadline is Friday, February 11. The process involves a written application as well as a presentation to the Board. Last year, 13 out of 27 projects were funded, totaling $160,500.
For more information on how to apply, visit http://sustainability.ucsb.edu/tgif/