After a lengthy delay, The Green Initiative Fund is accepting proposals for potential sustainable projects on campus, ranging from increased ways of using renewable energy to educational programs.
Students, faculty and staff must submit their ideas to the TGIF website — http://geog.ucsb.edu/sustainability/tgif/ — by May 21 at 5 p.m. if they wish their projects to be considered for this first round of funding.
The fund was created after the TGIF $2.60 per quarter student lock-in fee passed in the Spring 2006 election with the support of nearly 75 percent of voting undergraduates and 82 percent of graduate students.
Last spring, campaign organizers promised that the fund would allocate money to “environmentally friendly projects” on campus, leading to a cleaner environment as well as lower student fees; by reducing the amount of nonrenewable energy on campus, and thus the energy bill, supporters claimed University of California tuition rates would eventually go down.
TGIF volunteers, who run the entire program, have been working since last spring to organize the associated bureaucracy and smooth out the kinks, said Marie-Claire Munnelly, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management representative.
“We had to create the entire framework of how TGIF would really operate,” Munnelly said. “We also wanted to create enough content for the website, and a website that was easily navigable so students applying for the first time would have enough resources to be confident in their application.”
TGIF will put between $130,000 to $150,000 toward the different projects in this first round, Munnelly said. The money has accumulated from the TGIF lock-in fee since last fall. In the future, TGIF will have about $180,000 a year in addition to any other funds it raises to spend, she said.
Munnelly said the TGIF Student-Majority Grant Making Committee would vote on each proposal by considering social and environmental impact, student involvement, testability and cost.
Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board representative and TGIF Chair Nina Salvador said the group currently seeks to improve existing environmental projects on campus and introduce new plans of action.
“The university does a lot for sustainability already,” Salvador, a third-year environmental studies major, said. “We want to make sure there is room for innovation. [We want] to push the limits and go above and beyond what is already happening,”
TGIF was modeled after a similar project at Harvard called The Harvard Green Campus Loan Fund. UC Berkeley adopted a similar plan itself this year, Salvador said.
“I think TGIF really shows that if [the students] want something to happen here at UCSB, we have the power to do something about it,” Munnelly said. “The projects that will be done here are also things that can be done out in the real world, which I think is so important as a student and citizen.”