UCSB’s Green Initiative Fund awarded $172,932 in grants to 13 water and energy sustainability projects campus-wide, including reusable water bottle “hydration stations” and various solar-power fittings.
TGIF sifted through 18 initial applications before selecting 13 projects, providing $64,004 to solar power installations and upgrades at Bren Hall, the Cheadle Center for Biological and Ecological Restoration, the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory and the Sedgwick Reserve.
TGIF granted $25,000 for the energy retrofitting of Student Health, $22,250 for the installment of 22 new hydration stations, $17,000 for a new campus procurement system specializing in environmentally friendly purchasing, $16,325 to install water-conserving toilet valves and low-flush urinals at 10 campus locations and $11,218 toward a sustainability “dashboard” website that will display information on cross-campus water and energy use as well as the locations of ongoing TGIF projects alongside the main campus map.
Additionally, TGIF funded four other projects, which received no more than $1,000 each. The organization is predominantly led by undergraduate and graduate students and funds conservation and sustainability projects throughout the campus annually.
TGIF Sustainability Coordinator and Grants Manager Jasmine Syed said the group has a very thorough application process and strives to select groups or projects that seem most beneficial to the campus.
“We have eight voting members, six of [whom] are students. The committee evaluates proposals, checks that they all have a sponsoring department [and] discusses the merits of proposed projects and if they are feasible,” Syed said. “We make our selection based on how the committee feels about these considerations.”
According to Syed, the organization’s total provided funding has actually increased this year, in spite of ongoing cuts to other programs and organizations, due to its internal funding.
“We generally award $150,000, but this year we gave a bit more because of a funding reserve that we have been building up,” Syed said. “We try to allocate as much as we can every single year.”
As part of the energy retrofitting of Student Health, students, staff and faculty will work with the Facilities Management Department to use energy control systems in order to reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency.
According to Green Campus Intern and second-year environmental studies major Lauren Barnum, the hydration station project will install new spigots throughout Spring Quarter to encourage the use of reusable water bottles with filtered water. Barnum said Green Campus was working with the university to encourage this environmentally friendly usage.
“I think that most students have reusable water bottles — they aren’t too expensive and are such a good investment,” Barnum said. “We are also potentially going to try to work with housing to arrange for incoming freshmen to get reusable bottles when they move in.”