The Green Initiative Fund chose 19 projects this year to help make UCSB a more sustainable campus. A big thanks to the student population whose fees make the implementation of these projects possible, and to the TGIF committee for their dedication to this great program. See below for summaries of each project you can expect to see completed over the next academic year:
Improving Sustainability in Isla Vista Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force ($4,500)
Isla Vista Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force is an ongoing project that tests the water quality of Isla Vista’s beaches weekly for the presence of Enterococcus bacteria. Testing sites include the UCSB Campus Lagoon, Campus Point Beach, Depressions Beach, Pescadero Beach, Devereux Beach, and Sands Beach. Funding was awarded to transition from single-use plastic to glass testing materials. Specifically, the transition will include the purchase of glass pipettes, jars, and an autoclave system.
Reducing Energy Use and Sensory Overload on UCSB Campus ($17,950)
This project addresses the impact of human-sourced noise and light pollution and will simultaneously reduce campus energy use by reducing these sources of sensory overload. Excessive, glaring lighting impacts people and wildlife and weed control/vegetation management equipment noise impacts users such as neighbors and student housing residents. This project will address this by three means 1) purchase of battery powered (to be charged by solar panels) equipment for Cheadle Center Management of open spaces, 2) Intern team to work with us and Housing and FM/Energy team on identifying problematic lighting fixtures (free standing and on buildings) through day and night surveys of the campus areas adjacent to natural areas and use of secured drone photos, 3) Intern team to evaluate extent of issue for people and to educate people about dark sky work.
Surplus Sales Resale Catalog in Gateway Project ($20,600)
This project will provide the campus with a new resale interface for surplus property. The objective is to create a sales catalog for all UCSB property that is available for re-sale through the campus eProcurement platform, Gateway. The exposure to the campus community will reduce the campus carbon footprint by increasing the volume of property available for reuse and repurpose. The funding will be used to hire 2 to 3 students, part time, to set up an inventory system, and create a sales catalog that will be published in Gateway. The students will also work with our developers to create an automated surplus inventory system in ServiceNow.
Family Student Housing Swap Shop Restoration ($8,700)
This project will upgrade the current West Campus Swap Shop by refreshing and expanding the existing infrastructure. The Swap Shop is essentially a free thrift store for FSH (Family Student Housing) residents. The items are usually acquired from FSH residents when they no longer want something or are moving out. Money from this grant will provide upgrades to the West Campus Swap Shop and support 2 FSH residents as paid internships.
Capping the Cylinder: Securing a Green Nitrogen Supply ($10,000)
The Polymer Characterization Facility is one of the core research facilities in the MRL and is constantly expanding. A new differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) instrument was recently installed, and its operation requires both liquid nitrogen and compressed nitrogen gas. The compressed nitrogen is currently purchased in cylinders from Airgas in Ventura because the building does not offer house nitrogen. The new DSC will consume approximately 1-2 cylinders of nitrogen per week, depending on instrument usage. Funding will be used to install a nitrogen gas generator to operate two shared facility DSC instruments. The nitrogen gas generator employs membrane filtration to convert house air into nitrogen in a clean, electricity-free process. The nitrogen generator will eliminate the need to source out compressed gas from a company 36 miles away—thereby reducing overall operating costs and providing a greener alternative to compressed gas cylinders.
SNARL Dormitory Energy Efficiency ($14,895)
Funding was awarded to purchase and replace the old and leaky windows in the SNARL dormitory with new energy efficient windows (Energy Star certified, gas-filled, low-e coating and low U-factor). This project is estimated to result in a savings of 5,522 lbs. of CO2 per year.
Solar Array to Support Research and Education at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve ($2,775)
The UCSB Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve has purchased a prefabricated 8’ by 12’ Tuff Shed to serve as a Research and Education Station (“The Station”) in support of the Reserve’s research, university teaching, and public outreach mission. The Station will provide Reserve users, university classes and public groups, including local K-12 students and colleges from across the state, a small, but enclosed, weather-proof space for conducting field assessments, inputting and reviewing data, servicing small autonomous environmental sensors, and reviewing imagery collected by drones or wildlife cameras. We will install a 43” 4K flat panel monitor to provide the ability to display a range of educational content. The Reserve has no electrical service. Funding was awarded to purchase and install four 100W solar panels and associated infrastructure to power the Station, and to purchase and install a single bank of energy efficient LED lights, an electrical power inverter and a storage battery.
Sustainability Through Equipment Efficiency at Rancho Marino Reserve ($1,900)
Funding was awarded to upgrade the washer/dryer at Rancho Marino Reserve. This project will help to reduce the energy use at the Reserve by replacing outdated appliances with newer energy efficient models.
Water Stations for Education Building ($4,000)
Funding will be used to purchase and install a water filling station on the fourth floor of the Education Building.
El Centro Arnulfo Casillas (Building 406) Indigenous and Native Plants Garden ($10,000 Matching)
Matching funding will help support the creation of an indigenous and native vegetation garden, including drought-resistant plants, to form as an expansion of the outdoor space at El Centro.
Greening the Environment, Greening the Plate ($5,100)
The Uhuru Gardeners is a collective led by African graduate students at UCSB which emerged out of the numerous difficulties that faced here over the last couple of years, such as invisibility, food insecurity, impoverishment, alienating curriculum, erasure, and isolation, all problems that the COVID pandemic accentuated. In May of 2022, the Collective secured a garden plot at West Campus Family Student Housing. “We cleared the land, used organic compost from overgrown heaps dumped in the area to rework the hard clay; we spent many weekends and weekdays in late Spring and early Summer erecting structures partly out of our own pockets, then planted our first seed. We put in uncountable hours almost every weekend and some weekdays, and by end of August, we had established a garden that no one had ever seen in the locality, boasting of daily leafy vegetables, ipwa, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs and a variety of other crops (grant application).” TGIF awarded funding for 2 Graduate Student Gardening Fellowship, garden materials, and Master class with undergraduates and UCSB Health and Wellness Program (Mallory Rusell).
Kenneth S. Norris Rancho Marino Refrigerator Efficiency Project ($1,000)
Funding was awarded to replace a refrigerator/freezer at the reserve. The replacement of this appliance, which is over 20 years old, with a new Energy-Star model will help to maintain activities on the reserve and improve efficiency for the large number of visiting educational institutions and research teams
Rebuild of hot compost stalls at Storke Family Housing Community Garden ($1,000)
Funding was awarded to purchase materials to construct 3 replacement stalls at the Storke Family Student Housing (FSH) community garden hot compost site. The wood was rotting over time in 3 of the 4 stalls at Storke FSH and it is imperative to have access to a fully functional space in order to continue to divert the food waste. Additionally, the Department of Public Worms (DPW) plans to expand the volume of compost received at this site with the launch of the FSH Composting Project also funded by the TGIF grant in the 2021-2022 cycle.
Isla Vista Food Forest ($1,000)
Funding was awarded to create signage, both physical and online, that name plants at the IV food forest, their contribution to the local environment, and their potential uses for nourishment. This database will also serve as an educational tool and as a roadmap for expanding and replicating this in neighboring locations.
Environmental Justice Symposium ($500)
Funding was awarded for Honorariums for the fifth-annual Environmental Justice Symposium, a hybrid symposium in late May, 2023. This brings together Bren students, UCSB undergraduates, community activists, and participants from other universities to teach and learn about the importance of justice and equity in the environmental field.
Providing Fresh Water for Heavily Impacted Graduate Student Space ($2,770)
Funding will be used to provide a new water station to the Annexed building 434
Bat Garden at NCOS ($1,000)
The garden, which will be planted at the North Campus Open Space (NCOS), seeks to protect native populations of Bats. Native plants that specifically promote healthy habitats for local bats in the Isla Vista community such as the night blooming Oenothera Elata will be selected. Along with native plants, scannable QR codes on non disruptive signs will be placed at the garden. These codes will take scanners to the webpage being created on the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) website to provide information on this project to raise awareness and acknowledge collaborators and funders. The funding will be used to purchase the native plants and for part of the irrigation needed during the plants’ first year.
LEED Green Associate Exam Scholarship Fund (1,000)
The LEED Lab class (ES 194GB and ES 193GB) is guided by a LEED Accredited Professional, allowing students to learn and apply the LEED process through a collective hands-on effort throughout the school year. The course objective is to prepare students to take the LEED Green Associate exam, accrediting students in the field of green building and preparing them for careers in sustainable development. The funding will be used to offset the student cost of the LEED exam by $100.
TGIF Equipment Rebate Program (10,000)
This year’s committee has awarded $10,000 to the Equipment Rebate Program. The program offers $4,000 rebates (while funds last) to labs that recycle their old ULT freezers and buy an Energy Star model. The program also offers a rebate of up to $1000 for replacing old equipment (commercial refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers, etc.) with significantly more efficient models.