Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 78.50
Liaison Kira Stoll
Submission Date Aug. 16, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Berkeley
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
4.00 / 4.00 Jack Chang
STARS Assessment Fellow (ERG)
Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

Carbon Neutrality Initiative
The University of California Office of the President has launched a Carbon Neutrality Initiative pledging to make the university system carbon neutral by 2025. The university system launched the initiative by assembling a Global Climate Leadership Council bringing together top researchers across the system to propose concrete steps to reaching carbon neutrality on UC campuses. The system has also created a Carbon Neutral Initiative Student Fellowship Program supporting research advancing the university system's carbon neutrality goals.

https://sustainability.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/uc_berkeley_2025carbonneutralityplanningframework_2016.pdf

CalCAP
The Cal Climate Action Partnership (CalCAP) is a collaboration of faculty, administration, staff and students working to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and achieve carbon neutrality at UC Berkeley. In 2007, the initial work of CalCAP led then-Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to commit the campus to its first greenhouse gas emissions reduction target: to reduce GHG emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2014. Berkeley met this target in 2012, two years ahead of schedule and eight years ahead of UC Policy requirements and State of California goals. CalCAP is now working to achieve the UC systemwide goal of being carbon neutral from building energy use and from the fleet by 2025 - for Berkeley this will mean reducing our emissions by 80% in the coming decade. The Office of Sustainability and Energy coordinates CalCAP planning and reporting activities in consultation with the CalCAP Steering Committee and many campus faculty, staff and students engaged in climate initiatives.

https://sustainability.berkeley.edu/calcap-about

Cool Campus Challenge
In the fall of 2017, students, staff and faculty across the UC system took action in the Cool Campus Challenge (CCC) to reduce their carbon footprint in response to the pressing global issues of climate disruption and to help UC meet its commitment to be carbon neutral by 2025. The Cool Campus Challenge - a ten week long, friendly competition between all ten UC campuses - was created through a partnership between the University of California and the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at UC Berkeley, led by Professor Daniel Kammen. At Berkeley 1,750 faculty, staff and students joined the challenge. Their collective actions will reduce 1,021,720 million of pounds of carbon emissions each year. UC Berkeley had particularly high involvement of teams based on campus departments and organizations and nominations of climate heroes. Challenge participants nominated 85 UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff as climate heroes to honor them for their efforts.

https://www.coolcampuschallenge.org/

Climate Readiness Institute
The mission of the newly founded Climate Readiness Institute (CRI) is to develop the cutting-edge climate science, adaptation strategies and mitigation tools needed to ensure a resilient, low-carbon Bay Area and beyond. The CRI brings together academics and practitioners to identify critical information gaps and policy challenges related to climate change. The institute also conducts scientific analyses of current and proposed adaptation strategies and assesses new mitigation strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides institutional and financial support for the Building Sustainability at Cal program, which trains students to help reduce the environmental impact of campus buildings by identifying structural and operational changes and working to carry out those changes. Some projects within Building Sustainability at Cal help students earn LEED Certified credentials. The program also has helped implement the Green Paws Program that supports smaller-scale buildings (those that cannot be LEED Certified) on campus as they work to meet and surpass sustainability goals.

The Chou Hall Zero Waste Initiative Team brought students and staff together to help make UC Berkeley's newest building, Chou Hall in the Haas School of Business, the first business school building in the U.S. to produce no net waste for landfills. Becoming a Zero Waste Certified building required an early vision during design and now requires a dedicated team to engage with the building occupants to make it work.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

UC Berkeley launched a Carbon Neutrality Fellows program that supports students in researching sustainability options. The fellows then offer educational presentations about the science and effects of climate change, as well as ways to reduce personal energy consumption, in coordination with the UC-wide goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

The Green Initiative Fund supported two student projects relating to food and dining sustainability this past school year: reusable ware for the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, and Cal Dining Rentable Reusables. The former focused on providing reusable and durable eating ware for use in Environmental Science, Policy and Management Department meetings and events to better align operations with the department's core values and also the external campuswide Zero Waste by 2020 goal. Cal Dining Rentable Reusables offers student organizations rentable reusable dining ware for campuswide meetings and events.

In other options implemented in Fall 2015, the Bulk Bins in Bear Market, Cub Market and the Golden Bear Produce Stand offer nutritious snack options without the overuse of packaging. The Bulk Bin project is a student-led initiative funded by The Green Initiative Fund.

The Food Recovery Program at UC Berkeley is a multi-stakeholder initiative that brings together cross-campus partners to address issues of food waste and food insecurity. Initiated by the Basic Needs Community in Fall of 2017, the program aims to divert excess wholesome and edible foods from the waste stream to food insecure individuals, which will significantly reduce food waste while also playing a role in immediate hunger relief efforts.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

During the 2017-2018 school year, The Green Initiative Fund helped facilitate three sustainable grounds projects: Herbicide Free Cal, Brown’s Cafe Herbal Garden and Fannie Lou Hamer Garden. Student members of Herbicide Free Cal have spent the past year campaigning to stop the use of carcinogenic herbicides on campus as well as implementing unique signage to promote student engagement. Brown’s Cafe Herbal Garden seeks to increase campus access to local herbs and aims to transform a beautiful area outside the College of Natural Resources into a student garden. The garden will work with Cal Dining and incorporate workshops to engage the campus in dynamic ways. Third, Fannie Lou Hamer Garden is a project from the fund’s Environmental Justice Pilot Grant Cycle, which hopes to cultivate a student-led garden to provide fresh produce for students but also serve as a platform to address food insecurity and build a sense of community among East Bay African Americans.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

Parking at UC campuses is often in high demand among faculty, staff, researchers and students. Student and faculty researchers at UC Berkeley's Transportation Sustainability Research Center are studying whether car sharing could be part of the solution. Working with Zipcar, the group surveyed more than 10,000 students, faculty and staff using the service on campuses in the U.S. and Canada, with students making up the 90 percent of the respondents.

The findings were promising. Car sharing allowed 30 percent of students who lived on campus to leave their personal cars at home. Forty-two percent of car-share users on campuses said that they are less likely to buy a car in the next few years. In addition, car sharing helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The study found that the total number of miles driven was reduced by up to 5 percent, reducing emissions by as much as
2.6 percent.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

UC Berkeley has a unique and exciting opportunity to advance sustainability in the next three years – through strategic assessment and planning; implementing measures to reach zero waste and advance carbon neutrality; and, to more widely institutionalize sustainable practices and understanding. This project adds two key graduate and undergraduate student leadership positions to the Office of Sustainability team, to help us reach the next level of campus sustainability by 2020, and beyond. This project will support funding for two years: The project will start in June 2018 and finish in 2020. Upcoming, the office will produce sustainability plans (waste, water, transportation, and more) that will guide our direction for the next decade; piloting new zero waste efforts to reach zero waste by 2020; enhancing energy, green building and climate initiatives to support carbon neutrality by 2025; and, powering up community engagement and behavior change. The following describes the general responsibilities of these positions.

The Chou Hall Zero Waste Initiative Team, which includes staff and students, is helping the campus' newest building, Chou Hall at the Haas School of Business, become the nation's first business school building to produce zero net waste to landfills.

The student-managed ReUSE program operates 18 on-campus reuse stations for office supplies and the annual Second Chance clothing sales and reader giveaways. ReUSE projects reduce waste by 2-5 tons annually. The campus also works to reuse office supplies, equipment and vehicles through the Overstock and Surplus Den.

Finally, In efforts to better campus' waste management practices and improve waste-related knowledge and transparency, UC Berkeley affiliates are developing the capacity to process all of the campus’ organic waste matter in-house. Due partially to permitting restrictions, but also to ensure diverse methodology and research opportunities, the affiliate group will be introducing the following three different composting systems: 1) The first is an experimental aquaponics system, inspired by that at the California State University Sacramento. This innovative and newly developed system offers research opportunities on multi-trophic ecosystems, closed-loop systems and alternative gardening. 2) To better process the large amount of organic waste the campus produces, UC Berkeley affiliates 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 the campus produces more organic waste than can be processed through the windrow system alone, UC Berkeley affiliates will also install supplemental vermicomposting plots. This working group (consisting of representatives from UC Berkeley and Sacramento 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.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) has funded several student-led projects this year in relation to water. Some examples include an extension of the previous Green Labs program; students wanted to address the massive amounts of water consumed by laboratory sterilizer equipment and are actively replacing an autoclave unit in the Life Sciences Addition (LSA) building as part of the campus’ commitment to reducing its overall water usage. Another TGIF project is the transformation of Clark Kerr campus into a rain garden, aiming to reduce local flooding and runoff while also improving the water quality in the surrounding area.

The fund also provided more than $34,000 to a student-led project seeking to eliminate single-pass water cooling systems. Scientific instruments that go to low temperatures generate large amounts of waste heat along the way. Water-cooling is the primary method used to cool such equipment. Water-cooling is often open loop (also called "single pass"), meaning all the cooling water used runs through the system only once, with a continuous supply and drain of water through the system, leading to enormous water waste. In contrast, recirculating water systems, which consist of a water chiller that uses common refrigerants to cool a recirculating, closed water loop, use the same quantity of water over and over again to continuously cool the system. Implementation of such systems will save tens of thousands of gallons of water per month, per recirculating system installed.

Finally, 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. This project will tackle such issues presented 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 8,208-square-foot lawn at the center of Hearst Field Annex with the original municipal water as back-up supply.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

The past year, The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) spearheaded environmental justice as an integral program component, as the campus adopted environmental justice as a sustainability project theme. Several projects funded by TGIF have addressed diversity and affordability, namely the Latinx and the Environment Resource Fair, Decolonize the Environment Workshop, and Environmental Education for Students of Color. The Latinx and the Environment Resource Fair provided a unique space for Latinx students to address pressing environmental issues related to Latinx students and how they are impacted by environmental issues. The resource fair also provided a platform for student organizations to build connections with other organizations off campus through a career fair and several panels. The Decolonize the Environment Workshops project is a series of workshops for the UC Berkeley community to educate and increase awareness about intersectionality in the environmental and sustainability fields. The Students of Color Environmental Collective is taking the lead on the Environmental Education for Students of Color project, which will be a conference with keynotes, panels and workshops from environmentalists of color, and will be open to other students in the larger community.

The African American Initiative works with a wide range of faculty, student and staff to support African American undergraduates, recruit more African American students, staff and faculty and generally improve the campus climate for African Americans.

https://diversity.berkeley.edu/initiatives/african-american-initiative

Similarly, the Chicanx Latinx Taskforce brought together students, administration and faculty to develop ways to improve the overall environment for Chicanx and Latinx students on campus. That included distributing a survey assessing the campus climate for students and identifying priorities for the administration to improve support and opportunities for Chicanx and Latinx students.

https://diversity.berkeley.edu/about/committees-boards/chicanx-latinx-taskforce


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding, via grants, for projects to students, faculty and others who improve and support UC Berkeley's campus sustainability efforts. TGIF allocates 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 financial aid (via return to aid) and student internships. Students, faculty and staff may submit project proposals, which are selected for funding by the annually appointed TGIF Committee, consisting of students, faculty and staff, on which the students have the majority vote.

TGIF is administered by the TGIF Committee and the TGIF Coordinator. The Committee's voting members include one student representative each from the ASUC, the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Sustainability, the Graduate Assembly and the general undergraduate student body, as well as by one representative each from Real Estate, Administration & Finance and the Faculty Senate. Non-voting members include a representative from the Committee on Student Fees, ex-officios from the Office of Sustainability and Construction & Design, and an ASUC Senator.

TGIF is funded by a $6.00 per semester student fee, beginning in the fall of 2007 and persisting for 10 years. Student leaders created a massive and successful campus campaign, and the fee referendum was approved by the student body during the April 2007 elections of the Associated Students of the University of California. It received final approval by the Chancellor and UC Regents during the summer of 2007.

The fund has since been renewed for another 10 years. Since 2008, it has awarded more than $2 million for 160 sustainability-related projects.

In 2013, The Green Initiative Fund was moved to the portfolio of the Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC), in recognition of TGIF and SERC’s shared history as student-initiated sustainability-focused programs, and TGIF’s reputation as a national model for campus green funds.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

Student engagement is considered essential to The Green Initiative Fund projects, and the fund requires applicants include some public engagement component in final applications. While many projects incorporate public engagement through an additional education campaign, two TGIF projects took their own unique approach to engaging the community in their sustainability projects.

The first project - Earth Action Initiative - is a graduate student-led conference that fosters a community of people who take direct climate action. Their conference implemented a climate art show to gather groups that may not regularly interact with climate and sustainability topics in the traditional sense.

The second project - the Residence Hall Education Program - sought to reach incoming first-year students by implementing a program in the residence halls during move-in, providing foundational knowledge of zero-waste and environmental sustainability for everyone.

Another example of a UC Berkeley public engagement project involved residents of Richmond, on the northeastern edge of San Francisco Bay, where climate change is expected to hit the city with rising sea levels , higher temperatures, flood risks and increased energy and water consumption. For help meeting these challenges, the city is turning to planning students at UC Berkeley. Jason Corburn, an associate professor with the Department of City and Regional Planning, in the College of Environmental Design, and at the School of Public Health, is leading the campus effort, which expands on the Richmond Health Equity Partnership, a city initiative to improve the health of Richmond residents.

Finally, the City of Oakland will be ground zero for the first urban sensor network to provide real-time, neighborhood-by-neighborhood measurements of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming – and other air pollutants. The prototype network, installed by student chemists at Berkeley will employ 40 sensors spread over a 27 square-mile grid, most of them mounted atop local schools to engage students in the project. The information the network will provide could be used to monitor local carbon dioxide emissions to check on the effectiveness of carbon-reduction strategies now mandated by the state.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information in this field was provided by Brian Giialketsis, interim director of The Green Initiative Fund, Sharon Daraphonhdeth at the Student Environmental Resource Center and other UC Berkeley sources.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.