During spring 2020, many of UC Berkeley’s operations and programs were put on hold due to COVID-19 and the subsequent shelter-in-place orders. The Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) and The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) at UC Berkeley cultivated resources for students to practice personal and community resilience related to environmental justice issues and initiatives. SERC created Community Through COVID-19, a living tool and community-building document, on March 10, the day that UC Berkeley canceled in-person courses. The document lists a variety of online events and resources that meet community needs, including links to mutual aid programs, study jams and an Understanding & Resisting EcoFacism event put on by SERC staff.
Amid the spring 2020 semester, The Green Initiative Fund committee voted to establish a COVID-19 $30,000 Emergency Fund to support active TGIF projects that have been affected by the coronavirus crisis. TGIF and SERC are driven and motivated by Wangari Maathai’s story of the hummingbird, which emphasizes that small, individual acts can influence large-scale change. In three weeks, the committee designed and structured a (quick) application process and a rubric for assessing projects, in order to expedite the distribution of funds for projects. TGIF received three emergency fund applications and were able to grant all three, totaling $14,771.
The three funded projects are:
- Stormwater Detention and Biofiltration
- Environmental Education for Students of Color
- Berkeley Student Food Collective: Decade 2
TGIF has extended the emergency fund beyond spring and hopes to continue supporting projects impacted by COVID-19 into the school year.