The Green Initiative Fund
The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) is an initiative that would promote sustainability and environmental justice at UC Davis. TGIF would add $3 per quarter to student fees, creating a fund that students can apply for to fund sustainable projects on campus. $0.75 or 25% of the fee will go to return to student financial aid. TGIF would create a granting pool of approximately $190,000 to support student driven projects that improve some aspect of campus sustainability. These projects range from environmental education to improving physical structures on campus for water and energy efficient practices and more. Funds can also be used for student organizations to hold sustainable and zero waste events. Currently, TGIF is active at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UCLA and UC San Diego and has been used to fund a variety of student led projects. TGIF encourages students to collaborate with one another, faculty and staff to create innovative projects that will revolutionize sustainability at UC Davis. Establishing this fund will provide students with professional experience in grant writing, budget management, and project development and implementation. These student projects will cultivate a community of environmentally conscious individuals.
Official Mission Statement: The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) shall strive to promote sustainable development by providing necessary resources to the UC Davis Community. As part of a higher education institution, TGIF will involve and educate students of all backgrounds by empowering them to develop, propose, and enact sustainable projects.
Important aspects of sustainability include minimization of the negative effects of producing and consuming energy, preservation of environmental and economic resources, equity to insure social justice, and reverence for the future.
VOTING FOR TGIF
TGIF will appear on the Winter ASUCD Ballot and can be voted on February 16th-19th at elections.ucdavis.edu.
The Ballot Measure
The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) will finance student-developed projects and educational programs that promote sustainability at UC Davis. It is designed to encourage undergraduate leadership, involvement and innovation in environmental stewardship. The passage of this initiative will require a voter turnout equal to at least twenty percent (20%) of the undergraduate student population and at least sixty percent (60%) plus one approval. If passed, the fees outlined in this initiative will be assessed starting Fall Quarter 2016.
Comparable programs have recently been approved at UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC Santa Cruz and a campaign is being run at UC Irvine. Some of the projects that have been conducted include: * A system for undergraduate car sharing at UCSB to decrease road congestion and promote a sense of community. * Energy-efficient windows in UC Berkeley’s Anthony Hall, a building that houses student organizations. * An outreach program at UCSB to educate students about the merits of reusable bottles compared to plastic bottles.
The Green Initiatives Fund’s Mission
The Green Initiative Fund shall strive to promote sustainable development by providing necessary resources to the UC Davis Community. As an undergraduate focused entity, TGIF will involve and educate students by empowering them to develop, propose, and enact sustainable projects.
How TGIF works
A student-majority committee, called the Green Initiative Fund Committee, would manage the fund and allocate grants to applicants. Five of the committee seats will be held by undergraduate students, one by staff members and one by a faculty member. Any current UC Davis undergraduate, or a group with significant undergraduate involvement, may apply for funding from TGIF.
A set of TGIF bylaws will be developed and made publicly available to assure the accountability of the fund. These bylaws will outline the operation of TGIF and will include the process for dispensing funds. Any group applying for TGIF funds is required to have significant undergraduate involvement. Organizations outside of UC Davis may not submit proposals. The Committee and TGIF staff are required to provide guidance to grant applicants so that students can easily negotiate the grant application process. Grants will be distributed the 6th week of Fall Quarter and the 2nd week of Spring Quarter. An annual report of fund distribution and allocation will be sent to the Council on Student Affairs and Fees (COSAF) to further assure fund accountability. TGIF shall be accountable and transparent to the student body by making all approved grants available to the public via the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability website and the Associated Students of University of California, Davis website.
Consistent with the University of California Office of the President Policy (Policy 80.00: Compulsory Campus-Based Student Fees), an amount equal to 25% of the proposed fee shall be provided for need-based financial aid (return to aid) for undergraduate students. This will provide funding to support those undergraduate students with the greatest financial need (those who are eligible for support from Pell Grants). Also, any remaining balance of the financial aid funds shall be allocated by the Financial Aid Office based on undergraduate student need.
Fees Per Quarter
The Green Initiative Fund $2.25
Return to Aid $0.75
Initiative Provisions – The Green Initiative Fund
Voting – “Minimum voting pools” have been determined in accordance with University regulations. A minimum voter turnout of twenty percent (20%) of the undergraduate student population is required for a valid vote. The exact number of undergraduate students required will be provided by the University Registrar prior to the election, and will be based on the Winter Quarter 2016 census data. In addition, this initiative requires ratification by at least sixty percent (60%) plus one for approval.
Life of Fee – This fee will end in ten years. However, any money remaining at the end of the fee will be distributed for additional student projects until the funds are exhausted. The fee will commence Fall Quarter 2016 and cease Spring Quarter 2021. Adjustment of Fee – This initiative makes no provision for a further increase of the fee. As such, this fee will remain at $4.00 per undergraduate student per quarter for the full term of this fee. Any adjustment to this fee would require a separate student-approved initiative.
Advisory Vote – The outcome of the vote shall be advisory to the Vice Chancellor – Student Affairs, the Chancellor and the President of the University.
Fee Participation – This fee will be assessed to all undergraduate students as a part of their regular Fall, Winter, and Spring quarterly fees.
Use of Funds Derived from the Fee – This fee will be collected solely to supply The Green Initiative Fund and will be used for no other purpose.
A portion of the fund will be used to employ staff and students who will manage the funding and allocation processes. Please note that only the student majority Green Initiative Fund Committee will have the authority to approve applications. Also, a portion of the funds will finance promotional expenses, computers, and accounting. All other funds will be allocated to projects.
Distribution of Project Funds: * A minimum of ten percent (10%) of funds will be allocated to educational projects. * TGIF Committee is not required to initiate any projects, however a maximum of forty percent (40%) of funds may be delegated to projects initiated by TGIF Committee or retained for funding larger projects in the next fiscal year. Please note that all projects initiated by TGIF are subject to the same approval process as other applications. * All other funds will be used for grants.
Governance: In the event that the students of this campus vote in favor of this measure, a committee comprised of undergraduate student representatives, staff and faculty will be formed to oversee the administration, grant proposal process and awards. This committee will abide by the TGIF bylaws as outlined below, and will be supported by this ballot initiative for 5 years. After the duration of this time period, the student body will re-vote to keep this fee.
Seven (7) Voting Members
. One undergraduate student selected by the ASUCD Environmental Policy & Planning Commission (EPPC),
. One undergraduate student selected by the ASUCD Campus Center for the Environment (CCE),
. One undergraduate student selected by the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability (ESS),
. Two at-large undergraduate Student selected by an application process
. One Staff member selected from the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability; and
. One Faculty member selected by the Academic Senate.
Eight (8) Non-voting advisory members will also be established to provide guidance to the voting board as follows:
. One staff representative from UC Davis Facilities
. One staff representative from Campus Unions
. One Staff member selected by the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs’
. One representative from the Graduate Student Association (GSA)
. One Budget and Planning Staff member appointed by the Finance Operations and Administrations Vice Chancellor
. The TGIF Fund Manager
. The TGIF Student Engagement Coordinator
. UC Davis Community Members interested in TGIF
The ex-officio members of the Committee shall attend Committee meetings as non-voting members, and the Committee can invite experts/guests to provide information and expertise as needed.
A set of TGIF bylaws will be developed and made publicly available to assure the accountability of the fund. These bylaws will outline the operation of TGIF and will include the process for dispensing funds. Any group applying for TGIF funds is required to have significant undergraduate involvement. Organizations outside of UC Davis may not submit proposals. The Committee and TGIF staff is required to provide guidance to grant applicants so that students can easily negotiate the grant application process.
The TGIF Committee, housed under the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, would handle grant allocation and management throughout the year. COSAF would serve in an advisory capacity to oversee activities and facilities funded by the Initiative and would review annual reports of expenditures of fund to ensure consistency with the Initiative
Criteria for funding projects will include: * Projects must have significant undergraduate student involvement. * Projects must promote sustainability on the UC Davis campus, including off-campus activities which influence sustainability on campus. * Projects must have a clearly defined and measurable outcome.
TGIF shall be accountable and transparent to the student body, and therefore shall: * Make all its records available to the public via the office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability and Associated Students of University California, Davis (ASUCD) websites. * Issue an annual report of its activities to ASUCD, Environmental Policy and Planning Commission, the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability (ESS), and Student Services and Fee Administrative Advisory Committee. * Submit a year-end evaluation report to ESS and ASUCD Senate.
Interest Income – All interest income earned from fees generated by this initiative will be made available to spend on the projects described in the ballot.
Coordination with the University – Projects funded by TGIF involving UC Davis lands, buildings, and/or resources must be coordinated with the appropriate UC Davis Administrators. Part of the job of the Committee and TGIF staff is to assist selected applicants in this process. If this initiative passes, TGIF intends to associate with ASUCD for administrative services, such as accounting.
Return-to-Aid — Consistent with the University of California Office of the President Policy (Policy 80.00: Compulsory Campus-Based Student Fees), an amount equal to twenty-five percent (25%) of the proposed fee shall be provided for need-based financial aid (return-to-aid) for undergraduate students. This will provide funding to support those undergraduate students with the greatest financial need (those who are eligible for support from Pell Grants). Also, any remaining balance of the financial aid funds shall be allocated by the Financial Aid Office based on undergraduate student need.
Getting involved in the Yes Campaign
Statement from the Yes Campaign: To make TGIF a reality at UC Davis, we need your help! We are planning to put The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) on the 2016 winter election ballot. We need you signature to place this measure on the ballot and make TGIF a reality. That means the time for campaigning is now! To learn more about TGIF and all of the invigorating opportunities TGIF has to offer, join us for our first Informational Meeting. Bring a friend and make it a date.
First General Meeting
Tuesday, Jan. 12th, 6:00-8:00pm
Location: EcoHub (Old Outdoor Adventures building, located between the Silo and Rock Hall, on the opposite side of the Bike Barn
Second Volunteer Meeting
Tuesday, February 9th, 6:00 pm
Although only undergraduates can vote on the initiative, if you are a graduate student or Davis community member that is passionate about sustainability, we need all the people power we can get. Even if you can only commit an hour of your time a week, you can contribute leaps and bounds to the campaign.
Contact TGIF at [email protected]
The Ballot Measure
The Ballot Measure will appear on the ballot with the exact language approved by the ASUCD Internal Affairs Commission on January 12. ASUCD will not accept further changes to the ballot measure.
History of TGIF
TGIF was most recently voted on in the Winter 2009 ASUCD Election. It failed to pass, only getting a 36% yes vote of the required 60%. The current TGIF proposal has taken into consideration the initial arguments made against its implementation in 2009. The arguments against can be found below, but may not be relevant to the TGIF as it currently stands. Those working on establishing TGIF at UC Davis are readily available for open, respectful dialogue about any concerns regarding TGIF. We ultimately believe that this is a student fund and want as much student input as possible.
Results at other UCs Ineffective
At UC Santa Cruz only 30% of the funding in their TGIF fund was spent in last two years. This left $350,000 in the fund unspent and out of the pockets of the students who were taxed. Even if the money is all spent next year, 1/2 of the students who's money went unspent the previous two years will have graduated and get no benefit from it. At UC Santa Barbara around $20,000 were spent on 20 waterless urinals, while at the same time $75,000 was spent on hiring contractors to install solar panels. Yet despite this capital improvement spending, 20% of the money went unspent despite both undergraduate and graduate students being able to receive it (UCD's TGIF would only allow undergrads). It is clear that these funds are exceedingly over budgeted in the tight financial times and that the UCD fund, which will raise a similar amount of money, will certainly fare the same in allowing valuable student money to go wasted and unspent.
There are only 4 undergraduates on the 7 member TGIF committee and only 2 of the 4 students are are selected without any influence by the administration. Of the other 2 students, 1 is selected by an administration controlled board with student membership, RHAB, while the last student selected by the other 6 TGIF boardmembers of which, only half are students. It is clear the administration has significant influence over this committee. In contrast, the Club Finance Council has $70,000 to give out is under the complete control of 12 students and is an example of a better model of governance.
The No on TGIF campaign believes it is important to have a fee that performs as efficiently and effectively as possible for the students who pay into it. It is clear that the proposed set up for the UC Davis TGIF does not fix the glaring issue of over-budgeting present at the other UCs and is also burdened by a terrible form of governance, but these are both problems that can be fixed. It is entirely possible to rewrite TGIF to take into account the failing at the other UCs and the issue of governance, and have a better form of it voted on next year. The existence of bylaws that can be changed by the grant committee through the life of this fee initiative is not enough, as the critical flaws of TGIF can only be fixed through a rewrite of its core setup. The bottom line is that passing TGIF as it is now would be a terrible disservice to the current and future student body of UC Davis, and the students deserve a better fee to vote on than the one being put before them this winter.
For additional comments on the 2009 TGIF campaign, please see the TGIF (2009) Comments wiki page HERE