Fall 2021 TGIF Grant Cycle Deadline:  Monday, November 1 @ 5:00pm Apply Now!

Granted 2018-19

Granted Projects

 2018-19 TGIF Grants Awarded, by the numbers:
  • 27 of 32 submitted projects funded
  • Total funds awarded: $193,161.66
  • The Committee returned 2 projects for possible revision and re-submission
  • Projects awarded in 2018-19 involved students from 32 different majors


Spring Grant Cycle

  • Aggie Chicken Ranch: Co-Op and Sanctuary for Chickens and Their People, $10,095.00
  • Project lead(s): Cameron Wong (Sustainable Environmental Design), Elizabeth Merchant-Wells (Environmental Engineering), Jodi Barnhill (Global Affairs/SISS), Hirotaki Hiyoshi (UCD Health), Halley Patteson (Global Disease Biology), and Camille Miller (Civil Engineering)
    Project description: This project will upgrade the UC Davis Chicken Co-Op coop, which is located on the western side of the EC Garden. The team will be designing and building a new, more sustainable coop with proper sanitation and safety features in place with improved native landscaping and foraging opportunities for the hens. Their plans also include compost areas, a chicken tractor to share what the chickens provide with gardeners (natural fertilization/pest management), a teaching area to collaborate with classes, faculty, and school staff, and the ability to expand and provide the hard-working hens with the space and resources they need and deserve.
  • First Steps Towards Optimizing Plastic Biodegradation Pathways via PETase Enzyme, $1,800.00
  • Project lead(s): Isabella Glenn (Cell and Molecular Biology)
    Project description: Plastic persistence in our environment has resulted in a vastly deleterious effect on both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. PETase is an enzyme that was found in a bacteria known as Ideonella sakaiensis. PETase can effectively metabolize polyethylene terephthalate (PET, one of the most common plastic polymers) to generate organic molecules. This research projects aims create mutations within PETase to make enzymes more catalytically active for global application.
    S19-23 PETase
  • Immersive Tea Experience Lab (ITEL), $20,000.00
  • Project lead(s): Tracy Corado, Elizabeth Marley, Junger Xia, and Harold Linde (Department of Design)
    Project description: The Immersive Tea Experience Lab (ITEL) is a hyper-sustainable and self-contained portable architectural space located in the UC Davis Arboretum and designed to promote ecological principles and community engagement through mindful and intentional tea serving practices to a variety of diverse populations within the university. 
    S19-21 Tea Experience
  • Remote Experimentation and Analysis of Low Orbit Phenomena (REALOP), $12,193.83
  • Project lead(s): Duha Bader, Cory George, and Robert Hurtado (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)
    Project description: The Remote Experimentation and Analysis of Low Orbit Phenomena (REALOP) will be UC Davis’s first ever satellite with a payload of a variety of sensors, including RGB and Infrared (IR) Cameras. The IR camera will provide thermal images of the Earth while the RGB camera will provide full color images to provide context. By overlaying these two images over the course of the mission, we hope to capture atmospheric phenomenon developing as a function of temperature with an additional goal to detect hotspots during the California fire season, as detecting some would serve as a proof of concept for a future UC Davis mission devoted to California fire detection.
  • Shields' Library Pilot Project, $4,000.00
  • Project lead(s): Yasmeen Qursha (Environmental Policy and Planning)
    Project description: In partnership with the ASUCD Environmental Policy and Planning Commission, the UC Davis Office of Sustainability, and UC Davis Custodial Services, we will create a pilot 3-stream
    waste disposal system (landfill, mixed recycling, and paper) with clear signage in the UC Davis Shields Library to combat current recycling contamination and maximize our landfill diversion rate.


Winter Grant Cycle

  • OneLoop: Hyperloop at UC Davis, $18,501.72
  • Project lead(s): Austin Gonzalez (Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering), Samarth Sandeep (Materials Sciences & Engineering), and Zhi Yong Chua (Economics)
    Project description: Hyperloop is the newest form of transport that utilizes vacuum chambers and magnetic levitation technology. A pod is placed in a vacuum tube track. Then, magnetic repulsion lifts the pod from the track and propels the pod forward. Without air resistance or friction from wheels, the pod can theoretically reach speeds of over 700 miles per hour. This project will build a pod for the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop Competition, while teaching zero waste manufacturing practices.
  • Feminist Research Institute Garden, $2,890.93
  • Project lead(s): Aina Smart Truco (Sustainable Environmental Design), Brisa Sanchez (Sustainable Environmental Design), Elizabeth Stenton (Sustainable Environmental Design), Sarah Lootah (Sustainable Environmental Design), and Viridiana Avecedo (Sustainable Environmental Design) 
    Project description: This project planned and designed the exterior space of the Feminist Research Institute's (FRI) new location. This outdoor area upholds the values and transformational framework of FRI's research mission as an intersectional, inclusive, justice-oriented, and transformative space. 
  • ASUCD Experimental Community Gardens Landscape Remodeling, $9,987.99
  • Project lead(s): Helen VanBeck (Environmental Policy Analysis & Planning), Kyle Shankle (PhD Candidate in Plant Biology), and Victoria Fong (Sustainable Environmental Design)
    Project description: This project proposes to renovate the ASUCD Experimental Community (EC) Gardens, increasing the accessibility and educational opportunities for those who visit, enjoy, or belong to the gardens. The EC Gardens are a unique space on campus where undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and community members can come together to learn how to compost, care for perennial plants, and organically produce food. 
  • Roots of Campus, $2,990.00
  • Project lead(s): Eileen Hollett (Graduate Group in Community Development)
    Project description: “Roots on Campus” is a tree planting series based on UC Davis campus operating through the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI) Fellowship program. Over the course of two separate volunteer events in April 2019, members of the UC Davis community have the exciting opportunity to both literally put roots on campus as well as make a more lasting mark of their presence by contributing to reducing its carbon footprint. As trees appreciate in value over time, students, staff and faculty will start to make connections to the long-term benefits that trees can provide to the overall quality of urban life. Both days will rely on the stewardship of volunteers to plant twelve trees total (six trees per
    day) and we will take the opportunity to educate volunteers on the work UC Davis is contributing to the CNI. As an integral component to help visualize long-term impact, volunteers will also participate in a “carbon calculator” activity to estimate the amount of biomass and carbon stored in a tree over varying ages, as well as the amount sequestered annually. This software additionally provides information on energy conservation. Interpretive signage will be installed to bring awareness to the benefits of trees and the CNI.
    W19-11 Roots on Campus
  • Craft With Nature at Picnic Day, $1,350.00
  • Project lead(s): Yiwei Huang (PhD Candidate in Geography)
    Project description: Craft With Nature was an event held at the Picnic Day Children’s Discovery Fair which aimed to introduce sustainable concepts through crafting and hands-on learning to children and their parents. Three major activities were conducted: “crafting your own leaf art,” “participatory campus waste mapping” and “sorting, composting, and protect our environment.” The project aims to make people rethink creative ways to make use of wasted materials, thus seek solutions to reduce waste production. 
    W19-1 Craft with Nature pic
  • Project Invigorate, $3,466.50
  • Project lead(s): Chen Zhong (Sustainable Environmental Design), Melody Wong (Landscape Architecture), and Luyu Zeng (Landscape Architecture)
    Project description: Project Invigorate is a student-initiated ecological design group that works alongside community partners to link the UC Davis student community to that of the greater Davis community. This project focuses on revegetating spaces using climate-adapted and ecologically beneficial species, transforming a resource-intensive lawn or underutilized area into an ecological hotspot. Project Invigorate uses plant materials and the necessary equipment to bring student interns’ designs to life, as well as providing educational opportunity for the communities associated with these places.
  • Water Quality Monitoring in the Arboretum Waterway, $17,515.00
  • Project lead(s): Olivia Nystrom (Mechanical Engineering), Sergio Martinez (Environmental Science & Management), and Nina Suzuki (UC Davis Arboretum and Public Gardens)
    Project description: This project established a water quality monitoring program for the UC Davis Arboretum Waterway that includes students and community members, promotes environmental awareness, and supports undergraduate student courses and research projects. Consistent, systematic water quality monitoring provides valuable baseline data for student research, while also providing informative data for waterway management to improve the ecological health of the waterway. 
    W19-5 Water Quality
  • Less Plastic is Fantastic, $515.00
  • Project lead(s): Malia Helms (Biological Systems Engineering), Danielle Osborne (Environmental Science & Management), and Noah Maschan (Aerospace Engineering)
    Project description: This project aims to make UC Davis students aware of the amount of single-use items they may commonly consume, and give them an initiative to reduce this waste. By displaying and offering free and reusable swaps for single-use items, students will have the incentive to approach the project's booth. In exchange for the reusable item we will inform the student about the zero waste by 2020 campus wide goal, the problem with using single use items, and ask the students to pledge to incorporate that item in their lives both on and off campus. In this manner, those who may not have put much thought into the subject may become more conscious about waste production and feel empowered to reduce both their personal waste and overall campus waste. 
  • Whole Earth Festival Solar Light Towers, $20,000.00
  • Project lead(s): Tinka Peterka (Design), Kennedy Field (Art History and English), and Sara Frederich (International Agricultural Development)
    Project description: The Whole Earth Festival (WEF) is applying for a grant from The Green Initiative Fund in order to fund improvements to internal zero-emission operations at the festival and to make zero-waste capabilities more accessible to the rest of UC Davis and the Davis community. This project will use funding to purchase solar powered light towers to be managed by the Whole Earth Festival. 
  • Rooftop Garden, $20,000.00
  • Project lead(s): Kelli O'Day (ASUCD Coffee House), Kat Hanrahan (Environmental Science & Management), Vanessa Lovel (Sustainable Agriculture), and Nick Campbell (Spanish and Political Science)
    Project description: This project will establish a rooftop garden at the Memorial Union. This project constructed a sustainable urban garden that supplies fresh produce to the Coffee House and the Aggie Compass and increase student access to fresh food. The garden features innovative hydroponic garden towers- the appropriate growing method for the rooftop setting as they are water, energy, and space efficient. 
  • Dining Commons Glove Recycling Pilot Program, $1,795.19
  • Project lead(s): Amanda Simpson (Environmental Science & Management), Shannon Casey (Environmental Science & Management), and Colette Curran (Landscape Design Architecture)
    Project description: The Student Housing and Dining Services (SHDS) as Zero Waste Coordinators (ZWC) have observed that gloves are one of the most prevalent items in the landfill bins in the Dining Commons. This project established Terracycle boxes in the kitchen area in the Cuarto DC.
  • Memorial Union Freedge, $1,417.00
  • Project lead(s): Ernst Oehninger (Graduate Group in Ecology) and Alexandra Hill (Aggie Compass)
    Project description: The Freedge, a community fridge, allows all community members to either leave excess food or take donated food, subject to local health and safety regulations. The Freedge reduces food-waste and increases food access for the food insecure.
    F18-1 MU Freedge


Fall Grant Cycle

  • UC Davis Nitrogen Footprint in SIMAP, $2,000.00
  • Project lead(s): Elizabeth Castner (Geography Graduate Group) and Miroslava Munguia (Environmental Science & Management)
    Project description: The primary goal of this project is to complete and validate a baseline calculation of UC Davis’ nitrogen footprint in the Sustainability Indicator Management and Assessment Platform (SIMAP) tool, which is supported by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Sustainability Institute and the NFT Network. Preliminary calculations of UC Davis’ nitrogen footprint have been completed for the 2015 calendar year in the NFT (an excel-based tool for institution nitrogen footprints) and for the 2016-2017 fiscal year (FY) in SIMAP by the FUN (Footprinting University’s Nitrogen) group of undergraduate students, a member group of SEEDS.
  • UC Davis Dining Commons and Retail Markets Food Recovery Program, $2,000.00
  • Project lead(s): Evan Dumas (Biotechnology), Lucero Morales (Biotechnology), Alicia Marzolf (Nutrition), Kim Quach (Computer Science), Laura Roser (Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems), and Heesun Kim (Food Science)
    Project description: Food Recovery Network is a student organization that donates surplus food on campus to people in need, diverting it from being composted or landfilled. To collect this food on campus, the Food Recovery Network utilizes an electric vehicle which is in need of repairs. The goal of this project is to ensure that Food Recovery Network can continue to recover surplus food on campus by performing necessary repairs and providing reimbursements for volunteers who use their vehicles to transport food. Without these repairs, the work of Food Recovery Network cannot continue, and certainly cannot expand.
  • UC Davis Formula Electric, $10,710.00
  • Project lead(s): Kyle Sager (Mechanical Engineering), Henry Lee (Mechanical Engineering), and Colton Miles (Mechanical Engineering)
    Project description: UC Davis Formula Electric is an on-campus organization, focused on the research and development of electric powered vehicles. The club is comprised of undergraduate mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and business students, who strive to take their skills learned in the classroom and apply them to creating a more environmentally responsible type of transportation. This is done through learning how to research and design new systems, construct components, analyze shortcomings and revise issues encountered. 
    F18-6 Formula Electric
  • Refillable Cannisters, $1,000.00
  • Project lead(s): Kevin Townsend (Geology) and Beck Van Horsen (Assistant Director of UC Davis Outdoor Adventures)
    Project description: Refillable propane canisters are often disposed of improperly, causing hazardous waste to enter our landfills, and at times can injure waste management employees. This project will provide Outdoor Adventures with refillable propane canisters to reduce waste in our landfills and encourage users to think twice about using disposable options. Based on the California Product Stewardship Council, refillables can last up to 12 years, can be refilled hundreds of times, and accumulate in $128.26 in savings after 50 uses per canister.
    F18-7 Refillable Canisters
  • Composting Implementation at Kappa Alpha Theta, $1,361.50
  • Project lead(s): Ayse Trail (Environmental Toxicology), Kirstynn Gonzalez (Linguistics), Maddie Smith (Design & Communications), and Yasmine Avila (Economics)
    Project description: Kappa Alpha Theta (KAT) aims to improve sustainability in the chapter as well as encourage other parts of Greek life to improve their sustainability efforts. The chapter implemented recycling and is not implementing an industrial compost system. The hope is to begin composting at KAT and create a domino effect to encourage other fraternities to compost as well and for composting to be adopted by Tandem properties.
  • Post-Harvest Food Waste Monitoring and Reduction at the UC Davis Student Farm, $1,820.00
  • Project lead(s): Xinyu Ma (Plant Sciences) and Sara Frederich (International Agricultural Development)
    Project description: The primary aim of our project is to monitor food waste at the Student Farm and develop new strategies to reduce food loss. Food waste at the Student Farm will be viewed in a comprehensive manner (i.e. at various stages of the crop’s life cycle from seed to transplants to management during growth in the fields). Efforts to monitor and reduce food waste will be focused on the postharvest life of the crops, specifically at the storage units. This project stems from the idea that an increase in efficiency of handling and management of the produce in the coolers will a) prolong shelf life and b) increase awareness of all the produce stored in the coolers and the order of urgency in which they need to be removed and used. This can be achieved by creating a practical inventory system accompanied by an info chart of relative postharvest lifespans of different products. The ultimate goal of monitoring food loss is to prevent it. 
    F18-9 Post harvest food waste
  • Transforming Campus Mobility with Solar Charging and Energy Visualization, $19,250.00
  • Project lead(s): Beth Ferguson (Assistant Professor of Design), Angela Sanguinetti (Postdoctoral Scholar at the Institute of Transportation Studies), and Justin Benjamin Satnick (Graduate Group in Mechanical Engineering)
    Project description: The West Village Solar Charging Station is an innovative combination of solar technology, transportation infrastructure, and civic place-making. It offers the public the opportunity to gather in the shade while recharging their electric bike or scooter and other mobile electronics. The station reimagines urban infrastructure by providing a shaded seating area for four people during the day and a vibrant, LED-lit space at night. Three solar panels and a battery bank extend the station’s charging capacity into the night and during cloudy weather. The charging station offers integrated USB and electrical outlets for public use. The station will also serve as an energy and environmental information center, with interactive educational displays of solar station operations, campus energy use, and air quality.