Big Give 2019

BIG GIVE 2019

Sharon Daraphonhdeth (SERC Director)

SERC is made possible by a dedicated team, made up of students, sustainability professionals, and the UC Berkeley environmental community. In the coming few weeks, leading up to Big Give on 3/14/19, we’ll be highlighting and showcasing the people and programs that #MakeSercWerc. 

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Q: How has SERC shaped your life?


A: “I could not imagine a life or career without SERC. SERC has allowed me to stand rooted in my values and beliefs, while working alongside the brightest and passionate students that are advancing the environmental and climate justice movement. The community I have been able to be a part of, grow, and blossom with has positively impacted my life is so many ways. Through SERC, I am able to see how sustainability and environmental justice can be institutionalized. Through SERC, I am co-creating what environmentalism looks like. And through SERC, I am left with much hope for the future.”

These programs and events would not be possible without the support of donors and alumni. Please consider donating on March 14th during Big Give, an annual giving campaign at SERC: http://bit.ly/2iehs6Z

With your contributions, we’re able to make SERC work and continue to develop sustainability programs and services for students at UC Berkeley.

Has SERC positively impacted your life? Share your stories and experiences using #MakeSercWerc #CalBigGive

SERC is made possible by a dedicated team, made up of students, sustainability professionals, and the UC Berkeley environmental community. In the coming few weeks, leading up to Big Give on 3/14/19, we’ll be highlighting and showcasing the people and programs that #MakeSercWerc. 

Dante Gonzalez

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1. Introduce yourself!
Hi! My name is Dante Gonzales and I am the Carbon Crew Team Leader and Environmental Justice Rep at Large for TGIF! My position, as the Carbon Neutrality Initiative Engagement Fellow, has given me the platform to redefine what carbon neutrality efforts look like on our campus and in our community. In tandem with UC Berkeley students, staff, faculty, and various institutions both on our campus and in our community, Carbon Crew hopes to continue our carbon neutrality efforts by working towards institutionalizing more plant-forward/less carbon intensive recipes in our dining halls, hosting unique events and workshops that engage our campus with the goals and strategies of the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, and developing carbon neutrality/environmental curriculum to teach at local K-12 schools in the Berkeley and Oakland area.

2. How has SERC changed your life?
Although I have only been involved with SERC as a staff member for a semester, I can genuinely say that SERC has dramatically changed my life. After being exposed to SERC from Solar Spring Break, I applied to be a SSB director, but Sharon had other plans for me. She saw something in me that I didn’t even see, and she empowered me with a platform that I intend on using to the fullest in terms of achieving carbon neutrality here on our campus. After only one semester, I can easily say that our space and my fellow SERC members are home and I only regret that I hadn’t found them sooner.

3. What’s your favorite SERC moment?
My favorite SERC moment has been our transition into our new space in bNorth. Having a physical space that we can call ours has been so empowering. The slow decoration of it with art, pictures, and other amazing things and just constantly interacting with fellow SERC members has provided me with a space in which I can always come back to.

4. If you had $5000 towards the programs you support , how would you spend it?
If I had $5000, I would give my amazing directors the financial support they deserve for all the amazing things they are currently doing. These 5 directors were a part of my crew in the very first semester we were formed and have blossomed into amazing campus leaders and I couldn’t be more proud of them. In terms of programming, $5000 would help us revolutionize our campus engagement tactics with panels, podcast series, and events to increase the discourse on campus regarding carbon neutrality. For our Food Team, we could increase the frequency and robustness of our Plant-Forward Sampling Events with interactive technology and/or more educational materials to increase campus knowledge of the environmental, and health benefits of these dishes to unleash the full power of student support. For our environmental curriculum team, $5000 could allow us to buy various interactive technology so that we could bolster our lessons. With just some construction paper and a quick yogurt activity, we were able to teach and have an enriching discussion with 25 amazing third graders. On top of that, this money could allow us to expand our curriculum and expand our reach to other schools that may be interested.

These programs and events would not be possible without the support of donors and alumni. Please consider donating on March 14th during Big Give, an annual giving campaign at SERC: http://bit.ly/2iehs6Z

With your contributions, we’re able to make SERC work and continue to develop sustainability programs and services for students at UC Berkeley.

Has SERC positively impacted your life? Share your stories and experiences using #MakeSercWerc

Melissa Jaffe

SERC is made possible by a dedicated team, made up of students, sustainability professionals, and the UC Berkeley environmental community. In the coming few weeks, leading up to Big Give on 3/14/19, we’ll be highlighting and showcasing the people and programs that #MakeSercWerc

Melissa Jaffe (Academic and Professional Development Associate)

1. Introduce yourself! 
My name is Melissa Jaffe, I am the Academic and Professional Development Associate at SERC. I oversee the SERC DeCal and Greener DeCal Fellowship, maintain the Green Jobs Page, and create our Career Series Events and EXPO.

2. What’s your favorite SERC moment?
My favorite SERC moment was getting to meet getting to meet all of my DeCal Fellows, my first semester on staff. One of my favorite parts of my job is working with and supporting a variety of DeCals through pedagogical workshops and helping connect them to environmental resources on and off campus. 

3. How has SERC supported you academically, professionally, and/or personally?
SERC has helped me develop my networking skills and facilitated many professional relationships with a variety of environmental businesses and organizations on and off campus in fields that I am interested in pursuing after college. It has also exposed me to many different environmental resources both on and off campus. 

4If you had $5000 towards the programs you support , how would you spend it? 
 If I had $5000 dollars to go toward my programs at SERC, a portion of my money would go towards fundings more DeCals to join our fellowship. This semester we had over ten DeCals apply to five fellowship positions. Each DeCal in the fellowship is given $200 dollars to use on speaker honorariums and supplies. I would also use the money to fund speakers to come to our Career Series events. Currently, we do not have budget for speaker honorariums which limits who is able to participate in our panels. Having more resources, we could offset the travel costs for our wonderful speakers. 

These programs and events would not be possible without the support of donors and alumni. Please consider donating on March 14th during Big Give, an annual giving campaign at SERC: http://bit.ly/2iehs6Z

With your contributions, we’re able to make SERC work and continue to develop sustainability programs and services for students at UC Berkeley.

Has SERC positively impacted your life? Share your stories and experiences using #MakeSercWerc #CalBigGive

Andrew Chow

SERC is made possible by a dedicated team, made up of students, sustainability professionals, and the UC Berkeley environmental community. In the coming few weeks, leading up to Big Give on 3/14/19, we’ll be highlighting and showcasing the people and programs that #MakeSercWerc. 

Andrew Chow (Solar Spring Break Team Lead)

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Q: Why did you join SERC and how has it changed your life?

A: “As a student passionate about renewable energy and engineering, I joined SERC through Solar Spring Break, a program where students install solar panels in underserved households. Coming into this space, I initially had very little exposure to topics like environmental justice and sustainability. I was purely interested in the engineering and the technology behind clean energy, and rarely thought about how people’s lives were impacted through these changes. It wasn’t until I became more involved with SERC that I began to learn about these issues and the disproportionate impacts that climate change and other environmental issues (air pollution, landfills, etc.) have in various communities. These issues are the culmination of centuries of abusing our planet and its resources, and are now hurting people who don’t have the income or ability to simply move away from a polluted area or purchase solar panels. As a Co-Leader and SERC staff member for the Solar Spring Break Program this year, I am really excited to contribute to GRID Alternative’s mission of bringing clean energy to those who can benefit from it the most (those that can’t afford it). By working with my fellow Co-Leader and a wonderful team of Berkeley students, we can continue this fight against climate change and environmental injustice one roof at a time!”

These programs and events would not be possible without the support of donors and alumni. Please consider donating on March 14th during Big Give, an annual giving campaign at SERC: http://bit.ly/2iehs6Z

With your contributions, we’re able to make SERC work and continue to develop sustainability programs and services for students at UC Berkeley.

Has SERC positively impacted your life? Share your stories and experiences using #MakeSercWerc #CalBigGive

Courtney McGuire

SERC is made possible by a dedicated team, made up of students, sustainability professionals, and the UC Berkeley environmental community. In the coming few weeks, leading up to Big Give on 3/14/19, we’ll be highlighting and showcasing the people and programs that #MakeSercWerc

1. Introduce yourself!
My name is Courtney McGuire, I’m the Vermicomposting Supervisor at SERC. My team and I are bringing a large-scale worm bin to the Clark Kerr dorm’s grounds. We’re going to create a closed-loop there by taking waste from the dining hall, feeding it to our worms and then giving the vermicompost produced to the Clark Kerr Garden and grounds. We also will involve education into our project, for local schools as well as for the campus community. 

2. Why is SERC important to you?
SERC is important to me because it’s given me the opportunity to work in a field I’m passionate about on campus and be compensated for it. There are several environmental organizations on campus but it’s rare for them to pay students, which is why SERC is so important to the campus as a whole. Allowing students to work on environmental efforts and helping them afford college is why SERC is such a vital aspect of the campus community.

3. What’s your favorite SERC moment?
My favorite SERC moment was building the vermicomposting bin. We opened the event to the campus community and had a great group of people come out to help build the worm bin. It felt incredibly special to me because it was a moment that was a longtime coming and I was able to share it with friends. 

4. How has SERC supported you academically, professionally, and/or personally?
SERC has supported me in becoming more confident as a leader and as a member of the Berkeley community. Prior to joining SERC I felt confused about how I ended up at Berkeley and what I wanted from it, and although I still feel this way from time to time, I now feel more of a belonging to the campus community because of SERC. I no longer feel intimidated by the prospect of leading a project, team or even just a meeting because of the numerous opportunities my role in SERC has given me to lead. I’m so grateful for the sense of place SERC has given me and I don’t know if I could’ve received it from anywhere else. 5

Want to get knee deep in learning more about worms? Check out more of what Courtney and her team are doing here:
https://serc.berkeley.edu/zero-waste/vermicomposting/

These programs and events would not be possible without the support of donors and alumni. Please consider donating on March 14th during Big Give, an annual giving campaign at SERC: http://bit.ly/2iehs6Z

With your contributions, we’re able to make SERC work and continue to develop sustainability programs and services for students at UC Berkeley.

Has SERC positively impacted your life? Share your stories and experiences using #MakeSercWerc #CalBigGive