Brower Youth Awards

Rachel Barge

Berkeley, CA

Rachel was an avid contributor to various environmental initiatives at the University of California, Berkeley beginning in her freshman year. She realized that one underlying factor preventing her campus from becoming more sustainable was a lack of funding for necessary projects. To overcome this challenge, Rachel co-created The Green Initiative Fund, a student fee referendum passed by the students at Berkeley. The Green Initiative Fund successfully secures more than $2 million over ten years – $200,000 annually – for sustainability projects on campus, including clean energy, sustainable transportation, improved energy efficiency, water conservation, “green” internships, and improved recycling and composting programs. The Green Initiative Fund essentially tripled the amount of sustainability funding available at UC Berkeley and raised awareness about sustainability issues at the University. Rachel also founded The Sustainability Team (Steam), a student internship program now consisting of 60 members dedicated to creating, implementing and leading a variety of projects aimed at establishing sustainable practices. The Sustainability Team implemented the first recycling program in student union buildings and founded the first organic, local, student-run cooperative produce stand on campus.

Profile Film

Award Acceptance Speech