Celebrating 10 Years of environmental education, activism, and community! And, eagerly anticipating all that is soon to be offered through SERC's continued growth!
A decade ago, a group of UC Berkeley transfer students organized themselves into a group in order to establish a space they thought would help achieve their goal of an environmentally just world.10 years later, the Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) now employs 5 full-time staff who oversee upwards of 60 students who all have their own individual goals that can broadly be defined as either programming, research, or both. Of these 60 students, about 30 are part-time student staff who are paid by SERC. This money allows our student staff, and full-time staff, to carry out the phenomenal work displayed below, which makes SERC SERC!
Supporting SERC Staff + Interns:
With over 25 student staff, SERC is home to an incredibly talented and passionate team of students seeking out meaningful engagement within the environmental sphere.
Allison Allison is a senior at UC Berkeley who is majoring in Society and Environment and minoring in City Planning, while also working on a UC system-wide pesticide oversight committee. She is our amazing Events Associate and oversees and facilitates large-scale events, such as our earth week in the spring and climate justice week in the fall!
Jade is a junior at UC Berkeley and is majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in African American Studies and an incredibly talented competitive swimmer. She is SERCs inaugural Outdoor Education Associate and has carried out amazing programs, such as hosting kayaking excursions and leading exciting group hikes and swim lessons
Kat is a sophomore at UC Berkeley majoring in Data Science with a minor in Geospatial Information Science and Technology and a former star of one of SERC's incredible membership teams. She is our Green Team Associate and is striving to establish a single-use
Jakobplastic elimination policy and other essential campus-wide green policies.
Jakob is a senior at UC Berkeley double majoring in Political Science and Society and Environment and a fantastic book club leader. He is our Community Engagement Associate and has done an outstanding job at coalescing the efforts of the eco-community on campus, while simultaneously organizing countless events for them.
VarshaVarsha is a senior at UC Berkeley and is double majoring in Data Science and Society and Environment and is an endless source of knowledge for anyone on campus seeking ways to get involved with any aspect of campus. She is our Community Resilience Associate and is tirelessly working to set up needed infrastructure to support underrepresented students within the environmental field at large.
SERC COP27 Delegation
SERC understands the value of communal sharing and learning. Hence, we provide opportunities for students to be able to hear from an array of people and learn from them via supporting the attendance at a conference, or hosting one ourselves! This past fall season SERC was able to send 10 students, from an application pool of over 400 talented students, to go Sharm El-Sheikh for the Conference of Parties (COP) 27. COP is the United Nations-organized international climate change conference that lays out the policy and
COP27 Delegation Panel
finances that will lead international efforts to combat and mitigate climate change. This space allowed for our delegation of students to be able to hear from an array of world leaders across various sectors, as well as accomplished scientists and dedicated grassroots organizers pushing for progress. This group was also given opportunities to have their own voices heard in their conversations with others and at the panel they led while at COP 27.
There is not enough time to begin to describe the number of events and their impact on the surrounding community that SERC events have had over the last 10 years. From educating middle school students to leading student-backed rallies SERC has been doing it all. Our organization has served as a beacon of programming for the community here at UC Berkeley and the scale of impact and size of our goals have only continued to grow. Some examples of the amazing event planning that has taken place this year are SERCs:
Climate Justice Week: Held annually during the fall semester, this is a week-long showcase of events rooted in the philosophy and application of climate justice principles. This year these events involved discussion and education on greenwashing, and what is going on in the local Bay Area environment via a documentary screening. However, events also include setting up art showcases as well as seed-planting groups to showcase the different forms of justice and resilience that can be seen in art or in the act of growing.
Allison and Jacob from Earth Week 2022
Earth Week: Earth Week is very similar in structure to climate justice week in that it is a week of events that seek to engage the community with different aspects of environmentalism. This also serves as a series of events that SERC helps to create space for and host in the spring semester. Last year's events included vermicomposting workshops, an Indigenous-led panel on environmentalism, and an art build for a subsequent rally.
Book Club: SERC has brought back its book club and has found it to be very inspiring for members to envision a better future and methods for reaching that future. Our book club meets about once a month and provides all the materials needed to engage in a dialogue about the book. Many amazing books have been read, including Fresh Banana Leaves by Jessica Hernandez and The Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler.
Environmental Justice Applied: One of SERC's most well-known events is our various environmental justice training, recently known as Environmental Justice Applied. Environmental Justice Applied is a series of training over the school year that are led and created by SERC staff that apply the theoretical teachings within environmental justice to real-world issues and seek to provide information and, if applicable, possible pathways to conceiving solutions for these issues. Past topics have covered e-waste, food justice, and fast fashion.
Nature Education & Wellness Together (NEWT)
The NEWT program will provide education, resources, and experiences for students to access nature in ways that are wellness-oriented, culturally relevant, and financially accessible. Traditional environmentalism in the US is rooted in white supremacy, colonization, classism, and patriarchy, which has prevented many communities from being able to fully benefit from time in nature. Thus, in addition to resources and free local nature events, NEWT will have intentional programming focused on experiences for groups less likely to access nature for mental health, including queer and trans students, students of color, low-income students, and students with disabilities. This is a brand new program that SERC has only launched this year and we are excited for its growth development to come!
SERC provides direct monetary aid to students when possible. However, two scholarships are made available yearly for UC Berkeley students. The two scholarships are known as our "Sister Scholarships" and consist of the SERC Environmentalists of Color Scholarship and the memorial Brian Gialketsis SERQueer Scholarship. The former is rooted in supporting BIPOC environmentalists on campus and their work. The latter is rooted in supporting queer and trans student environmentalists. The name SERQueer comes from the group that Brian and other SERC alumni created in 2018, a group they described as “a community space for queer students working on environmental sustainability & justice”.
SERC cultivates professional development for all members of the campus community and not just our student staff. SERC sets up fireside chats and panels with experts from all facets of environmentalism, be it lawyers, environmental engineers, community organizers and leaders, and so many others. Thus, allowing students to have exposure to various options for post-graduate work and ways to explore their interests in professional settings. SERC also restarted our mentorship program this year which connects students seeking advice and guidance in the environmental industry with alumni or older students with the experience to pass on to them.
SERC itself also serves as a dedicated space for students. By having a physical location on campus, SERC is able to function as a place for students to come and gather and begin to organize. Additionally, SERC can serve as a place for the community to come and host events that are aligned with SERCs own values and goals.
Most importantly though, and what is really at the center of everything SERC attempts to do, is to engage the community. SERC itself was made to be a community, a community of
Food distribution at a community park
individuals who wanted to create a place to help improve the world. A way in which SERC actively engages with the community is through SERCQueer, which provides a place for queer students interested in environmental justice to meet, and a time to come together in the community. Another example is in the programming we do to support budding environmentalist leaders with growth and development, while also providing them a space to get to know one another and cultivate relationships that span different sectors of environmentalism. Another way in which SERC engages the campus community is in its association and work with over 40 different campus clubs in achieving their own goals and facilitating them working together to achieve these goals.
All of this and so much more is why you should donate to SERC today!
Again, SERC is largely student-led and takes an incredible amount of time and dedication from them, and our full-time staff, to carry out and plan such a large degree of programming. With our ever-growing team of students, having added 3 positions this year alone, and an increasing scale and frequency of events SERC now more than ever needs financial support to continue carrying out these vital functions. Hence, why we are asking you all to come and help support SERC carry out its role on campus as the place for all things environmentalism. With your donation, you support the continuance, and growth, of all of the above programs and so much more than what could fit onto this page. This work can not be done without paying our staff and providing materials to carry out all of our events, and with another 10 years of growth in sight now is the perfect time to invest in SERC and help support a greener and more equitable future for society!