UC Berkeley News


Student wins environmental-leadership award

| 31 October 2007

A Berkeley student is among six young North American environmental leaders to win a 2007 Brower Youth Award for her work in boosting funding for environmental sustainability on the Berkeley campus.

Rachel Barge

Rachel Barge, 21, a junior majoring in conservation and resource studies and minoring in forestry, has been honored for spearheading such campus projects as The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), which finances programs focused on clean energy and transportation, water conservation, and improved recycling and composting.

As director of sustainability on campus for the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), Barge founded the Sustainability Team, a 60-member group whose projects have included converting the campus's transportation fleet to biodiesel and establishing Berkeley's first student-run cooperative organic- produce stand.

"The greatest honor was the opportunity to work with my incredible fellow Cal students to make TGIF happen," says Barge. "I didn't do it alone - I have them to thank, and they share this award with me."

The Brower Youth Award is bestowed annually on young environmentalists selected by the San Francisco-based Earth Island Institute, which was founded in 1982 by the late environmentalist David Brower. The organization provides support for conservation and preservation projects and recognizes leaders in these areas.

"Rachel is smart, impassioned, and, above all, energetic," says David Phillips, executive director of Earth Island Institute. "She isn't waiting for environmental solutions to come down from those in power. She is taking action now to conserve, protect, and restore the earth."

Winners of the Brower Youth Award each receive a $3,000 cash prize and are called upon to participate in skill-building and mentoring workshops to develop future environmental leaders.