Sustainable Living Committee

people biking.

On this page:

Committee Charge

The Sustainable Living Committee seeks to cultivate and support a culture of sustainability at work, at home and in the community by coordinating educational programs, tours, initiatives and events. Through shared experiences that focus on building knowledge, skills and experience, the committee works to empower staff, faculty and students to integrate sustainability into their everyday mindset and behaviors. The committee is open to anyone with a personal and/or professional interest in sustainability, and there’s something for everyone—whether a seasoned environmentalist or someone new to being green. We meet monthly and strive to coordinate 2 to 3 signature events/projects each year.

Recent Initiatives

  • Electronics and clothing recycling events.
  • The annual sustainability fair, which provides an opportunity to learn from more than 30 local sustainability and environmental organizations in WNY, and showcases a selection of local food producers as part of the Pride of NY Program supported by UB Campus Dining & Shops.
  • Sponsor and arrange campus sustainability related tours and informative lectures that seek to educate staff about UB’s sustainability initiatives and operations along with important regional and national sustainability challenges and solutions.

Specific Goals

  • Sharing governance and influencing the UB Community to consider sustainability in making mindful and conscious decisions about living and working sustainably.
  • Demonstrating for and educating staff, faculty, students and UB partners about the Four Pillars of Sustainability (society, economy, environment, resilience) in these topical areas:
    • Transportation
    • Consumer Choices
    • Sustainable Agriculture
    • Energy Consumption
    • Buying Local
    • Ecology
    • Social Justice
    • Business Endurance
    • Community Service
    • Economic Vitality and Efficiency
    • Wellness
    • And more

Committee Events and Initiatives

Caught Green Handed

people being sustainable.

The PSS Sustainable Living Committee is recognizing members of the UB community who display excellent examples of going green through our Caught Green Handed initiative. Going green can be as simple as taking alternate transportation to work, to making your own clothing from recycled materials. Everyone can do something to make their carbon footprint smaller, and we’d like to recognize those who have been extra creative with their approach to life and work.

Please use the form below to nominate yourself or someone you know and tell us how they are going green and why you think they should win. The winner will be featured in the next PSS Newsletter and will receive a gift from the Sustainable Living Committee to show our appreciation for your extra efforts!


Committee Members

Chair: Don Erb

Vice Chair: Janiece Jankowski

Current Members: Donna Banach, Donna Czaja, Sara Goodman, James Gordon, Hugh Jarvis, Kenneth Kern, Raymond Kohl, Douglas Levere, Domenic Licata, Erin Moscati, Todd Nibbe, Matthew Reitmeier, Tony Waleszczak

Home Sustainability Tips

sustainability graphic.

The committee has gathered a list of many ways you can make your home and life sustainable.

View List

  • Switch imported products for USA made products.
  • Switch to a sustainable search engine like Ecosia. They use some of their profits to plant trees and they run on 100% renewable energy.
  • Turn off the lights when you’re not in a room.
  • Instead of using your dryer to dry your clothes, hang your clothes outside. You save energy and they smell great.
  • Consider cloth diapers. An upfront investment for years of savings to the planet and your pocketbook. Now is a perfect time with people going to stores less and limited selection/availability.
  • Juice the cut-offs of your vegetables and fruits.
  • Eat little or no meat. Make Your Next Meal Plant-Based. Animal agriculture requires vast amounts of land and water, driving global deforestation. It also accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A single pound of beef requires 1,800 gallons of water. A plant-based burger generates 90% less GHGs, uses 99% less water and has 93% lower land impact.
  • Don't let water run while you brush your teeth.
  • Turn off lights when not in room.
  • Turn your heat down 5 degrees and put on a sweater to save money/energy.
  • Set your air conditioning to be cooler in the evening/overnight and warmer during the day to save money/energy.
  • Open your windows for a half hour each day to get fresh air into your house.
  • A backyard wildlife habitat or "naturescape" can be created in your own backyard. A miniature version can even be created on your patio or deck. Basic elements include fresh water (i.e., a bird bath and, if in a yard, water low to the ground), plants and feeders that provide nourishment for birds, insects, etc., and rocks, trees, bushes and/or bird houses for shelter and nesting. Purchase plants that are native to your area. The National Wildlife Federation has an excellent program: The Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program, which provides some helpful, detailed examples. Lawns can be replaced/supplemented with a rock garden/hardy plants. 
  • Dispose of the following products at a hazardous waste facility:
    • Building materials - paint, varnish, paint-thinner, solvents, rust remover, wood preservatives and driveway sealer.
    • Automotive products - gasoline, transmission oil, brake fluid, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid, power steering fluid, used motor oil, used oil filters, used antifreeze.
    • Household cleaners - spot removers, rug cleaners, metal cleaners, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaner, drain cleaner.
    • Pesticides - insect killers, weed killers, flea products, moth crystals, fertilizers with weed killer.
    • Miscellaneous - photographic chemicals, acids and corrosive chemicals, pool chemicals, compact fluorescent light bulbs (mercury), mercury thermometers, Ni-Cd batteries.
  • Observe an Eco-Sabbath: for one day, afternoon or hour per week, don't buy anything, don't use machines, don't switch on anything electric, don't cook, don't answer your phone and, in general, don't use any resources.
  • As much as possible, create a tree-free home by replacing paper napkins with cloth napkins, replacing paper towels with a special set of cloth towels/napkins (or cut up old t-shirts for great towels) - store the used ones in a small container or drawer in your kitchen and just wash and reuse.
  • Leave messages for family members/roommates on a reusable message board.
  • Stop junk mail at work and home.
  • Create or join a fixers collective in your community to get together once a month or so to help each other repair broken appliances and other household items.  Learn to fix/repair, rather than buy new.
  • Help Launch Sustainable Packaging! As a customer, you have enormous power to help launch the sustainable packaging movement. Many companies are now exploring ways to maximize nontoxic recyclable and compostable packaging content. Please email the companies you purchase products from and ask them to consider switching to 100% sustainable packaging - the Sustainable Packaging Coalition is a great resource to suggest as a starting point. Most companies really listen to their customers. You'll be surprised how many respond (and you may receive some great coupons for your trouble!)
  • When shopping online, remember to keep shopping local.
  • Support businesses that need our support. During COVID 19, order out and utilize curbside pickup for your favorite stores.
  • Where clothing is concerned, many large companies (Nike) are making apparel and footwear out of upcycled marine waste - kind of cool.
  • Continue to get outdoors and spend time visiting parks, riding bicycles, hiking, climbing, etc.
  • Ration paper material use at home (keep using sparingly as though there is always a pandemic)
  • Recycle everything possible. When shopping for convenience, only purchase products that are able to be recycled.
  • COVID-19 is a good time to sort your closets, cupboards, drawers in order to be in a position to donate when your community reopens.
  • Recycle torn/stained clothes as rags or make toss rugs, bags, etc.
  • Support rental shops, e.g. bikes, tools.
  • Consider donating a little extra to your favorite charities that have been hit hard by this crisis.
  • Keep your medical appointments up-to-date as much as possible. Keep yourself healthy even in times of crisis. Doctors are taking preventative medicine phone calls.
  • Get your important life documents in order (power of attorney, will, health care proxy).
  • Practice good mental health habits (meditation/mindfulness) to help with life’s stressors. To that end, check in with friends and family that would appreciate a listening ear.
  • Take time to learn new skills when working from home to make yourself better-rounded when you return to your office.
  • There are lots of great ways to get involved in projects to help monitor animal species for scientists and conservationists:
  • More tips for living sustainably

See How UB is Sustainable

UB Renew
UB Renew
University at Buffalo launches Communities of Excellence initiative
University at Buffalo launches Communities of Excellence initiative
Inspiring Sustainability in Buffalo-Niagara
Inspiring Sustainability in Buffalo-Niagara
Moving towards zero waste at UB
Annie Leonard Speaks at UB
Annie Leonard Speaks at UB
Bikes on UB Stampede
Bikes on UB Stampede