Aubrey Beckinghausen

UB Student Aubrey Beckinghausen is the Environmental Director of the Student Association and one of eight students that was critical to UB's submission to the Sustainability Tracking Assessment Rating System (STARS). Aubrey also currently serves as the undergraduate student respresentative on UB's Environmental Stewardship Committee

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability is the ability for an act to continue the way it is operating for an infinite amount of time. It encompasses people, economy and environment and how they all work together.

What are you doing to help UB become more sustainable?

I am the Environmental Director for the Student Association, so I advocate on behalf of students environmental concerns. My department is currently working on a project that will hopefully lessen if not eliminate the university selling plastic water bottles in vending machines to promote the use of reusable water bottles and cut down on plastic waste at the university. Other than this project we also have multiple events every semester to teach students how to live more sustainably by making simple changes like shutting off the lights when not in use or choosing local foods instead of imported products.

How do you involve UB’s faculty or staff in your sustainability work?

I hope to get the faculty and staff on board with the water bottle plan to help the university cut down on the plastic waste. We also invite faculty and staff to the events we hold educating the university on sustainability and environmental issues to get them involved.

How has sustainability impacted your academic pursuits?   

What I have learned about sustainability has enhanced my academic career by allowing me to be more well rounded. Professional careers depend not only on the economy, but also on people and the environment. I have decided to focus on public health and environmental engineering in the future because I believe both are connected and also are involved in important ongoing issues in society today.

What is the one thing you would like people to know that you do in your personal life to further sustainability?

To further sustainability in my own life, I promote recycling in my house as much as possible, and try to carpool or take the subway whenever possible instead of driving.

How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?

UB could improve its sustainability efforts most efficiently by focusing on facilities. Changing to more efficient light bulbs and water heaters is always helpful. UB could use more motion-sensored lights so that classrooms and bathrooms don’t stay lit when no one is there, and low flow toilets could cut down on water useage. UB made a great step toward sustainability with the solar array, and we should continue with that theme and pursue more “green power” options.