Sustainability Academy students volunteered at a
community garden on Aug. 21 as part of an Undergraduate Academies
Eco-minded students will have the chance to intern with
environmental organizations and get a behind-the-scenes look at
UB’s operations this year, thanks to the university’s
new Sustainability Academy.
The program, launched this fall, is one of five Undergraduate
Academies that enable students with shared interests to
live and learn together at UB.
Each academy hosts activities unique to its theme, ranging from
seminars to movie nights. The Entrepreneurship Academy co-sponsors
an entrepreneur’s bootcamp this fall, for instance, while the
Civic Engagement Academy organizes service learning events that
bring students into Buffalo to work with organizations like Buffalo
In its inaugural year, the Sustainability Academy will host
seminars related to sustainability, facilitate student
participation in a wide range of projects like the planting of a
food garden on UB’s North Campus next spring, and place
undergraduates in internships with GrowWNY through the Western New
York Environmental Alliance. Partners that play a key role in
helping to facilitate these and other activities include the UB
Office of Sustainability and Campus Dining & Shops.
Academy members can live in residences including Lehman Hall,
where the university is planning to install dashboards that track
— in real time — how much energy the building is using.
The devices will give residents a means to monitor their collective
consumption and compare past and current usage.
In the future, this technology will complement another
opportunity for students: There are plans to provide students the
chance to see how various UB facilities, like low-waste dining
halls run by Campus Dining & Shops, operate behind the
“We aim to give Sustainability Academy students the tools
to productively reflect on the impact they are having here on
campus and throughout their life,” said Kenneth Shockley, the
program’s academic director. “We want to use the
university and the community as a living laboratory. We want
students to see how we can live more responsibly, and how they
might tread lightly on the planet.”
The Sustainability Academy’s first class includes 48
freshmen majoring in many different fields.
Many of the students participated in their first academy event
on Aug. 21, heading out to the city of Buffalo to weed, shovel and
build paths in community gardens as part of a service learning day
that brought all five Undergraduate Academies together.
The event, which benefited Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo and the
Food Bank of WNY, was the first of many this year that partners the
Sustainability Academy with other organizations within and outside
Other major sustainability-themed activities in 2013-14 will
include the Office of Sustainability’s ongoing Sustainability
Film Series, which is open to the public. The next
screening, on Sept. 19, is of “A Fierce Green
Fire,” which chronicles the environmental movement of the
past half century, examining issues from conservation to climate
For more information on UB’s Undergraduate Academies,
which currently serve 950 students, visithttp://www.academies.buffalo.edu/index.php.