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Improving quality of life, good citizenship remain focus for Heights

students in university heights

Volunteers hand out UB blue “doorhangers” to homes in the Heights containing information telling students who live in the district how to be good neighbors, and permanent residents what to do if they have a problem with students. Photo: Douglas Levere

Published August 31, 2016

“Working together with our partners in University Heights, we are continually developing new approaches, and assessing current ones, to encourage proper behavior by our students.”
Barbara Ricotta, associate vice president for student affairs

UB remains strongly committed to working with students, neighborhood residents and law enforcement to promote good citizenship, cooperation and improving quality of life in University Heights.

Working alongside community partners, university administrators have maintained a yearlong focus on the importance of building mutual respect and strengthening community relationships between UB students, staff and residents of the Heights.

“Working together with our partners in University Heights, we are continually developing new approaches, and assessing current ones, to encourage proper behavior by our students,” says Barbara Ricotta, associate vice president for student affairs.

“We believe the best way to achieve this goal is through a combination of efforts involving the university, Buffalo Police and the community.

“Our efforts this fall include educating students on what is expected of them under UB’s code of conduct,” she says, “and reducing the amount of partying in the neighborhood by offering alternative entertainment options to students and adjusting UB’s busing schedule between the North and South campuses.”

Student Affairs administrators began promoting and reinforcing good community citizenship to first-year students before they arrived on campus.

At orientation in July, first-year students participated in mandatory programming about proper student conduct and acceptable behavior on and off campus. Student behavior also was discussed during parent orientation as part of a “Safety and Community Standards” session presented by Judicial Affairs and University Police.

“Before they even begin classes, the university is educating students about how they should behave in the community and why it is important to be a responsible member of this community,” Ricotta notes.

Again this year, the university will sponsor an opportunity for students and University Heights residents to meet each other through a Neighbor’s Day Block Party and Safety Fair from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Sept. 9 in front of Hayes Hall on the South Campus.

UB staff members already have passed out UB blue “doorhangers” to homes in the Heights containing information telling students who live in the district how to be good neighbors, and permanent residents what to do if they have a problem with students.

The flyers also included helpful information for students about personal safety, food options, housing code compliance and voter registration. 

student party

More on-campus entertainment is planned, such as the inaugural Late Night Welcome Back Bash featuring an EDM concert, food and a paint party that was held as part of Opening Weekend festivities. Photo: Mark Andrew Busch

New alternative entertainment options for students

After a successful pilot program last semester, UB Stampede Late Night Entertainment Fun Runs will provide expanded services this semester to three distinct entertainment areas in Western New York.

Service to select Maple Road attractions will be offered from 7-11:30 p.m. on Thursday and Saturday nights from the North Campus. Service to the Walden Avenue entertainment area, including Galleria Mall, will be offered from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday nights from both the North and South campuses.

On Saturday nights, service will be offered to the Transit Road entertainment area from both the North and South campuses. Additional information and schedules may be found online.

The new bus routes are intended to help reduce the number of students who travel to parties in the Heights.

“We’re hopeful that hundreds of students each weekend will take advantage of these new opportunities,” Ricotta says.

Fifteen hundred students took part in UB’s inaugural Late Night Welcome Back Bash, an EDM concert that featured food and a paint party, held last Saturday night on Opening Weekend on Student Union Field.

Upcoming activities include a Big Blue BBQ on Sept. 3 and a Dodgeball tournament Sept. 16, in addition to the current slate of weekend and evening programming that includes movies and game nights in the Student Union. The university also is developing additional new evening and weekend on-campus programming for the coming semester.

stampede buss

Beginning this weekend, three Stampede buses instead of six will be running between the campuses on weekend nights.

Changes to UB Stampede schedule

UB permanently changed its Stampede shuttle schedule this fall after successfully piloting a new schedule last year.

Beginning this weekend — the first weekend of the fall semester — busing between the North and South campuses will run at 20-minute intervals instead of 10-minute intervals from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. This change in schedule cuts in half the number of buses running between the campuses on weekend evenings (three instead of six buses).

UB’s commitment to safety

UB and the city of Buffalo again have agreed to a memorandum of understanding that enables University Police and the Buffalo Police Department to request assistance from one another when required in the Heights neighborhood.

When an off-campus disturbance, like a house party, is reported to the Buffalo Police Department and arrests are made or summonses issued, members of both police departments and a representative of UB’s Off-Campus Student Services will conduct interviews at the residence in the days following the disturbance to reinforce the concept of community standards.

Long-term stabilization of the neighborhood

Launched last year, the UB H.O.M.E. (Home Ownership Made Easy) program provides incentives for UB faculty and staff to buy homes in the Heights and other neighborhoods near the South Campus. Qualified UB employees are eligible for a combination of interest-free deferred and forgivable loans that can be used to help cover down payments and closing costs, or for interest rate reduction.

The program, designed to encourage home ownership, is a long-term approach to help support stabilization and revitalization in and around the South Campus.  

Two UB faculty members are finalizing paperwork to buy homes in the area and would become the first to buy a home through the program. Dozens of UB faculty and staff bought homes through a similar program that ended in 2009.   Approximately 550 UB employees currently live in the Heights.