The WNY Sustainability launched on Earth Day 2014.
Developing a website can be time-consuming and costly.
Fortunately, for the Western New York Sustainable Business
Roundtable, it was neither.
That’s because University at Buffalo students built the
nonprofit a website quickly and at no cost. (Another student group
is developing a marketing plan for the roundtable).
The projects illustrate how the university’s teaching and
research missions intertwine with community outreach. Plus, they
align with university initiatives that emphasize having students
engage with local business and creating a more sustainable
Six undergraduate students working under Domenic Licata, an
instructor in the Department of Visual Studies, created the website
during five harried weeks earlier this spring. One of the students,
Ashlee Foster, a junior communication design major, said in an
email that the deadline was “a bit daunting” but she
and her classmates felt obligated to complete the project on
“Although it wasn’t necessary to finish the website,
I felt the need to go above and beyond to really help the
Sustainable Business Roundtable because I really believe in the
contributions they are making to the environment,” Foster
The results speak for themselves. The website
clearly and accurately introduces visitors to what the roundtable
is and what it plans to accomplish, said Deb Gondek, director of
sustainability for Rich Products Corp., one of roughly 30 companies
to join the group.
“Not only is it intuitive and easy to navigate, but the UB
team delivered a professional tool in an incredibly tight
timeframe,” she said. “Thanks to their expertise and
many long hours of work in addition to their studies, we made an
outstanding first impression at our Earth Day kickoff.”
In addition the website, a team of MBA students working under
Nick Everest, adjunct assistant professor organization and human
resources in the School of Management, is creating a marketing plan
for the roundtable. To be presented to the roundtable later this
month, the plan includes recommendations on how to plan for
long-term management of and growth.
One of the students, Errick Cholewa, said the project has been
fun and rewarding.
“Helping the Western New York Sustainable Business
Roundtable go public has been a great experience for the entire
team and we are grateful we could be a part of it,” he said.
“We look forward to having our recommendations make a
difference in the Western New York business community.”