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John Maher

John in the DR.

John is a Chemical and Biological Sciences major and involved in the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement, including the alternative break program.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability means to me that something is created by humans that can be maintained successfully without much effort.  

What are you doing to help UB become more sustainable?

I have done multiple things to make UB more sustainable. First of all, I use a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day at the multiple refilling stations across UB. Also, whenever I throw out my trash, I make the extra effort to recycle anything that can be recycled.  Along with that, I help to promote UB’s sustainability efforts across the Western New York community and the nation. I worked with UB’s environmental network to do a cleanup on Grand Island. Also, over the past 2 semesters I have volunteered over 40 hours at Buffalo ReUse, a local non-for-profit organization, which specializes in reusing multiple materials from torn down homes on Buffalo’s East Side for revitalizing new homes. Also, I spent my Winter Break in the Louisiana Wetlands through UB’s Alternative Winter Break. This too helped to spread UB’s sustainability across the entire country. 

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

During my Alternative Break I worked with Jim Simon, UB’s Sustainability Engagement Coordinator, throughout the entire week.  This helped to provide me with a more ‘greener’ feel to all the work I was doing. Also, I have worked with my RA to make sure there is an accessible recycling bin to all the residents on our floor in the residence hall.

How has sustainability impacted your academic pursuits?  

As a chemical engineer, I have realized that sustainability is very important in the coming future. By the time I hit the job market, sustainability will be a huge portion of my work because companies will want to make sure that at least a portion of their company, if not all, is sustainable. So during my academic career at UB, I will have to make sure to take note of all sustainable options, and maybe even take a few environmental engineering courses.

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

One thing I would like people to know is that I use a refillable water bottle because I feel your average citizen does not and that they are unaware of the amount of plastic water bottles they go through in a year. If everyone used a refillable water bottle, they would save money as well as save the environment.

How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?

A few things that UB could do to improve its sustainability efforts are to increase the number of refill stations across campus; they are very easy to use and I think it would increase the number of people using reusable water bottles. Also, I think there should be some sort of reuse station, let me explain. It would be something along the lines of a flea market. I feel like a lot of people around UB use their things and when they are done with them, they throw them out.  I think the sustainability office could host some sort of giant lawn sale where people could try selling their things before tossing them into landfills. Just a thought.  

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