What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is an active social response to recognizing the world as a finite system. There is substantial evidence showing that if we don’t reduce our consumption and exercise energy efficient means of production we will diminish the quality of life of future generations. I personally attempt to live more sustainably because I hope to leave the legacy that my generation understood and respected the Earth rather than simply leaving behind poisoned lakes, mountains of plastic, and industrial wasteland.
What are you doing to help UB become more sustainable?
A majority of the work I do to improve UB’s efforts in sustainability has come out of being in the co-ed environmental professional fraternity, Alpha Kappa Chi. Our brothers have formed one of the largest environmental networks at UB, allowing us to motivate and in some cases create actual change towards accomplishing a more sustainable university. We have participated in the Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER shoreline sweeps along Ellicott creek, supported the development of the North Campus garden project, and have utilized the stage provided by UB’s Earth Week celebration to express our passions and lifestyle choices to other students. I owe a lot to the brothers who have paved the way thus far and hope that my work as President will strengthen the influence of people who truly desire a more sustainable society.
How do you involve UB’s faculty or staff in your sustainability work?
The inspiration I have acquired from my professors as an environmental geosciences major is but one of the many opportunities I have had to work with UB’s faculty. I have come to realize that collaboration with environmental professionals is enormously beneficial to finding career opportunities after graduation. Therefore, I eagerly accept all chances to get to know those at UB who are willing to inspire and support environmentally conscious students. Jim Simon, UB’s sustainability engagement coordinator and advisor to my fraternity, has opened many doors for me and is someone I believe any student who desires to convey their enthusiasm towards sustainability in their career should become acquainted with while at UB.
How has sustainability impacted your academic pursuits?
Freshman year I started out as a biomedical major simply because I thought a career in medicine would satisfy my desire to help people and assure employment upon graduation. However, I soon realized that although medicine certainly helps people, it isn’t the only means to improve the welfare of society. I thought a lot about what I was passionate about and found that inspiring others to be active in making their communities more resilient though sustainability was something I not only would be proud of but would enjoy doing. Since I was nine years old I’ve made short films, but I had only ever seen it as a hobby until I came to college and realized the potential I had been building all these years to advocate social change through media. Integrating my comprehension of humanity’s role within nature along with my ability to illustrate meaningful and interesting narrative through film is what I hope to be my life’s work.
What is the one thing you would like people to know that you do in your personal life to further sustainability?
I really enjoy biking and strongly encourage others to take it up. It amazes me how many students complain about not being able to find parking at a campus in which they drive less than 5 miles to get to daily. Bike riding, along with using public transportation, is a simple daily practice that can contribute to reducing one’s own carbon footprint and put money that would otherwise be spent on gas towards the local economy.
How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?
I believe keeping an open dialogue with the student body is essential to UB’s sustainability efforts. There are many environmentally conscious innovators that will notice the diverse initiatives the university has made concerning sustainability including our undeniably impressive solar strand and surprisingly want even more. Areas of the world suffering with environmental injustice lack any sort of communication between the offenders and the victims and by allowing students who care utmost about sustainable solutions to work with faculty to realize their ambition, UB will contribute to fostering generations of students that will actively campaign for sustainable legislation and customs.