What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability means to be more aware of our environmental impact and to be more proactive in changing our lifestyles. It means to reduce our consumption and to live in a more modest way so future generations can maintain a sustainable quality of life.
What are you doing to help UB become more sustainable?
I study environmental engineering here at the University at Buffalo and I work at the Office of Sustainability. I am involved in Recylemania through I Recycle, Do You? to promote recycling around campus. Recently, I joined a group of environmental students that are starting a campus garden. We’re working hard in developing this sustainable way of producing food! I went to Louisiana as part of UB’s Alternative Winter Break program with thirteen student volunteers as well as Jim Simon and Liz Hladczuk. We were there to offer environmental service to the bayou and coastline of Louisiana. One of the projects we worked on was to prevent the erosion of the coastline by making Christmas tree crib barriers along the intra-coastal waterway.
How you involve UB’s faculty or staff in your sustainability work?
I am working with Jim Simon and Erin Moscati at the Office of Sustainability on projects like Recyclemania. We encourage more recycling and reducing waste in the university. I have taken environmental related classes such as Engineering Impact on Society, which focused on the Grand Challenges of the future and sustainable solutions to those problems, and Environmental Engineering taught by Professor Jensen, which culminated in a final project to design and build a filter that would clean turbid water using only everyday household items.
How has sustainability impacted your academic pursuits?
I am currently in the environmental engineering major and the biggest reason for choosing this field is to find sustainable solutions to the big engineering problems of today’s society. After I graduate, I would like to work on projects related to renewable energy and water treatment. Ultimately, I want to be able to offer service overseas to communities that do not have access to clean water and sanitation.
What is the one thing you would like people to know that you do in your personal life to further sustainability?
My roommates and I make a big effort to recycle by having many designated bags in the kitchen for cardboard, glass, plastics and non-recyclables. We take all the recyclable materials to Wegmans because the complexes where we live do not have separate recycling containers.
How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?
UB should encourage the reduction of energy usage in the dorms in terms of shutting the lights when no one is in the room, stopping the faucet from running when it is not necessary and reducing waste. Also, I think sustainability should be built into the curriculum and raise awareness so students can start thinking about how to reduce their carbon footprint and to live in a more modest, healthy life.