The Academies

UB Environmental Studies Instructor Sandy Geffner leads a Field Ecology class on an instructional walk along the Niagara Gorge.

The Academies are living and learning communities that bring together university faculty, staff, alumni and students to focus on five broad themes:

The Academies

The Academies is a collaborative venture which benefits from the wisdom and curiosity of all members within the university community.

Sustainability related discovery seminars offered through the Undergraduate Academies expose students to key topics in the discipline and ideal for students who want to learn more about the topic but aren’t studying a sustainability related major. Recent seminars have included “Explore Sustainability” and “Sustainable Development.”

Participation in the Undergraduate Academies is open to all UB undergraduate students. If you choose to participate, you can be involved at many different levels by:

●     registering for an Academies’ sponsored seminar

●     residing in the Academies’ residential community

●     attending a variety of workshops, speaking engagements, special trips, and community building events

The level of involvement is completely up to you. You can get involved in a lot of what we do or just sample activities when something strikes your interest.

Many students find that their Academies experience shapes their thinking about their undergraduate program, choice of internship opportunities, career paths, and yes thier outlook on sustainability. Those who participate in the academies at all levels have found that their involvement has helped them to:

●     foster closer relationships with faculty, staff, and students

●     enhance their involvement in university life

●     develop a meaningful connection between academic concepts and out-of-class activities

●     enhance their personal and intellectual growth

●     network and develop valuable career and graduate school references

Sustainability Academy

The Sustainability Academy’s mission is to provide a center for student interest in understanding, developing, and maintaining sustainability. Sustainability is often defined in one of two ways. On the one hand, we say something is sustainable if its use does not reduce future opportunities of its use. On the other hand, sustainability has historically been taken to involve a balance between ecological integrity, economic development, and social equity. Balancing these often competing pressures across time provides the challenge and hope for living well in the modern era. Reflecting on and improving our efforts at negotiating this difficult balancing act is the focal point of the sustainability academy. 

Academies students learn about sustainable practices by examining the subject academically, and by pursuing sustainability initiatives in their own lives, in the university, in the greater Buffalo community, and in the broader world. The sustainability academy facilitates student involvement in collaborative problem solving, addressing some of the most vexing problems of our day. Under the guidance of Academic Director, Kenneth Shockley, Associate Professor of Philosophy, students will:

  • Learn about efforts at sustainability at the personal, local, national, and global levels.
  • Develop an awareness of the interdependence of the ecological, the economic, and the social, and communicate this awareness to the broader academic and nonacademic community.
  • Develop a personal philosophy of sustainability through examination of our own attitudes and behaviors.
  • Enhance their ability to creatively solve problems in a collaborative setting
  • Examine sustainability efforts on campus and in the surrounding community, and use those efforts to develop new sustainability initiatives
  • Recognize the relationship between the university and its surrounding social and ecological environment 

Building Blocks of Sustainability

Sustainability Academy students didn't just learn about Sustainability- they were a part of it! On a beautiful Friday afternoon, they travelled from Love Canal to Silo City, with a stop at Canalside in between! The rich legacy of environmental initiatives and sustainable living solutions in Buffalo was on display. Students spent the afternoon learning and doing with movers and shakers in the field while experiencing the sights of our regions storied environmental legacy and the exciting future that YOU can be a part of. 

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GrowWNY Internship Program

GrowWNY is a hyperlocal source of information about living green, enjoying the outdoors, learning about the environment and the best places eat, live, work and play greener –powered by the Western New York Environmental Alliance (WNYEA). The WNYEA is a group of groups, consisting of over 100 members, supporters and affiliates who are dedicated to preserving Western New York’s natural resources and environment. 

Civic Engagement Academy

  • Mission is to create a campus community linked by our interest in being informed, active and skilled citizens committed to serving the public good.
  • This mission is achieved through curricular and co-curricular activities that create opportunities for students to find an influential role in their university, local, national and global communities.

Global Perspectives Academy

  • Students in this academy explore how individuals, as well as society at large, connect with others around the world.
  • Members are devoted to internationalizing UB and becoming truly global citizens.
  • Promotes skills that help gain a greater awareness of international affairs and encourage an understanding of the global challenges of the 21st century.


Research Exploration Academy

  • Enhances the undergraduate research experience at UB.
  • Embraces the diversity of interests and people on campus.
  • Encourages a deep understanding of research, how it is conducted and how it impacts our local and global communities
  • Prepares undergraduate students for future research endeavors and provides avenues for development of leadership skills


Entrepreneurship Academy

The mission of the Entrepreneurship Academy is to enhance the undergraduate experience at UB and harness students’ creative and innovative spirit. This Academy helps prepare undergraduate students for future business development and provides avenues for enhancing leadership skills. This Academy promotes skills that help students understand the process that goes into taking an idea and turning it into a product, and the skills needed to work with a diverse array of constituents in making ideas turn into realities. In addition, the Entrepreneurship Academy affords students the opportunity to breakdown the mystery of entrepreneurship.