Education and Leadership Fellows (ELFS) in Sustainability are a group of premier campus student leaders who are committed to educating and engaging their peers, working to cultivate a culture of sustainability at UB, and having a positive impact in our region and beyond. In doing so they will prepare themselves and their colleagues to become the next generation of globally-minded, sustainability literate leaders.
Student leaders will elevate the conversation about sustainability by developing and delivering programs and projects that engage, inspire and empower themselves and their peers to take action and live sustainably, both through their studies and long-term thinking.
Looking to leave your mark on UB's campus? From food systems, to bicyling, the 2019-2020 cohort of Change Agents will choose from one of the following projects to work on throughout the school year.
The League of American Cyclists uses information, advocacy, and promotion to pursue their mission of leading a movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. This is accomplished on many levels, one program being the Bicycle Friendly University accreditation initiative. New York State ranks 23rd among all states, having 4 Bicycle Friendly Communities, 16 Bicycle Friendly Businesses, and 12 BFUs. One of those BFUs is UB, ranking Bronze in 2015.
This project is intended to build upon the laudable achievements of the University to become a BFU and improve the ranking to Silver and eventually Gold. This will be done using the five E’s: Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Evaluation & Planning, and Enforcement, leaving opportunity for all Change Agents to contribute to improving the “bikability” of UB.
Food service is an integral function within the University system, supplying students, faculty, and staff with the necessary energy and sustenance to complete their respective day to day tasks. Acknowledging the importance of a comprehensive food system within this system, the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) seeks to support the university system in optimizing purchasing power to deliver the best food options to the UB community with equal prioritization of the following: Local Economies, Nutrition, Valued Workforces, Environmental Sustainability, and Animal Welfare.
Tasks of this project include: food system research examining the food sources and processes of food products sold at UB, working closely to develop a comprehensive data base of the above factors and UB foods, and reaching out to fellow students to assess their understandings of the foods we consume and what barriers exist between them and GFPP Practice.
A growing issue of global concern is waste, how much is generated and what is and can be done with this waste in order to divert refuse from landfills that are reaching storage capacity. The University at Buffalo has a sophisticated recycling program in conjunction with external partners and contracts in order to appropriately handle waste products, particularly recycled materials including papers, plastics, cardboards, and glass.
The purpose of this project is to effectively apprise students, staff, and faculty of the recycling process, do’s and don’ts of recycling, and overall consumer responsibility pertaining to product consumption and waste. It is the intention of the Change Agents to spur the necessary changes at UB by targeting peers and leveraging specific opportunities to educate and engage others to recycle.
The food system is a complex web of activities involving the production, processing, transport, and consumption. Issues concerning the food system include the governance and economics of food production, its sustainability, the degree to which we waste food, how food production affects the natural environment and the impact of food on individual and population health.
To improve nutrition, food access, sustainability, and reduce food waste; this project aims to develop a comprehensive campus garden to be run by, managed, maintained, and for students to consume. Also, campus researchers estimate approximately one quarter of the student population struggles to have consistent access to nutritional and affordable food, which this food system could improve.
At the campus level, laboratories, on average, consume five times more energy when compared to office spaces or classrooms. Laboratory equipment require energy and other resources such as water at larger quantities for longer periods of time than the typical technical equipment utilized in many other campus environments. Other supplies and products used by laboratories have inherent hazards as they may be chemical in nature or intended for one time use.
These metrics are not limited exclusively to laboratory spaces and there is opportunity for offices as well as classrooms to also green operations and resources to reduce emissions across all UB campuses. This green space certification pilot program at the University at Buffalo, SUNY is intended to provide staff, faculty, and students with the opportunity to reduce the environmental impacts of their labs, offices, and classrooms.
Afforestation provides innumerable benefits. To the local areas where they are planted in, trees provide healthful green space for human activity and native species habitation. They also serve as an offset method of atmospheric carbon sequestration that has been promoted by scientists and experts alike to mitigate the effects of climate change. This project has been adapted from that of TreesCharlotte in conjunction with Duke Carbon Offset Initiative Protocol 2.0; a community planting carbon offset project.
Goals of this project include atmospheric carbon offset by planting trees, improved campus environmental stewardship on a community level, enhanced community-campus partnerships, and augment the presence and impact that the university may have on the immediate community as well as the global populations. The trees themselves may be planted exclusively on university owned lands, however, expanding partnerships with local public schools and other facilities withopen sites may be a goal also.
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