Alan Rabideau, UB professor of civil, structural, and
We asked Alan Rabideau, professor of civil, structural and
environmental engineering, to tell us about his work in, and
thoughts on sustainability.
Tell us about your involvement with the President’s
Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC)?
I co-chair the subcommittee on Teaching, Research, and Public
You were very involved with the process surrounding
UB’s STARS submission. How did STARS help define
sustainability in research and curriculum at UB?
The STARS protocol asked us to identify classes and faculty
members who are “sustainability oriented” and
“sustainability focused”. The most interesting
part of the process was developing a consensus set of definitions
across a wide range of faculty disciplines. (It helped to
have a Philosopher, Ken Shockley, leading this task). What we
discovered was that the UB concept of sustainability is directed at
the *intersections* of environmental, economic, and social
concerns, which are not always obvious when looking at the title of
a class or research project.
What kinds of sustainability related research/projects do you
pursue at UB?
For STARS, we cast a very wide net in identifying relevant
activity. A subset of faculty committee members looked at
lists containing thousands of course offerings each semester, and
we also asked the UB community to self-identify relevant
In my own work, I direct the ERIE
program, which promotes interdisciplinary education and
research in ecological restoration. My research deals with
low-energy technologies for groundwater remediation. I am also
pursuing (slowly) an MA in Philosophy with a focus on environmental
How are students involved in your sustainability
is a very student-centered program, with about 20 current doctoral
students in 7 academic departments. Very interesting and
smart people from diverse back grounds, and it has been a pleasure
to work with them. We also support about 10 undergraduate
students each year in a summer research program. And I work
with a great group of graduate students in environmental
What is the one thing you would like people to know that you
do in your personal life to further
I try to occasionally lower the volume on my electric
guitar. And I bicycle as often as I can.