We asked Kim Diana Connolly, UB professor of law and vice dean for legal skills, to tell us about her work in, and thoughts on sustainability.
What are you doing to help UB become more sustainable?
The job of a professor provides so many opportunities to teach, demonstrate, and provide service and research in the area of sustainability. For example, the work through the Healthy Homes Legal Practicum brings students out of the law school building to work with community partners in ways that help bring new laws and enforce existing laws for low income Buffalo families living in environmentally unhealthy housing. At the same time, as an individual professor I work with individual and student groups to increase sustainability practices, and to think about ways to make change in our daily lives such avoiding single-use bottles or taking a few extra steps to the recycling bin.
What kinds of sustainability related research/projects do you pursue at UB?
Much of my research has been on the ways we regulate wetlands and related ecosystems in this nation and throughout the world. These vital areas provide such important services to people and other inhabitants of the planet, but are regulated in haphazard ways that are under attack from many directions.
How are students involved in your sustainability work?
Students can work with me for credit through clinics and practicum courses in direct service on sustainability work, and can join my work on pro bono projects with community partners (locally and nationally) on various related issues. I also have research assistants who make my publications and presentations possible.
What is the one thing you would like people to know that you do in your personal life to further sustainability?
I am raising two fabulous children, who will face the ever-more challenging world with a strong sense of the power that they have in protecting its resources, both as individuals and as people who can share their values with friends and society.
How could UB improve its sustainability efforts?
Commitment to sustainability has to come from all levels the energy of students, the leadership of the UB administration, the dedication of faculty and staff. The institution and all stakeholders must support pervasive efforts, even when they take a little more time or money: sustainability must be in the forefront all the time as a matter of course.