Published May 1, 2014
Developing a website can be time-consuming and costly. Fortunately for the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable, it was neither.
That’s because UB students built the nonprofit a website quickly and at no cost. Another student group is developing a marketing plan for the roundtable, a network of companies and organizations that aims to build a culture of sustainability and improve business practices in the Buffalo Niagara region by providing businesses with tools to become more competitive, efficient and environmentally responsible.
The projects illustrate how the university’s teaching and research missions intertwine with community outreach. Plus, they align with university initiatives that emphasize having students engage with local business and creating a more sustainable region.
Six undergraduate students working under Domenic Licata, an instructor in the Department of Visual Studies, created the website during five harried weeks earlier this spring. One of the students, Ashlee Foster, a junior communication design major, said in an email that the deadline was “a bit daunting,” but she and her classmates felt obligated to complete the project on time.
“Although it wasn’t necessary to finish the website, I felt the need to go above and beyond to really help the Sustainable Business Roundtable because I really believe in the contributions they are making to the environment,” Foster said.
The results speak for themselves. The website clearly and accurately introduces visitors to what the roundtable is and what it plans to accomplish, said Deb Gondek, director of sustainability for Rich Products Corp., one of roughly 30 companies to join the group.
“Not only is it intuitive and easy to navigate, but the UB team delivered a professional tool in an incredibly tight timeframe,” Gondek said. “Thanks to their expertise and many long hours of work in addition to their studies, we made an outstanding first impression at our Earth Day kickoff.”
In addition the website, a team of MBA students working under Nick Everest, adjunct assistant professor of organization and human resources in the School of Management, is creating a marketing plan for the roundtable. To be presented to the roundtable later this month, the plan includes recommendations on how to plan for long-term management and growth.
One of the students, Errick Cholewa, said the project has been fun and rewarding.
“Helping the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable go public has been a great experience for the entire team and we are grateful we could be a part of it,” he said. “We look forward to having our recommendations make a difference in the Western New York business community.”