Social impact comes from innovation and at UB, we are committed to fostering that process. By taking a transdisciplinary approach, we can find solutions to some of the most pressing issues in society.
The Social Impact Fellows internship program takes students from the schools of management, social work and arts and sciences, assigning them to a different organization in Western New York where they can enact social innovation. Teams work together to create different and better solutions, learning how to work toward social change, how to pitch and create buy in. It shows students that we have to come together to make this work.
Our entire community benefits from this structure, from students, who are learning to solve problems and collaborate, to community organizations, that benefit from programs designed to meet their needs. UB understands that a broader lens is required to find bold solutions and the Social Impact Fellows program tasks graduate students from different schools to work together and put ideas into action.
Treating systemic problems takes students from different backgrounds. This work benefits the people in Western New York. Students have come up with clothing programs that helps immigrants keep close ties to their culture, a bed-building and storage program and an awareness campaign for affordable childcare. These programs enhance quality of life, create jobs and benefit the entire community.
“Buffalo is going to have a continued renaissance, but for it to be sustained and for us to lift all boats, it’s going to take people thinking differently,” said Sheri Scavone, CEO of the Western New York Women’s Foundation. “The marriage of disciplines, or transdisciplinary approach, of this fellowship is a great opportunity to bring lots of minds to the table.”
In this summer-long program, students are coming to the table with solutions that are different and better than what has previously been accepted. Many of the organizations that students are paired with have faced problems for years and a fresh perspective can make a world of difference. Giving scholars the opportunity to work together to solve these complex obstacles prepares them for their own futures as leaders.
Karlie Lawson, MSW/MPH candidate, Jesse Orrange, Humanities Master’s Candidate and Sydney March, BS ’20 and MBA Candidate, worked together in the Social Impact Fellowship program to find solutions to childcare and reimagine what is possible for families. Now, more than ever there is a need for childcare that is often not recognized. These fellows worked to fit the parameters of the program to the Western New York Women’s Foundation.
By seeking solutions routed in their own disciplines, the fellows learned from each other, and by examining the socioeconomic impact of childcare, the fellowship cohort worked together to find ways to enact change through business. Social entrepreneurship helps students focus on self-sustaining solutions that benefit a wide range of community members. This project gives organizations the solutions to keep their doors open. “Being part of a business gives you the opportunity to be a part of that change,” said March. “Use it.”
Your investment in UB will make a difference for a cause that matters to you: whether you make a gift to the UB Fund, support a scholarship for one UB student, sustain the work of a professor who will inspire thousands, or fund a cancer cure that saves the lives of millions. Every gift counts!
At UB, we are committed to fostering social innovation. Working together, across boundaries, schools, industries, and organizations, we can find solutions to some of the most pressing issues in society. Explore some of the other ways people have invested in a more robust culture at UB that has provided a variety of opportunities for our students.
How can we design more equitable cities? What does justice mean in today’s society? How do we ensure that diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of decision-making? At UB we strive to address these (and other) essential questions, instill core values in our students, and create more just communities here in Buffalo—and far beyond. As the world around us rapidly changes, so too does the law. It’s our mission to be the catalyst of that change, and provide access to education regardless of what students look like or where they come from, rooted in a strong foundation of social justice.
If we were to ask you about art capitals of the world, chances are you’d say Paris or Rome. New York. Maybe even Los Angeles or Miami. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to add Buffalo to that list. There’s an urban renaissance happening in Western New York, and the University at Buffalo is driving the charge.
Lack of talent has never been the issue for Buffalo.The problem’s been keeping it here. Especially for our art students. Our Arts Collaboratory, conceived out of the Dean’s Office at the UB College of Arts and Sciences, was designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration between the arts across campus, to build community, and, ultimately, to turn Queen City into a thriving hub for artistic expression.
This is ushering in a new chapter for Buffalo, creating opportunities for citizens and students alike, and revitalizing the city in the process.