Release Date: April 20, 2007 This content is archived.
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo is looking for some new angles on its campuses -- literally.
The university has launched "Framing UB," a year-long photo and video contest for students, faculty and staff. Participants will be invited to submit digital images and brief commentaries about their favorite -- and not-so-favorite -- places on UB's North (Amherst), South (Main Street) and downtown campus centers. The contest Web page is at http://www.buffalo.edu/ub2020/plan/.
Photographs with short essays and videos with voice-over commentaries submitted to "Framing UB" will complement the "hard data" that will be gathered from building-by-building audits and other studies conducted in conjunction with development of a comprehensive physical master plan for the university.
"We're not afraid to take a hard look at the quality of our campus centers because we are determined to make them better," said James A. "Beau" Willis, interim executive vice president for finance and operations. "We're determined to create memorable places and environments to support vibrant, intellectual communities."
"We're building a case for place," added Robert G. Shibley, UB professor of architecture and planning and a senior advisor to UB President John B. Simpson. Shibley is overseeing development of UB's master planning process that will result in a physical plan for dramatically transforming the university during the next 15 years.
"It's important that people have a sense of ownership and some genuine ability to influence the course of this plan," explained Shibley, director of the Urban Design Project in the School of Architecture and Planning. "We want to engage the various publics affected by UB's master plan as aggressively and comprehensively as possible."
He noted that the university's faculty, staff and student organizations, departments and clubs already are participating in the process of reviewing aspects of the master plan.
"But often in these institutional engagements, you lose the individual," said Shibley.
"Framing UB," he said, is one of several ways the university will ensure that the voices of individuals are heard.
The idea behind "Framing UB" is to "see" through the eyes of their users the North Campus, the South Campus and the downtown campus, including, but not limited to, UB's New York State Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics and Life Sciences on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
"When we look through a camera and capture images we frame," reads the introduction on the contest Web page, "we frame the world. Some things we choose to frame in; others we frame out. In doing so, we make an evaluative commentary on the world as we see it -- or want to see it."
Bradshaw Hovey, Ph.D., associate director of The Urban Design Project in the School of Architecture and Planning and contest coordinator, said the goal "is to give people an opportunity to express themselves and also to gather a dataset of perceptions about our campus centers."
"We're asking people to look critically at their campus environments and that means making judgments about what should be preserved and what they want to change. As a result, I think we will understand what's working and what's not working a whole lot better than we do now."
Participants are urged to photograph places that are important to them, places they value and places that have meaning to them, Hovey said. These may include places where they live, study, go to class, socialize, work, play, rest, travel, people-watch or take contemplative refuge on campus. They also should include places that individuals think should be preserved and those that should be improved or changed.
"The contest submissions will add value to the hard data being gathered by the comprehensive physical planning process," said Shibley, "to the extent that it helps us identify problems and quantify the severity of a problem or the strength of conviction people have about preserving a particular place."
Anyone in the UB community will be able to submit images and accompanying commentary; individuals may submit up to one set of images and one commentary of up to 250 words per month. Submissions will be made through users' MyUB pages and through the "Building UB" project page at http://www.buffalo.edu/ub2020.plan/.
The contest is open now through next April, in part to give participants a chance to capture images of the campus centers in all four seasons and to give time for members of the UB community to generate a portfolio of images that can help inform the planning.
The contest may also document how the perceptions of the campuses by UB students, faculty and staff change over time as early elements of the plan are implemented, Hovey suggested.
Winning submissions will be posted on the site on a continuing basis starting in May. A final exhibit of the "best of the best" will be held next spring. Some images may become part of the actual master plan document.
Submissions will be reviewed and selected by staff of the Urban Design Project and members of the consulting team on the comprehensive physical plan.