Student Assistants

UB Sustainability wouldn't be able to get all the work it does without the help from our amazing student assistants!

Janel Abbott

Janel Abbott.

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

My name is Janel Abbott. I’m from Aurora Colorado and I am majoring in Chemical & Biological Engineering. My personal passion is hiking fourteeners in the Rocky Mountains.

2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?

UB Sustainability offered me the chance to work on Governor Cuomo’s REV Grant – an energy initiative to generate 100 MW of clean renewable energy. This grant will give me insight as to what practices Buffalo is doing to change its viewpoints on renewable and sustainable energy systems.


3. What do you love most about UB?

I enjoy the variety of opportunities UB offers to its students.


4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

In 25 years, I hope to see more women and underrepresented minorities in all of the STEM fields at UB.  


5. Fun fact/secret skill

My fun fact is that I can play the viola.

Jun Yan Chen

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

My name is Jun Yan Chen. I was born and raised in China, now live in Brooklyn, New York. I am a senior majoring in graphic design. I always feel inspired and passionate about art and design.

2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?

I decided to work with UB sustainability because I am impressed with the work and positive impact that UB Sustainability has done and brought to the Buffalo community. I also feel it is important to use what I have learned here in UB and make my own contribution back to the campus and community.

3. What do you love most about UB?

The thing that I enjoy the most about UB is diversity. You can meet with people from anywhere around the world. UB also provides diverse programs, classes, and events that you can always find something that you feel passionate about.

4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

When I visit UB in 25 years, I hope that we have created a zero-waste economy in UB. Also, there is a tunnel that connects the Center for the Arts building with the rest of the building on the North campus.

5. Fun fact/secret skill

One fun fact about me is that I know how to knit a scarf. 

Allison DeMaria

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

My name is Allison DeMaria and I am from Rochester, NY.  I recently moved to Buffalo full time and am a first year graduate student is the Advanced Certificate of Sustainability Program.  My passion is environmental education and working with all different types of people!

2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?

I decided to work with UB sustainability because I love the goals set in place to keep UB on the sustainability path and love would love to share their work with UB and the surrounding communities.


3. What do you love most about UB?

My favorite thing about UB is its huge student body.  I love seeing and meeting new people every day.


4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

In 25 years I hope to find that UB achieved its goal of carbon neutrality and has a diverse body of students passionate about sustainability on campus.

5. Fun fact/secret skill

My fun fact is that I spent a month in the Florida Everglades hiking through the swamps to learn about its  ecosystem.

Grace DeSantis

 Grace.

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion
Hi! My name is Grace DeSantis. I'm from East Aurora, NY and am in the second and final year of the Master in Urban Planning program here at UB. I'm also pursuing the Advanced Certificate in Sustainability. I'm passionate about green infrastructure and environmental planning and, for recreation, I love to go camping and hiking (especially in the Adirondack high peaks region). 


2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?
I decided to work with UB Sustainability because I was impressed and inspired by the team's capacity to encourage sustainable practices not only across the campuses, but also within local communities. Being a part of this team gives me the opportunity to apply my skill sets in urban planning and environmental science and influence positive change in the Buffalo-Niagara region.


3. What do you love most about UB?
My favorite aspect of UB is the university's dedication to community engagement and participation in local initiatives. In most of my classes, we are meeting with community stakeholders, going on field visits, and working on projects rooted within the community. This gives students the opportunity to learn about their academic studies in real-life and up-close contexts.


4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?
When I visit UB in 25 years, I hope to find an improved integration of green infrastructure and indigenous plant species throughout the campuses. I also hope to find the campus body less reliant on single-occupant vehicles and better served by public transportation and shared mobility services.


5. Fun fact/secret skill
A fun fact about myself is that I was an English instructor in Costa Rica for a few months.

Mike McDonald

Mike McDonald.

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

My name is Mike McDonald from Syracuse, NY. I’m a Senior in the School of Management for Supply Chain & Operations Management and International Business. I have a passion for mobility, as well as repairing and re-using.

2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?

I was inspired to work with sustainability initiatives before my transfer into UB. Right away I joined the Education Leadership Fellows in Sustainability, this gave me a platform to act and engage with my new institutional peers and participate in transformative conversation which shape our university. The question now should be; why do I decide to stay? Consistently I am faced with new challenges which offer fresh lessons. As long as I am with UB Sustainability- the conversation continues and so does my opportunity to advocate on behalf of the communities impacted by our University.

3. What do you love most about UB?

The sky is the limit. Whether be it scholarship funding for a conference or workshop, a competition to exercise your new skills and interests, or faculty and staff members that you would also consider mentors. The University community is always receptive to big ideas; abundant opportunities and resources make ideas digestible.

4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

In 25 years, I hope that we achieved the net zero carbon emissions goal by 2030, achieved true zero-waste throughout the entire University, more transparent intra-campus food systems, and an earned Platinum AASHE STARS rating.

5. Fun fact/secret skill

I love supporting my musician friends and attending shows; working the merch table is always good fun when the occasion arises!

Sydney Zuckerman

Syd Xuckerman.

1. Name, hometown, year, major and personal passion

My name is Sydney Zuckerman and I'm from Olean, NY. I'm a first year Urban Planning graduate student. My passions are sustainable food systems, alternative agricultural methods, the politics behind implementing sustainable policies and how to increase public support of those policies. 

2. Why did you decide to work with UB Sustainability?
I decided to work for UB Sustainability because I was impressed by UB's sustainability efforts throughout the university and the larger Buffalo community. Working at UB sustainability is a great intersection of my studies and interests. I get to continue learning about sustainability practices and policies, while learning new communication skills! 

3. What do you love most about UB?

I love the dynamic community projects at UB - it's especially exciting as an Urban Planning student to see how the University directly impacts the development and change happening in the city of Buffalo.

4. When you visit UB in 25 years, what do you hope to find?

When I visit UB in 25 years, I hope to find an increasingly integrated University and city community, campuses that operate with complete alternative energy, and a Buffalo food system that promotes and thrives with sustainable urban agriculture. .

5. Fun fact/secret skill

My fun fact is that I'm a black belt in Karate