Our Guiding Principles

What Sustainability Means at UB


Our focus on creating sustainability literate individuals brings together our faculty and students to learn about local and global challenges.  From the northern reaches of the Arctic and the coral reefs of the Caribbean to the shores of Cattaraugus Creek and Lake Erie, the university is working to create a better tomorrow through sustainability.

Students at UB have many opportunities through research, education and service to take a deeper dive on issues that are impacting our planet's environment. They are finding ways to supply affordable renewable energy to communities that need it the most. They are assessing our local food system to increase access to healthy fruits and vegetables while decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide released by transporting these goods from farther distances. They are partaking in on-campus activities like making football games zero-waste and reusing reclaimed materials from students moving out in the spring. 

UB has pledged to become climate neutral by 2030. To achieve this goal, we brought together leaders from across the university to form the Environmental Stewardship Committee, a group of administrators, faculty and students charged with charting the university's path toward climate neutrality and sustainability. Check back and follow our progress.

Sustainability is more than just getting to carbon neutral. It is about creating strong, resilient communities that are economically stable. This means our students are working on and researching ways to eliminate gender inequality, increase access to healthy food, and advocate for individuals that will be impacted unequally by climate change. 

Sustainability is about meeting today’s needs without sacrificing the needs of the next generation. Here at UB, sustainability is a culture of teaching that prepares our students for a changing world—one where solar panels proliferate in place of fossil fuels.

Sustainability requires solving our problems with a different way of thinking. It means making discoveries that positively change the way we live day to day and interact with the world. It means looking at our own carbon footprint and reducing that to zero.

Innovative measures we're taking on our campuses include opening the UB Solar Strand, bringing five new LEED-designed buildings online within a year, recycling waste through an innovative single-stream process, and composting what waste we don’t recycle.

To empower other people to make change, we share our best resources—our students and faculty—through service projects in Buffalo Niagara and beyond. Globally, UB students are working in places like the Louisiana Bayou, the Dominican Republic and Africa. For years, our faculty have partnered with the community to address legacy environmental issues and discover new solutions together.

Governance and Assessment

The sustainability efforts at UB are guided by a collection of plans and assessment systems. The Climate Action Plan is our pathway towards climate neutrality. The Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) helps us to monitor our progress every two years. And finally, the American Colleges and Universities Presidents' Climate Commitment holds us to attaining our 2030 goal.