UB's ELFS are the ambassadors to sustainability on our college campus. They communicate the concerns on climate change and the need for equity and diversity in making our world a better, more resilient place.
This year, the fellowship is structured with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals as a guide. Each fellow is on a mission to master each one of the seventeen goals. They will do this by attending events and workshops, infusing sustainability into their class projects and presenting their research. They will work on projects that leave their legacy on UB's campus, and develop new ideas that could impact our region, country, and world.
ELFS are rewarded for the amount of goals that they have completed during the school year. The ELF with the most goals completed in April will be recognized with a special award at our SLICE ceremony.
Major: Biological Sciences
Bio: I'm a senior at UB studying Biological Sciences with a minor in Anthropology. I have the Presidential scholarship and am a member of the Honors College. I originally came to UB as a pre-med, but have shifted my focus to environmental research and plan to apply for grad school after working for a year. This past year I became very interested in beekeeping anf began learning. This summer I helped found UB Bees and bring 6 hives to campus.
7. Affordable and Clean Energy: "Taking control to do more: how local governments and communities can enact effective climate mitigation policies" This lecture was put on by UB and given by Dr. John Armstrong. He discussed a case study in California where Community Choice Aggregation was enacted. In these counties, the local government took control of the sources of energy used to power the electricity grid. The local government used significantly more renewable resources for electricity compared to private utility companies. Dr. Armstrong proposed that this type of local control could help cities and counties reduce their emissions.
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth: Buffalo Homecoming 2019 This event invited successful and wealthy ex-pats to come back and see Buffalo, encouraging them to reinvest in our city. This ties to decent work and economic growth as new investments will help our city grow economically and culturally. There were panel discussions on our economy and tours of new projects such as the Silos and Jacobs Management Center. Creating more meaningful jobs in Buffalo will give decent work options to Western New Yorkers and stimulate a creative environment where we can build more sustainable solutions to local problems.
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: UB Bees Initiative I started an apiary on campus with my professor, Dave Hoekstra, that has six beehives. These contribute to the community and make it more sustainable by helping pollination occur across campus. The bees pollinate the goldenrod, linden trees, wildflowers, and plants in the campus garden. Helping our environment by protecting species like the honeybee is important for our community and city. Our project hopes to encourage other beekeepers in Buffalo by offering workshops and information sessions.
14. Life Below Water: Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Cleanup- Unity Park During this cleanup, we picked up trash and litter along the Niagara River at Unity park. The waste left by humans often blows into the river or is picked up by the tides. The entire ecosystem is impacted by our trash- in fact I saw several snails who lived inside Doritos bags. It was really sad to see that much of the litter was left by fishermen who are benefiting from the waterway- they left Styrofoam worm containers, hooks, fishing line, nets, and plastic bobbers. All this waste can end up being eaten by fish and other river creatures. I was with two other girls and we collected two jumbo garbage bags of litter over 1/4mi of shoreline.
15. Life on Land: Investigating the use of polypore mushrooms to treat honeybee viruses My research focuses on treating honeybees with mushroom extract to see if it will reduce their viral infections. A previous study by Stamets and Washington State University found excellent results, so I am looking to confirm or deny those results but also investigate the use of a homemade extract rather than lab made one. Bees are very sick and we are losing large numbers of hives every year in the US. This study could help life on land by improving honeybee survival, and possibly native bee health also. Honeybees are a keystone species- meaning they are very important to our ecosystem.
Major: Environmental Engineering and Biology
Bio: My name is Nia Gilliam, I am a junior here at UB double majoring in Environmental Engineering and Biology. I transferred from Mercy College in order to pursue an engineering degree. I am interested in environmental research, environmental conservation, environmental remediation, sustainability, and community organizing. I have done research in phytoremediation and am currently interested in research in water quality. A recent accomplishment of mine was being selected for an internship with New York City Department of Environmental Protection this past summer. With this opportunity I was able to learn deeply about the importance of water in our communities.
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Bio: My name is Jacqueline Hannan, and I am a junior majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in human factors and ergonomics engineering. I love traveling, and take any opportunity that I get to explore new places. I studied abroad in Troyes, France after my freshman year, and was afforded the incredible opportunity to travel to many different countries around Europe. I also enjoy any adventures in the outdoors, hiking, cooking, running, and spending time with my family and friends.
Major: Business (Operations and Finance)
Bio: I am from Victor, NY, which is twenty minutes southeast of downtown Rochester. This past summer, I was the Assistant Manager at Victor Self Storage, where I helped businesses and homeowners with their unique storage needs. My family owns six acres of land, which includes a hiking trail system, a meandering creek, and is surrounded by corn fields, hardwood forests, and glacial drumlins. I grew up in the natural world and I have discovered that I have a strong desire to protect it. In my town, I have seen the effects of suburban sprawl. The school is over capacity, the open space is being developed for strip-malls, fast-food chains, and houses. I started an organic farm on my family's property, and after five years, it is now a half acre in size. I sell the produce at the end of my driveway and also deliver some of it to local community members. Eating local foods is a great way to be more sustainable. I would like to be a part of developing the new campus garden, as I have a lot of knowledge in this area. I also started a maple syrup business and produce 20 gallons of syrup each season. This industry will face struggles as climate change accelerates. I have many ideas to improve sustainability at UB. In Greiner Hall, each room has a recycling bin and this should be the same in Ellicott. I saw many recyclables in the trash cans last school year. We also need better recycling in the SU. Also, should we plant a wildflower patch to attract pollinators and help the new bees on campus? Should we buy "ugly" produce to use in our recipes and save money? Should we put the dead ash trees on campus to good use?
Bio: Before coming to UB, I attended Monroe Community College in my home city Rochester, NY for 2 years where I studied Business Administration and was a Resident Assistant. As an RA I won programmer of the year award, which helps me explain that socializing and fellowship is one of my interests and I love having fun while getting to know new people. I am continuing my education here with a major in Communication and a Minor in Business Management. With both fields in my coursework, I am hoping to gain a leadership role here and execute my ideas with respect to what I’m learning academically. Ultimately, dealing with acne and being overweight my entire life did have a huge impact on my health overall and once I noticed it was from the foods I was consuming, it opened up a whole new world for me and I am driven to incorporate the plant-based lifestyle into my dream goal of being a successful entrepreneur.
Major: Environmental Studies
Bio: I am a sophomore environmental studies and intended earth systems science major at the University at Buffalo. I am interested in sustainability, marine conservation, music, cats, thrift shopping, and hiking. In my free time, I enjoy playing violin, spending time with friends, gardening with my mom, playing with my cat, and reading. My accomplishments have been mainly academic based. I have made honor roll all four years of high school, and received an academic achievement award for my cumulative grades in humanities and science. Lastly, during my time in the environmental club in high school, we worked to introduce stainless steel bottles branded with the high school's name, and have them sold at the school store.
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: While working my shift at Kung Fu Tea, I became hyper aware of the dozens of plastic single-use straws that myself, my coworkers, and the costumers were using each day. It had always been on the the back of my mind how wasteful the whole ordeal of drinking bubble tea is, and it sparked the idea to buy a reusable bubble tea straw for myself and my coworkers. In addition I proposed that our store begin placing a bin of reusable straws in the store for customers that are drinking in the store to use, to my boss. She was fairly receptive to the idea, and promised to consider it. Regardless, now myself nor any of my coworkers will need to use a plastic straw again!
Major: Environmental Engineering
Bio: I like to refer to myself as a tree hugger that can do math and science, but if you talk to my friends, they might refer to me as the "Compost King," that guy who always turns off the lights after leaving the dorm bathroom, or the friend that whips out reusable silverware at the fast food restaurant. Yet, before I realized how passionate I am about sustainability, I knew that I loved nature and the outdoors. I grew up exploring the forest in my backyard, going to the zoo, and camping at state parks. I also love to ski, hike, white water raft, and just be outside! This summer, I worked at Las Pumas Rescue Center, a wildlife rescue center in Costa Rica for native animals such as pumas, sloths, and parrots. Just as much as I love to compost and take care of pumas, I love singing, dancing, and acting, hence being in an acappella group. Here at UB, I am a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, NYS STEM Incentive Scholarship, and NYS Academic Excellence Scholarship, so you can add mega-nerd to my list of nicknames as well (which I take as a compliment). Hopefully, I will be able to add ELF as well!
Major: Environmental Design
Bio: I am a transfer student from New York City. There I studied graphic design. I am still very much interested in visual art and effective communication. But I transferred to the University of Buffalo to study Environmental design. Environmental design because it tackles real complex issues in the built environment. It deals with the mundane/practical/engineering concerns as well as the ephemeral community and neighborhood. I have had a few internships here and have learned how much I enjoy learning and working with local communities. This semester I am enjoying learning ArcGIS, a mapping program and exploring Typography. I hope to do more work in the future that is both technical and artistic.
Major: Science and Public Policy
Year: Graduate (Masters)
Bio: My interests lie in natural sciences. I enjoy working with plants and animals, and have carried jobs working with both. I am a freelance sciences writer and freelance wildlife biologist. I am enrolled in the Science and Public major but I am applying to transfer to the MS Engineering Science/ Sustainability program. I enjoy formal and informal education, politics, and hands on work. I have excellent oral and written communication skills along with interpersonal skills. I enjoy nature just as much as I enjoy people and strive to help both survive fruitfully.
Major: Media Study
Year: Graduate Student (PhD)
Bio: Azalia Muchransyah is a filmmaker, writer, and scholar from Indonesia. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Media Study at University at Buffalo (SUNY). She receives two Fulbright scholarships: the 2011 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant as well as the 2017 DIKTI-Funded Fulbright Ph.D. Scholarship. In 2019, she is chosen as a Social Impact Fellow at University at Buffalo as well as a Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) Diversity Scholar at Ithaca College. Her area of interest is advocacy media, specifically AIDS Media in Indonesia. Her short films have been officially selected and screened in international festivals and academic conferences.
2. Zero Hunger: UB Food Rescue Joined UB Food Rescue, a group dedicated to redistributing prepared foods, preventing food waste, and tackling food insecurity at University at Buffalo. Group members can post and share free food from events and meetings that are available to students, faculty, and staff that find themselves in need of food.
3. Good Health and Well-Being: Climate Friendly Eating Attended Lunchtime Learning webinar by GreenNY with the topic Climate Friendly Eating on 12/10/2019. The GreenNY Sustainability Series is a resources for State employees to learn about how to live more sustainable lives. Webinars on a wide range of topics, from waste reduction to saving energy to purchasing local products, will take place on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at Noon.
4. Quality Education: Lincoln Center Educational Teaching Artist Development Labs Participated on Lincoln Center Educational Teaching Artist Development Labs, which foster a vibrant teaching artist community where Teaching Artists serve as excellent resources for one anotherand sharing best practices, hearing stories from the field, and supporting each other in art making projects to encourage balance between teaching and art making. Hosted by the Just Buffalo Literary Center & WNY Book Arts Center, this Lab provides an experiential and conceptual introduction to the fundamentals of teaching artistry, taking a close exploration of connecting personal artistic practice to teaching artist practice; developing basic skills for effective planning and facilitation; gaining actionable insights into the field as a whole; and setting an inspiring and achievable trajectory for long-term development.
5. Gender Equality: 2018-2019 Lecture Series: On Misogyny Attended a year-long lecture series on misogyny held by The Gender Institute. The first speaker was Kate Manne, an assistant professor of the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University, where she has been teaching since 2013. The second speaker in the series, Moya Bailey, is an Assistant Professor of Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern University. She coined the phrase, "Misogynoir." And the final speaker of the series, Paisley Currah, Professor of Political Science, The Graduate Center, CUNY, is a founding editor, with Susan Stryker of TSQ:Transgender Studies Quarterly, a new journal from Duke University Press.
5. Gender Equality: Breaking Down Silos: Cross-sector Approaches to Combating Online Gender-based Violence Attended the livestream of Breaking Down Silos: Cross-sector Approaches to Combating Online Gender-based Violence. As part of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (GBV), ARTICLE 19 and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) held a multi-sector discussion and day-of-action to combat online gender-based violence against women. Technology-facilitated GBV is globally pervasive, extending and amplifying historical forms of oppression and discrimination. As a consequence, online civic engagement - particularly for women and girls - has become out-of-reach and full of risks. As tech dramatically changes the way we communicate, it is time for key stakeholders to consider the role that this technology will play in ensuring the Internet remains an open, inclusive and diverse space. It is critical that changemakers from a range of sectors come together to break down the silos and determine cross-cutting solutions to ensure that civic space flourishes online. During the panel discussion, ICRW and ARTICLE 19 were joined by experts in tech, policy, activism, program implementation and the donor community.
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth: Towards Decent Work in Global Supply Chains Received a scholarship and completed Towards Decent Work in Global Supply Chains with Grade A. Towards Decent Work in Global Supply Chains is a multi-disciplinary online course on Iversity by the Global Labour University and Penn State University combining expertise from the world of work with cutting-edge academic research. The course aims to develop the users' knowledge and analytical skills on labour issues in global supply chains, including main gaps in the regulatory framework. It also discusses the most recent regulatory measures and trade union strategies to achieve work with dignity.
10. Reduced Inequalities: Digital Fridays by HASTAC Scholars Attended Digital Fridays webinar by Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) Scholars with the topic Access Pedagogy. Universities, echoing their cultural contexts, privilege bodies and knowledge that align with hegemonic values. Faculty and students unable to mirror these standards face pushout, discrimination, and even hostility. In this informal webinar, Jesse Rice-Evans discussed strategies for using open digital pedagogy to center access and accessibility in higher education, working towards equity for sick and disabled students while practicing a pedagogy of compassion, trust, and empowerment.
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: Concrete Jungle Directed and produced a short film, Concrete Jungle. Accompanied by a mix of soundscapes and music, Concrete Jungle juxtaposes different living creatures with manmade architectures. It is a reimagination of how nature should reclaim its rightful place amidst the busy and deafening city life.
12. Responsible Consumption and Production: Carbon Offsets Supported the 109.8kg Carbon Offsets (as of 11/06/2019) by choosing to use Dyper bamboo diaper for my baby. These diapers are made with viscose fibers from responsibly sourced, renewable bamboo and packed in clear bags made with oxo-biodegradable materials. With proper care, diapers can be safely composted at home or in third-party commercial composting facilities where available. For every delivery, Dyper purchase carbon offsets on behalf of their subscribers to help reforestation efforts at the Alto May Reforestation Project. This project protects nearly 450,000 acres from deforestation. The Alto Mayo forest is twice the size of New York City but it's under threat from deforestation despite its protected status.
13. Climate Action: Tools & Tactics for Taking Action Attended the Post-Landfill Action Network's Leadership Certification Training with the topic Tools & Tactics for Taking Action on 12/10/2019. This session equips me with the tools I need to activate change on campus. I learned how to effectively manage my projects and initiatives through time-lining and budgeting, while learning how to communicate my message to campus at large via media and in-person engagement tactics.
13. Climate Action: Activating your Campus Community Attended the Post-Landfill Action Network's Leadership Certification Training with the topic Activating Your Campus Community on 12/16/2019. This session guided me to better understand my campus' organizational structure and identify what kinds of resources and support that structure has to offer. Understand where my group and I are situated on campus through stakeholder mapping, power mapping and target mapping and leverage those relationships with an enticing project pitch.
13. Climate Action: Building your Team Attended the Post-Landfill Action Network's Leadership Certification Training with the topic Building Your Team on 12/19/2019. This session guided me in fostering collective leadership for a strong and welcoming team dynamic. We discussed team roles and task delegation, running effective meetings, and how to pass over leadership to future student organizers.
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: UB Distinguished Speaker Series informal session with Maggie Haberman Attended UB Distinguished Speaker Series informal session with Maggie Haberman, one of the most influential voices in national affairs journalism today. As a New York Times White House correspondent and CNN political analyst, she has established herself as one of the country's most respected journalists and reliable resources for expert commentary on current events and national issues. A seasoned veteran of political reporting, she covered City Hall for the New York Daily News, the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign and other political races for the New York Post, as well as national affairs as a senior reporter for Politico. In 2018, Haberman and her team at the New York Times received the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their coverage of the Trump administration and alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, and the Aldo Beckman Award from the White House Correspondents' Association.
Major: Environmental Design
Bio: I have an architecture designer background and am interested in re-purposing buildings and facilities to be more eco-friendly. I have had several leadership positions throughout high school and at a summer camp that I've worked at for 6 years. I am looking to start involvement in a community outreach so that the city becomes a healthy habitat for all living creatures here.
Major: Environmental Studies
Bio: I am a sophomore, commuter student at UB. I am majoring in environmental studies and minoring in anthropology. My major was inspired by many of my interests which include sustainability, waste, and access to and the impact of food on our environment. My minor in anthropology came from a class called "Why Have Wealth" which was my first exposure to the discipline of anthropology and helped me realize my desire to learn more about humans and cultures and how that in turn impacts the world we live in and the environment we impact. I spent the summer at an internship at the Wegmans Organic Farm where I not only got to learn about organic agriculture but also got to participate in it. I worked mostly in the realm of Controlled Environment Agriculture but I was also exposed to the science of compost, organic pesticides, and other farm operations. In school, I am a Presidential Scholar, NYS Academic Excellence scholarship recipient, Wegmans scholarship recipient, and 4.0 student. And this past semester I received an award for success in chemistry. Outside of school, I work at Wegmans in the Knowledge Based Services department, where I prepare food and educate customers on its value. From work, I have received merit raises for my hard work and a scholarship for embodying the values of the company. Outside of work and school, I am also a part-time nanny. I am one of seven siblings which has naturally grown my ability to publically speak and solve conflict. When given the time, I love doing yoga, listening to podcasts about climate change, and reading.
5. Gender Equality: Food for Empowerment: Hope for a Sustainable Future Through Women in Agriculture I wrote this paper for my class on American Culture and Sustainability (SSC 433). The paper focuses on the potential for women to be empowered through sustainable agricultural systems and empower other women. I touch on gender inequality and how the hyper-masculine agricultural system influences its output and sustainability and in turn, how an agricultural system with more women could be more sustainable.
Year: Graduate Student (Masters)
Bio: For the past 9 years, I have managed communications teams at major universities, met tight deadlines for Fortune 500 companies, started new departments for retail companies, and taught in classrooms in the mountains of Medellin, Colombia. Today, I am working toward an MBA degree from University at Buffalo's School of Management, while focusing in finance and sustainability, I look forward to gaining the skillset necessary to lead teams providing value for green projects positively affecting Western New York.
Major: Financial Analysis
Bio: My name is Maximilian Schynoll, and I am currently a junior pursuing an undergraduate degree in finance, with a plan to add environmental studies. I am an avid swimmer, biker, skier, and mountaineer, who hopes to one day climb in the Himalaya. My interests in finance and the environment have given me a focus in pursuing a career in renewable energy and geoengineering investment. This last summer, I had the opportunity to work in Germany in a multi-international team to evaluate and analyze global company financials for investment strategies. Included, were a few companies in the wind and solar industries. This experience gave me an interest in one day working abroad in the renewables sector and contributing to the world in a green, impactful, and sustainable way.
Major: Environmental Design BA, Minor in Architecture and Graphic Design
Bio: My name is Nofel Sohail and I am from Rochester New York, Henrietta specifically. I like to play tennis when I have the time, spend time with my family, and hang out with my friends. I work part time at a Speedway on Huxley and Cleveland, and enjoy talking to the people and getting a sense for the character and culture of a community. Recently I have been looking for opportunities to get involved in a meaningful engagement with the concepts that I have learned about over the past three years. Most people would say that I am a little bit too driven, and that I ask a lot of questions, but that is only because I'm trying to do the best I can at whatever it is that I do.
Major: Environmental Geosciences
Bio: In my one engineering class my freshman year, we had to design a wind turbine in a group setting. I took it upon myself to do an in depth research study on alternative energies that could be presented to a board of distinguished engineers in the field of renewable energy. I spearheaded the report that detailed the importance of renewable energy project and why it was imperative to increase the number of renewable energy sources and move away from fossil fuels to reduce the carbon footprint and restore a balance of resources.
I also worked on a group critiqued research paper on the history of recycling in New York City. I wanted to explore the inner workings of the city's recycling program to discover its strongest and weakest aspects. Gaining a historical perspective on recycling in America's biggest city gave me the best point of view on large sustainability movements and improvements. The paper was researched specifically by me, but was peer-reviewed and critiqued by an outside writing group. The topic was formulated by me and directly tied into my sustainability beliefs.
Year: Graduate Student (PhD)
Bio: My name is Kitty Xie and I am a PhD student in Spanish at the University at Buffalo. I have a great interest in Latin American cinema, and when I am not in school I have expressed interested in sustainability, specifically recycling. During my undergraduate years at UB, I gained leadership skills by serving as President of Delta Sigma Pi, a well-known and established honor society in Spanish. I currently work with Hispanic patients and staff at the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) and other medical and community settings. With this role, I have become the bridge between such patients and the hospital staff, ensuring proper communication between the two parties and proper care for the patients who otherwise may not have a voice in their treatment. With what I learn through ELFS, I aim to educate the community around UB by identifying alternative ways to be eco-friendlier and improve the environment using my fluency in the Spanish language and my knowledge of sustainability for a better environment, but most importantly for the present of our children and upcoming generations.