Offering support and expertise

Joe G.

Joseph Gardella, professor and Larkin chair of chemistry at UB, is a local pioneer in combining environmental education, research and community activism.

UB has been a local leader in tackling today’s sustainability issues and sharing our knowledge.

Environmental expertise

Take Joseph Gardella, professor and Larkin chair of chemistry at UB. For nearly 20 years, Gardella has taken students in his Analytical Chemistry of Pollutants class into neighborhoods across Western New York where citizen groups are tackling environmental issues.

The students work with residents, visiting their basements, backyards and playgrounds to gather scientific data using the same analytical chemistry techniques employed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"What's special about Dr. Gardella is that he's researching, publishing and working with students, but he's also adding this extra element, bringing his expertise right into the community,” says Cathy Burack, associate director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE), which honored Gardella with its Ernest A. Lynton Award for Faculty Professional Service and Academic Outreach.

A helping hand in Africa

As director of UB’s Center for Educational Collaboration, Mara Huber has worked to build a university partnership with local schools and beyond.

Huber and several UB colleagues conducted a fact-finding mission in Tanzania that has resulted in a program to improve educational and economic opportunities and health services for girls in Tanzania’s remote Mara region.

For the center, it’s about aligning resources with an area’s needs to achieve the greatest impact. “There is absolutely no reason why we can’t do great things together in terms of making a difference in a sustainable way,” Huber says.

Shaping stronger communities

Founded in 1990 by Robert Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, the Urban Design Project seeks to make better places and strengthen communities in a variety of ways through the study and practice of urban design. The Urban Design Project helped create the WNY Environmental Alliance and Environmental Congress, which is working toward a broad-based, comprehensive strategy and campaign to create a more environmentally sustainable Western New York.

UB Regional Institute

The UB Regional Institute (UBRI) is a research and public policy division of UB that provides objective analysis to drive crucial decisions for public, private and nonprofit clients in the Buffalo Niagara region.

UBRI and what was then the Urban Design Project partnered on a $2 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant to develop a plan that supports affordable, economically vital and sustainable communities. The research team will develop a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development for Erie and Niagara counties, focusing on housing, food systems and climate action planning.