2018 SLICE Awards


Thank you to all who submitted nominations highlighting the outstanding work of students, faculty and staff for this year's SLICE awards. The nominations were thoughtful, inspiring and spanned many departments and offices across campuses, further demonstrating the breadth and depth of work by many to integrate sustainability into our daily work and long-term thinking. 

About the UB SLICE awards

Exemplary efforts by University Community members express UB’s continuing efforts to become a sustainable institution. The University at Buffalo wishes to recognize outstanding individuals and departments who exhibit a sincere commitment to transforming our campuses into a holistically sustainable community through the kinds of leadership, innovation, and collaboration that demonstrates environmental stewardship, enhances social progress, or promotes responsible economic systems and growth.

Each nomination was evaluated based on how well the nominee’s actions reflect these sustainability criteria:

  • Going above and beyond routine or assigned responsibilities
  • Innovation
  • Overall impact
  • Ability to serve as a catalyst or model
  • Engages multiple campus stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, community, etc)
  • Incorporates multiple aspects of sustainability

Nominees must be faculty or staff members, students, or a department or cross functional team at the University at Buffalo. Candidates can be nominated for different categories, either as individuals, departments or partnerships. The categories are:

  •  Award for Sustainability Excellence by a Department or Cross Functional Team
  •  Student Leadership Award for Sustainable Action
  •  Staff Award for Sustainable Operations Initiative
  •  Faculty Award for Sustainability in Higher Education

The awards program is selective. Not every nomination is selected for an award. The number of awards in each category is not restricted nor is each award category filled each year. 


Samina Raja, Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Director, Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab and Associate Dean for Research and Inclusive Excellence, School of Architecture and Planning

  • Faculty Award for Sustainability in Higher Education--Dr. Samina Raja is an outstanding mentor, teacher, researcher, and engaged faculty member in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University at Buffalo. Since she arrived at UB in 2001, Samina immediately began to consider strategies to conduct meaningful, community-engaged research and simultaneously support students' learning. She launched the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab in 2003, with the aim to conduct research that critically examines the role local government policy plays in facilitating equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities. The lab is focused on community-based food systems as a place for supporting transformation at the local (UB, Buffalo, Western New York), national, and international levels. The lab has emerged as a leader in both accountable research practices, as well as as a space for training and development of scholars. Samina currently mentors and trains students at the high school, UB freshman, graduate and postdoctoral educational levels. Students from urban planning, biology, management, sociology, geography, architecture, public health and more have had the opportunity to learn from Samina. Due to Samina’s leadership and commitment to student growth and intentional and collaborative research, any UB student may work, volunteer or conduct coursework with the lab, exploring topics related to any component of the food system, from agricultural production, to distribution of food, to food waste management. Samina has mentored more than 50 students in her lab, and has provided guidance, support and research opportunities to hundreds of other students throughout her career.

Hardar Borden, Program Director of Blackstone LaunchPad

  • Staff Award for Sustainable Operastions Initiative-Throughout her 15 years of university service, Hadar Borden has worked to advance and integrate sustainability into the fabric of the university through her work at the Honors College, the Academies and Blackstone Launchpad. From forming the Sustainability Academy to advancing social entrepreneurship through programs like Erie Hack and the Worlds Challenge Challenge, Hadar has created an immense impact in advancing the university’s sustainability objectives. She has a unique gift in engaging students in the pursuit of new knowledge and learning opportunities.  Breadth and depth. Hadar’s work in exposing, engaging and empowering students through purpose based sustainability work has led to hundreds of students gaining a new perspective on how doing well and doing good can not only co-exist but thrive together. Her work in helping form and directing the Sustainability Academy led to the creation of numerous experiential learning opportunities and the creation of a regional internship program with the Western New York Environmental Alliance and the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable. Hadar’s innovative mindset also played a key role in the success of the Erie Hack initative both across the Lake Erie basin and here at UB. This program introduced and pushed the concept of purpose based entrepreneurship for nature and water and led to top place finishes for UB teams when competing against our peers from Cleveland, Detroit and other basin cities. Ms. Borden’s mentorship and strategy also greatly contributed to the World’s Challenge Challenge program, which introduced the United Nation’s Global Goals to students and then pushed them to build solutions to address the challenges we confront. Her counsel and tutelage to teams is a key reason for the continued evolution and growth.

Stephanie Acquario receives her award from Ryan McPherson.

  • Student Leadershi Award for Sustainable Action--Stephanie Acquario, an undergraduate majoring in environmental studies.  Stephanie has been not only an active participant in most sustainability initatives on campus but she has been the sole reason why most of these events make it all the way to the end. Her constant positivity, admirable work ethic, paired with her warm personal skills make her the only choice for the Student Leadership Award for Sustainable Actions.  After being involved in impacting fellowships on campus she took her skills to her SA position as Assistant Environmental Director where she only furthered opportunities for the student body to become engaged on campus specifically through sustainability initiatives. She was a part of the fellowship ELFS and was responsible for a 4% reduction in energy usage in the school by just simply turning off all the un used lights around campus. She hosts HQ Trivia games that bring the engineering world closer to the world of sustainability, further promoting the exchange of ideas across departments.

Members of WiSC (Women in STEM Collaborative) receive a 2018 SLICE award.

  • Sustainability Excellence by a Department or Cross-Functional Team--Women in STEM Collaborative.  WiSC was founded in 2013 with the mission to bridge the STEM gender gap through cultural inclusion and educational opportunity. The 4th annual summit, focuses on sustainability and is entitled "Sustainable solutions and champions of change (a gender perspective)." WiSC is a coalition of faculty, staff, and graduate students across the STEM fields developing programs focused on professional development. The interdisciplinary nature of WiSC is critical to developing innovative solutions to the worlds biggest problems. The summit will highlight women as agents of change: inspiring, educating, and empowering the next generation of female students to incorporate sustainable solutions into their work.