2019 SLICE Awards

2019 SLICE Award Winners.

2019 SLICE award recipients Austin Izzo, student leadership award; Dr. James Jensen, faculty award for sustainability in higher education; Molly Dreyer, student leadership award. 

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. 

Jim Jensen accepts 2019 SLICE award.

Jim Jensen accepts the 2019 faculty award for sustainability in higher education from Austin Izzo at the SLICE ceremony.

  • Faculty Award for Sustainability in Higher Education--Jim Jensen, professor environmental engineering. Nominated by Austin Izzo, environmental engineering class of 2019. Dr. James Jensen is always there for students. Dr. Jensen is affiliated with a wide array of organizations that directly impact students and the campus such as Engineers for a Sustainable world along with the Experiential Learning Center. Both of these examples have a direct focus on advancing skillsets of students through interactive projects and concepts. Engineers for a Sustainable World is able to give students an opportunity to design, build and implement hands on projects that have direct impacts on the campus and community. Examples of these projects include a biofuels project where students are attempting to retrieve hydrogen from growing algae, an underclassman design project where underclassman are developing concepts to create edible cutlery, aquaponics where students learn the basics of developing a self-sustaining food system and solar project where students learn and apply concepts of solar energy to solve real world solutions. All of these projects at some point or another has reached out to Dr. Jensen for advice or technical guidance. Without this assistance the projects would not be where they are today. Dr. Jensen’s wealth of knowledge plays a key role in the education of sustainability on campus through ESW, courses that he teaches and many other involvements on campus. Dr. Jensen often is a guest lecturer/presenter at events such as ESW general body meetings and events regarding sustainability. These talks are often custom tailored for the event. Dr. Jensen has specific experience to contribute and discuss for almost subject relating to sustainability, making him an invaluable resource to the audience. Topics that I have had the pleasure to be in attendance for include an introduction of humanitarian engineering and its application in developing nations along with sustainable water treatment in developing nations. Although Dr. Jensen is an environmental engineer by education, he is one of the best resources to teach the application of the three pillars concept of sustainability on the UB Campus through his broad expertise and in depth knowledge of each subject.
Austin Izzo accepts 2019 SLICE award.

Austin Izzo accepts the 2019 student award for sustainable leadership from James Jensen at the SLICE ceremony.

  • Student Leadership Award for Sustainable Action--Austin Izzo, environmental engineering.  Austin's sustained leadership with UB's student chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) resulted in a number of long-lasting impacts on UB's campus including a rainwater harvesting unit which will support the campus garden, and development of a solar charger project in partnership with UB Sustainability in which ESW designed the plans for the charger, built them and educated UB students and the community through workshops.  Through a professional internship, Austin worked to develop strategies to track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on UB's campus and assisted in creating a new climate action plan for UB. 
Molly Dreyer.

Molly Dreyer accepts the 2019 student award for sustainable action from Erin Moscati.

  • Student Leadership Award for Sustainable Action--Molly Dreyer, master's candidate in environmental and water resources engineering was awarded the 2019 student award for sustainable action for her restoration project on the shoreline of Lake LaSalle.  Dreyer developed the design for Lake LaSalle's restoration project in 2017 and has began to implement it during the summer of 2018.  Dreyer has collaborated with students and faculty from geology, biology, architecture and engineering on her project and also secured grant funding to cover project costs.   
Sean Brodfuehrer accepts 2019 SLICE award.

Sean Brodfuehrer accepts the 2019 staff award for sustainability excellence from Kelly Hayes MacAlonie at the SLICE ceremony.

  • Staff Award for Sustainable Operations Initiative- Sean Brodfuehrer, architectural planner in campus planning has consistently promoted sustainable practices in the short and long term physical planning of our campuses. Some examples of his influence is the location of our Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences over an existing NFTA subway station, the extension of the UB bike path on North campus and the increase of bike racks on South Campus.  As a student of the UB School of Architecture & Planning, Sean worked for the Regional Institute and therefore served on the project team for the UB Comprehensive Plan. As an architectural planner at the Campus Planning Office, Sean provides the institutional knowledge of this plan, and serves as the sustainable advocate when developing projects. One small but specific example of this is the Mary Talbert Way Sidewalk Renewal project. Sean led the project with members of the University Facilities team where he designed a sidewalk replacement plan that consolidated multiple concrete walks that were in disrepair, replaced the existing stunted trees and provided new light fixtures which could accept UB branded banners, a long-standing request from the UB community. The result is a safer sidewalk system along Mary Talbert Way which has new flourishing trees and 10,400 sf less concrete sidewalk.  
Jodi Valenti-Protas accepts the 2019 SLICE award for Sustainability Excellence by a Department or Cross Functional Team from Ryan McPherson, chief sustainability officer.

Jodi Valenti-Protas accepts the 2019 SLICE award for Sustainability Excellence by a Department or Cross Functional Team from Ryan McPherson, chief sustainability officer.

  • Sustainability Excellence by a Department or Cross-Functional Team--The Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIX) has greatly amplified the UB’s larger sustainability work across campus by focusing on the “people” part of John Elkington’s three pillars of sustainability: “planet, profit and people.” OIX has done so by launching numerous initiatives and activities designed to deepen the university’s commitment to inclusive excellence, increase diversity across campus, and facilitate important conversations, including: • Deepening and widening UB’s commitment to inclusive excellence—This effort began with the establishment of the vice provost position in 2013, and has included the convening of the Inclusive Excellence Leadership Council and the creation of “Our Commitment to Inclusive Excellence: University at Buffalo’s Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Plan” in 2016. Since becoming Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence in 2018, Despina Stratigakos has made it a priority to fulfill the plan’s vision of coordinating UB’s diversity-related activities and integrating inclusive excellence into all university operations. This includes facilitating the creation of Unit Diversity Officers across campus to enable collaboration across the campus; holding UB’s first Inclusive Excellence Summit to bring UB together as a community to promote understanding, explore new ways to increase diversity and inclusion, and establish UB's Statement of Principles of Community; and launching UB’s first comprehensive Campus Culture Survey to provide a transparent evaluation of UB’s environment for learning and working and enable continuous improvement to ensure UB continues to be a diverse and inclusive community. • Increasing diversity in our ranks—Through direct engagement with offices to provide search committee training, seminars and workshops, and online tutorials and tools, as well as working with SUNY to support new faculty hires and participating in the national Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, OIX has worked diligently to increase faculty diversity by reaching potential new faculty of color to make them aware of emerging opportunities at the university and enhancing search processes across campus. This includes directly engaging with UB Sustainability in an effort to enhance their recruitment outreach materials to reach and resonate with a broader and more diverse audience. In addition, OIX worked directly with Faculty Affairs to enhance mentorship for all faculty, leading to enhanced success and greater retention of faculty of color. • Fostering important conversations across campus—Through a variety of campus programs including Difficult Conversations or "DIFCON," Spirit Day, Revolution: Civil Rights at UB, and Indigenous Inclusion activities, OIX has contributed to the ability of students, faculty and staff to engage in constructive partnerships and collaborations related to “sustainability” and other important topics. DIFCON has touched on environmental issues through a recent conversation about the landscape and legacies, and Indigenous Inclusion has lifted up the importance that our native communities play in fostering sustainability across our region. Just as importantly, all of these activities model and facilitate productive conversations and collaborations around difficult topics by allowing students, faculty and staff at UB to come together to address issues of critical importance to our community and explore different viewpoints. These events work to train our campus to lean into discomfort and create a culture of dialogue and engagement.