2024 SLICE Awards

The 2024 SLICE Award Winners.

The 2024 SLICE Award Winners

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

We've made some slight changes to our award offerings compared to years' past, introducing new categories that mirror the expanding scope of activities on campus. Nominees must be faculty or staff members, students, alumni, 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 2024 categories are:

  • Student Sustainability Leadership, Innovation and Collaborative Engagement Award
  • Staff Sustainability Leadership, Innovation and Collaborative Engagement Award
  • Faculty Sustainability Leadership, Innovation and Collaborative Engagement Award
  • Alumni Sustainability Leadership, Innovation and Collaborative Engagement Award
  • Team Sustainability Leadership, Innovation and Collaborative Engagement Award
  • The SLICE Climate Justice Award

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. 

Alissa Drag.

Alissa Drag, Assistant Director of Employer Relations and External Engagement at the Career Design Center, with her SLICE Staff Award for Sustainable Operations

Staff Award for Sustainable Operations

Alissa has worked over the last five years building deeper connections between sustainability and career readiness for our students. Through her work, she has fostered many great relationships with external employers that are eager to hire students with skills in sustainability and sustainable resource management.

Her work catalyzes our graduates and inspires them to infuse sustainability, environmentalism and social justice in their personal and professional lives, and across all majors and disciplines.  

Alissa also worked to organize the “How I Got Started in Sustainability” panel which invites speakers from the public and private sectors, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups and government agencies to network with our students, giving them valuable insight on how these organizations are moving forward sustainability initiatives in their respective roles. 

Michael Griffin and Kayla Owen.

Sustainability Operations Coordinator Kayla Owen handing Michael Griffin his SLICE Student Award for Sustainability Leadership

Student Award for Sustainability Leadership

Michael’s academic case study “Collegiate Academic Participation Driving Clean Energy Solutions” will serve as a model for future sustainability students seeking to develop pedagogical tools for sustainability education. He also manages the Student Sustainability Impact Team, a group of 20 students who work to fulfill sustainability requests across our UB community.

Michael consistently works to collaborate, empower and engage those he works with, always going above and beyond to show his commitment to UB’s sustainability efforts.

Michael’s work with UB Sustainability’s website, social media and newsletter curation have taken our communications to the next level- connecting and engaging with other students, campus departments, student groups and community organizations.

Headshot of a man wearing a lightly colored shirt.

Dr. John Atkinson, Scott and Coleen Stevens Chair in Engineering Sustainability

Faculty Award for Sustainability in Higher Education 

John leverages experiential teaching methods in the classroom and continues to spread knowledge through the Sustainability Master’s Program, nurturing the development of our students’ potential to not only recognize our planet’s needs but also allows them to understand the role they can play in creating the future we seek. He has created innovate and life-altering learning opportunities through his work in advancing the Costa Rica Sustainability trip.

In addition to his academic and research success, John not only teaches the importance of sustainability but models it everyday by advancing a low carbon lifestyle.

Janice Cochran.

Joshua Mcclain, Sustainability & Resiliency Planner for the UB Regional Institues, accepts the SLICE Award for Sustainability Excellence by a Department or Team on behalf of One Region Forward.

Award for Sustainability Excellence by a Department or Team

Founded in 1997, the Regional Institute is being recognized for their continued commitment to sustainability in Western New York. Through their innovative work with the One Region Forward for Sustainable Development plan published in 2014, their Citizen Planning School initiative, and its current One Region Forward for Climate Action Plan, they have a proven track record of bringing together our communities to fight climate change.

The One Region Forward for Climate Action Plan advances key issues and priorities to ensure regional climate action addresses the needs of disadvantaged and underrepresented communities, and identifies priority measures the region can take between now and 2030.

Laura Hubbard and Tendaji.

VP Hubbard with Tendaji Ya'Ukuu, UB Student and Ecological Justice Coordinator for Open Buffalo

Award for Leadership in Climate Justice

Tendaji is the Ecological Justice Coordinator with Open Buffalo and current Environmental Design student at UB.

Tendaji leads clean mobility projects that aim to create equitable neighborhood adoptions of regenerative and cooperative economies, generating innovative and sustainable solutions that improve the conditions of our community.

They have a passion for collective improvement and are committed to developing collaborative and multifunctional spaces for communities that prioritize human flourishing and economic prosperity. Tendaji continues to consistently advocate for sustainability and power-building in marginalized groups.

VP Hubbard handing award to Jessica Mahar.

VP Hubbard handing Jessica Ottney Mahar her SLICE Alumni Award for Sustainability Excellence

Alumni Award for Sustainability Excellence

Jessica is currently the New York Director of Policy and Strategy at the Nature Conservancy—the largest environmental organization in the world— and works to advance climate and environmental policy and conservation efforts.

She recently quarterbacked the Clean Water and Jobs Coalition Bond Act—the largest environmental bond measure in NYS history—securing a $4.2 billion dollar investment for the environment and climate action. 

Jess played a key leadership role developing New York’s climate action strategy and has worked to advance conservation efforts at the national level as well.

She is a UB graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2000.