Release Date: December 18, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo’s engagement with partner organizations to restore and preserve Western New York’s natural environment has been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The council’s Center for Green Schools named UB one of the 2014 “Best of Green Schools” recipients. The awards recognize 10 individuals, institutions, projects and events representing national leaders and innovators in school sustainability.
UB received its award under the “collaboration” category for work that began nearly 10 years ago and continues today to build cohesion among Western New York’s environmental organizations.
“The students, faculty and staff at the University at Buffalo are committed to promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship on and off campus. We are honored to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council for our collective efforts,” said Dennis Black, vice president for university life and services.
The council cited UB’s work with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo (CFGB) on a host of initiatives including developing “Our Shared Agenda for Action,” a 485-page document that emphasizes collaboration while promoting smart growth policies, energy and climate change initiatives, the protection and preservation of natural resources and other environmental issues in Western New York.
“It has been our pleasure to work with UB to restore and preserve the region’s environment. UB is one of our most highly effective partners as it contributes time and talent from every corner of the institution, including its leadership in sustainability, counsel from the School of Architecture and Planning, and the expertise of specific faculty,” said Clotilde Dedecker, the CFGB’s president and CEO. “Our continued collaboration with UB will support vital environmental issues far into the future.”
Work on “Our Shared Agenda for Action” began with CFGB contracting UB’s School of Architecture and Planning. Lynda Schneekloth, then a professor of architecture and director of landscape architecture in the school’s Urban Design Project, was the project manager for this effort.
Faculty members also have drafted plans to revitalize the city of Buffalo, including its waterfront, downtown and park system, and they are nearing completion of two-year initiative called One Region Forward, which is a board-based collaboration to promote sustainable development in Erie and Niagara counties.
“This award is especially satisfying because it spotlights the School of Architecture and Planning’s engagement with the community, and it emphasizes that collaboration across the region and the University at Buffalo campus is a must as we continue our efforts to revitalize Buffalo and Western New York,” said Robert G. Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning.
“Our Shared Agenda for Action” also served as a catalyst to create the Western New York Environmental Alliance, the umbrella group that represents more than 100 organizations working to improve the region’s natural environment. Since its inception in 2009, the alliance has become the region’s voice for environmental and sustainability issues.
“We are delighted to share this honor with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and, most importantly, the member organizations of the alliance who work every day to ensure sustainable, thriving ecosystems and communities in Western New York,” said Ryan McPherson, UB’s chief sustainability officer and chair of the alliance’s board of directors. “At the same time, as our members will tell you, there remains much work to be done to restore and preserve our natural environment.”
The council cited many efforts university-wide that contributed to the award, including:
· Numerous faculty members who have provided the region expertise in landscape architecture, chemistry, public health and other areas.
· An internship program directed by UB’s Sustainability Academy. The program is beneficial to students, who obtain experience working with professional groups, as well as the organizations, who receive needed support.
· An Honors College course to survey environmental groups and synthesize ideas about the future of the alliance.
“The students and faculty of University at Buffalo are bringing people together in new and exciting ways to address some of the greatest challenges and opportunities for green building in their region,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools.