Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.58
Liaison Derek Nichols
Submission Date Dec. 14, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University at Buffalo
IN-25: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Derek Nichols
Sustainability Engagement Coordinator
UB Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Hacking our World--Leveraging Innovation, Technology & Engagement to Advance Sustainability

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Social and technical innovation from young, creative minds will help solve some of the crises our world faces in our changing climate. Hacking our World (HoW) is a series of three innovation challenges focusing on different aspects of sustainability- ErieHack, Transforming our Tomorrow, and the World's Challenge Challenge. Each program is a competition for students to pitch their ideas on how to make the world a more sustainable, equitable and resilient place.

ErieHack [http://www.buffalo.edu/sustainability/keyinitiatives/ErieHack.html ]

Our sister cities along Lake Erie (Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and Erie) have joined forces with sponsorship from the Cleveland Water Alliance to present ErieHack. UB participated in the first ErieHack in 2015, and is now gearing up for its second competition in 2019. ErieHack calls on participants to solve a problem based on six challenge statements (pollution, access, nutrient loading, data collection, and infrastructure). UB (through UB Sustainability and the Blackstone LaunchPad), the WNY Environmental Alliance (WNYEA), the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable and cross-sector partners leverage the investments across the Great Lakes with Buffalo-centric ErieHack programming. The initiative includes environmental education, community engagement, and the development of new data platforms that support water quality. Through a series of speaker engagements and mentoring and interactive education sessions, UB connects students and community members to Lake Erie and the organizations and government entities dedicated to protecting the quality and quantity of this magnificent ecosystem and finding innovative solutions through technology. In 2015, a team of UB students took second place in the championships head in Cleveland with their idea on an underwater wifi system.

Transforming our Tomorrow [ http://www.buffalo.edu/sustainability/keyinitiatives/localizing-buffalo-s-renewable-energy-future/student-engagement/CleanEnergySymposium.html ]

As the world seeks to find the solutions that will build resiliency in the face of climate change, universities and colleges have stepped up to the plate. Innovation and creativity are pivotal in driving the technology we need to change the current unsustainable system of energy production. Five students from across New York State presented their revolutionary ideas that create a more sustainable world through clean energy at the Transforming our Tomorrow competition hosted in April 2018. The winning student developed a Smart AI for a home that tracks daily usage and efficiently collects solar energy. The second Transforming our Tomorrow is scheduled for April 2019.

World's Challenge Challenge [ http://www.buffalo.edu/sustainability/keyinitiatives/WCC.html ]

The World’s Challenge Challenge (WCC) showcases the creativity of Buffalo’s young people on the global stage. In collaboration with UB’s (Blackstone LaunchPad, and Offices of International Education and Sustainability), this is the third time the WCC has been offered on our campus. The World's Challenge Challenge calls on students to solve critical problems facing the world. In teams of three, UB students from diverse backgrounds will choose one idea and relate it to one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the global community, thus leveraging an opportunity to gain real-world experience through social innovation and entrepreneurship. Ultimately, the winning team from UB will represent the United States in the international competition at Western University in London, Ontario. A series of workshops and competitions for student teams is held on campus in order to select that one final team to represent the US in the global WCC at Western University in London, Ontario. In 2018, the winning UB team was the Flow Project, a team of three women (one engineer, one urban planner, and one business and public health student) that developed a curriculum from menstrual health waste management in developing countries. These teams have five minutes to present their system changing idea in front of international peers. The local WCC competition is held in April and the winning team will continue to be mentored with community partners, faculty and staff in order to make their presentation award winning at Western’s final in June. The team will stay on Western’s campus for a week and go through a series of community building activities and additional coaching from professional presenters. Here, they have the opportunity to win $30k in Canadian dollars to put towards their initiative.

The University provides mentorship to students from not only from faculty experts, but through connections with professionals in the field. Students are provided opportunities to hone their ability to communicate their ideas effectively through workshops and trainings with faculty that have delivered TEDx style talks as part of this program.

Each competition has a prize award for students of $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third which can be seed funding for implementing their ideas. The Hacking our World initiative has the ability to add other social innovation competitions under its umbrella to provide a more robust offering of sustainability programming for our students.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Research
Campus Enagement
Public Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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