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-27: Innovation D

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Ryan McPherson
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Fueling a Regional Environmental Movement Through the Environmental Alliance

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:

Fueling a Regional Environmental Movement

Building a better future by definition is a collective effort, but often at times throughout the higher education section we focus inward within our own institutions. While this is a practical and at times strategic move, it prevents us from creating the type of integrated and holistic change we seek as a movement. The University at Buffalo played an important role in leveraging disparate environmental organizations and initiatives into a unified cohesive effort that is working to create regional, state and international change to build a better tomorrow. Working in partnership with a key foundation in 2015, the university worked with others to convene over 150 organizations and more than 300 members of the general public in three region-wide Environmental Congresses to create Our Shared Agenda for Action, a blueprint for action on regional environmental issues. Out of this process the Environmental Alliance was born. Through a four year process of evolution, the Alliance now has over 90 environmental organizations and has become not only a “group of groups” but also the region’s voice for environmental and sustainability issues with active working groups in energy and climate change, transportation, food, habitat, environmental justice, parks and recreation, urban regeneration, waste and pollution and process groups in education and outreach, advocacy and capacity building. The university’s role has been not to control or own this group but rather to assist in convening, building and fostering the initiative and is viewed by university administrators as within its self-interest to do so.

The university’s partnership provides opportunities for dynamic internship and service learning for our students, as well decreased capacity needs to manage such a program (one system versus working with nearly 100 different organizations). This collaboration has also led to greater impact and success in building a more sustainable region and increasing attractiveness in our student and faculty recruitment.

The WNYEA has advanced new and necessary regional initiatives that benefit all of its member organizations. They have conducted a shared-space feasibility study that has the potential to house many different small environmental non-profits in one space eliminating some of the cost barriers to rent office space and allowing for greater collaboration in their work. The WNYEA also has a Youth in Climate Justice fellowship program that brings together young people between the ages of 16 and 25 and provides them with advocacy training. These fellows then are paired up with member organizations to help advance their work. The Alliance has been a facilitator for a group of organizations focused on increasing the amount of native plants in the region, right-sizing our major transportation corridors, increasing accessibility to our city's waterfront and ensuring that the local community has a say in our region's food system.


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

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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