Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.50
Liaison Derek Nichols
Submission Date May 17, 2022

STARS v2.2

University at Buffalo
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Ryan McPherson
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

The University at Buffalo directly advocated to the County Legislature and County Executive for critical sustainability funding in the 2021-22 Erie County budget for the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable that resulted in a $50,000 allocation.

In addition, the University at Buffalo plays a role in shaping the local advocacy efforts of the Western New York Environmental Alliance's Action Agenda (the institution was also chaired by the University at Buffalo's Chief Sustainability Officer and the Sustainability Engagement Coordinator). Each year the Western New York Environmental Alliance (WNYEA) raises an annual action agenda through its advocacy policy. Planks for the WNYEA are brought forth by member organizations and pushed up through WNYEA Working Groups. This process relies heavily on the support, advice and counsel of the Issues & Advocacy Process Group. This group helps Working Groups to develop advocacy items, from comments and statements to campaigns and planks. For a full listing of issues, legislation and ordinances that the group has taken a stance on, please see: http://www.wnyea.org/campaigns.html


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

The University at Buffalo engages in a number of advocacy actions to further sustainability throughout New York State. The University took direct advocacy positions at the state level (Assembly, Senate and Executive) on numerous policy positions, which include but are not limited to: stronger climate action policies through the Climate Leadership Community Protection Act (also see this forum we held after passage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WexH3DSh0ao&t), a new system-wide SUNY sustainability SDG framework for agency and legislative approval, greater procurement flexibility with renewables, and additional electric vehicle charging funding through NYSERDA.

In addition, the University at Buffalo has supported and advocated for policies such as various executive orders from the New York State Governor and legislation that would encourage sustainable jobs, research, and smart climate policies.

The assistant director for sustainability also sits on the Buffalo and Erie County Food Policy councils where they participate in making decisions on our local food system.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

The University at Buffalo advocates for a host sustainability issues at the federal level. This advocacy has mainly centered on supporting efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change and support for vital sustainability research funding. A key focus of 2021 was spent lobbying for strong climate provisions in the successfully enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill as well as the Build Back better package.

In addition, Chancellor Johnson and Malatras of the State University of New York system also advocated extensively on UB’s behalf on numerous specific sustainability issues including but not limited to:
• Codifying the DREAM act to reduce inequalities and provide for greater university educational access for immigrants
• Increased aid to Puerto Rico for Hurricane relief efforts focusing on clean energy and grid resiliency
• Reinforcing the importance of climate change action and research to the Speaker of the House of Representatives
• Founding member of the United States University Climate Change Coalition
• Advocating to congress on LGBTQ issues
• Advocated against EPA’s new coal pollution rules


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

The State University of New York has played a leadership role in supporting the Paris Accords and rejecting former president Trump's withdraw from the agreement (as well as now supporting President Biden's Build Back Better and climate initiatives).

In addition, the University at Buffalo has fully embraced the United Nations' Higher Education Sustainability Initiative and the Sustainable Development Goals and works to integrate them on a daily basis across our campuses. UB's Chief Sustainability Officer also leveraged this work directly and proposed and advocated for a Sustainable Development Goals strategy for the entire SUNY system known as Global Learning for All (see attached proposal).

Finally, the University at Buffalo is also a proud signatory of the Declaration on University Global Engagement and works to integrate and advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals through this frame as well. This work was further reinforced by the Times Higher Education Impact Assessment which ranked UB #1 in the world for taking climate action.


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
---

A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

Under New York State Law it is illegal for a public state university, such as UB, to do this.


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.