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Chapter Feature: University at Buffalo's Parks Project

ESW student chapters do great work both on and off campus to bring sustainability to their communities. At the University at Buffalo (UB), the ESW chapter provides several ways for their members to get involved in the community through their Parks Project. ESW-UB students aim to provide sustainable solutions to improve current and neglected infrastructure in gardens, parks, streetscapes, and neighborhoods throughout Buffalo, New York.

On campus at the University at Buffalo, students working on the Campus Garden project aim to improve on-campus gardens with engineering solutions. The location of the campus garden does not allow access to a reliable supply of water, so ESW-UB members are working to design a system that supplies a steady source of water to the garden. They are working to ensure this solution is efficient and healthy - in the preliminary stages of this project, they are assessing water quality of potential sources and designing pumping and filtration systems.

Off campus, the Parks Project team is participating in the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) competition. This competition is held annually and challenges students to design an innovative solution to a specific environmental issue like water quality, food waste, or air quality. Participants selected for the competition present their solution at an annual exhibition in the spring. ESW-UB members are currently in the research and development process for this year’s competition, and they hope to be selected to participate in the design competition so they can continue to refine and complete their design.

Finally, members of the Parks Project work closely with a local community organization to develop sustainable streetscapes and infrastructure throughout neighborhoods close to campus and student housing. Using sustainable engineering principles, students are working to make beneficial contributions to the community that reflect what the community needs to address issues such as urban flooding, heat island effects, and transportation.

ESW-UB’s Parks Project gives its members many opportunities to apply what they’re learning in class to real-world sustainability problems on their campus, in their city, and in their region. We’re excited to see what happens with all of these projects in the next school year!