UB Sustainable Living Fair teaches students to be environmentally conscious

Juliana Andrade, a sophomore engineering major from Brazil, is at UB to study abroad – but she’s also here to work toward sustainable housing.

Andrade is one of about 40 UB students working on GRoW Home, an ultra-efficient house that takes advantage of energy supplied in all four seasons. The students will present the project, which they’ve been working on for the last two years, at the U.S Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

“We’re looking to create a more sustainable house, that would produce energy [on it’s own] so we don’t have to use as much energy,” Andrade said.

Andrade and the GRoW team were just one of the vendors at the seventh annual UB Sustainable Living Fair held in the Student Union Tuesday that aimed to teach students how to ‘green’ their home, office and lifestyle. The fair’s goal is to encourage students to leave a smaller environmental footprint and learn more about the nature around them, including how to interact with it.

The fair is organized by the UB Professional Staff Senate and hosts a variety of vendors, including Goodwill. Some vendors come back year after year, like the Weaver’s Guild of Buffalo, and new faces trying to get their name out to UB students, staff and faculty also attend.

“Every year the committee gets together to look at the vendors and decide who would be the best fit,” said Donna Szaja, a member of business services in the Professional Staff Senate.

One of the stands present was Buffalo Outdoor Pursuits, which runs the dock at Lake LaSalle, sets up ice-skating on the field next to Clemens Hall and organizes the new disk golf field on campus.

Max Bass, a senior environmental studies major, is a student supervisor for Buffalo Outdoor Pursuits. He said hanging outdoors will give students some perspective.

“Getting outside is so important in maintaining a sustainable world,” Bass said. “Understanding the outdoors drives people to want to conserve it.”

One of the most consistent vendors is the Weaver’s Guild of Buffalo. They create rugs, baskets, mittens and various other items through weaving, spinning and knitting.

The guild said it comes to UB every year because it doesn’t want weaving to die out with the younger generations. The guild members hope to encourage the youth to learn how to weave and spin in order to carry on the skill.

“The foreign students find us fascinating,” said Suanne Pasquarella, a member of the organization. “In other countries people still weave and spin regularly, so they come here and are surprised to see us doing it – they’re surprised people here do that at all.”

Part of maintaining sustainability is food, including how it’s grown and what it’s composed of. Feel Rite Fresh Markets was present at the fair Tuesday to show off its food, supplements and beauty products that help promote healthy living.

The store has five locations, the closest of which is on Maple Road and takes Campus Cash to encourage students to check out the store.

“We try to show people that there are healthy alternatives to what they eat on or off campus,” said Brienna Bourdage, a junior graphic design major and employee at the market.

Bourdage in particular enjoys the array of beauty products that the market offers, including skincare products, makeup and soaps.

The variety of vendors provides students with some insight into the world of sustainability and how important it is to be environmentally conscious. Through the marketing of products and easy-to-join programs, the organizations are working to move toward a greener Buffalo.

Tori Roseman is the senior features editor and can be reached at tori.roseman@ubspectrum.com.