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Tuesday, July 05, 2022
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

Jessica Brant


FEATURES

A summer of culture

Nothing says summer in Buffalo like Italian ice, Polish sausage and Greek souvlaki, and heritage festivals are the best place to grab these delicious eats and celebrate the diversity of the city.


FEATURES

Spring into green

As spring has finally sprung, so has a brighter hue of green. Environmentally conscious students, staff and businesses united in the Student Union on Thursday as part of the Environmental Student Association's first Sustainability Bazaar. Twenty-five eco-friendly businesses in Western New York came to participate in the event to inform students about the green possibilities in life. Liz Alnutt, a junior biological science major and an intern for the Environmental SA, was in charge of coordinating the Sustainability Bazaar, which took a semester of planning to complete. By informing students about what they can do to help the environment, Alnutt is confident that the carbon footprint can be significantly reduced. "[The Environmental SA] wants UB to be more sustainable, meaning that we need to use resources that can be used again in 50 years," Alnutt said. A huge variety of businesses and organizations were represented, from wilderness preservation, like the Association for Wild Animal Rehabilitation and Education, to public transportation, such as Buffalo Care Share. "The main reason that we're doing this is two-fold: one is for helping UB students and the other is for the people of Buffalo and their environmental needs," said Chris Llop, director of the Environmental SA. Llop hopes that by garnering more student interest, both the administration and students will be better able to work in tandem and bigger strides can be made in the green movement. "It's one thing [for students] to push the administration to [go green], but if students aren't [doing it themselves], then it's kind of hypocritical," Llop said. "We want to teach [students] that they have the ability to make simple choices that will make things better." Students were shown that what they choose to eat could make an impact on the environment. Organic coffee was provided by CVS and a make-your-own granola station was set up for hungry passersby. Students also had the chance to learn about the critters that call wilderness their home. Owls, insects and reptiles were all in attendance and handlers were more than eager to talk about their injured pals. Judy Fisher, a distributor for Shaklee, an eco-conscious cleaning product company, was excited by the turnout of the event. "I always thought that college kids had no interest in [going] green at all," Fisher said. "But kids are actually reading the information and learning. This is a great event. I'll come back every year for as long as they have [the bazaar]." Marcy McMahon, a sophomore psychology major, believes that immersing students in a culture of green on campus with events like the Sustainability Bazaar will allow the movement to become more of a permanent reality. "When you're constantly bombarded with [the green movement], you start to think it's normal," McMahon said. Tierney McMahon, a freshman psychology major, has always tried to do her part in helping to save the environment. "I always try reusing things, like [not] buying new notebooks every semester," McMahon said. The Environmental SA is satisfied with the growing support that it has received in the past few months and is happy that several clubs have reached out, wanting to collaborate with the organization. One of the organization's goals is to make going green easier. The latest project the Environmental SA is working on is an electronic recycling drive where students can bring in their old cell phones, computers and other devices to be recycled. Alnutt believes that it is the responsibility of younger people to get involved now so that the earth will be a safer place for others in the future. "We're a campus of 30,000 students – pretty soon, we're going to be making the decisions that older people are making for us, so it's important to be informed," Alnutt said. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


FEATURES

Growing green

Katie Ingraham wants to save the planet by planting a garden. Ingraham, the complex director of Creekside Village, has submitted a proposal to the Pepsi Refresh Project to create a community garden in the complex. She hopes to use the garden to educate students about environmental issues and self-sustainability. The Pepsi Refresh Project rewards innovative thinkers who want to make a difference in the world. Pepsi will reward $50,000 to the 10 project ideas with the most votes. Ingraham's proposal includes the creation of two sections within the garden — one for the residents of Creekside and another for partnered groups such as UB Green, UB Environmental Task Force and Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo. Students will be given their own plots of land that they will be responsible for weeding and watering. Educational programming and composting will also be available in the garden. Ingraham is confident that her proposal will help further UB's green initiative and inspire students to lead greener lifestyles. "Providing a community garden will open a door for our students to grow their own vegetables as well as learn valuable lessons on sustainability and green gardening that they will be able to take from here and incorporate in their lives wherever they go," Ingraham said. According to Ingraham, Creekside Village was one of the first complexes in the SUNY system to include Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified buildings. From the light bulbs to the tabletops to the recycled carpet and the refurbished furniture, everything inside and outside of the building is green. "A lot of people don't know about [the complex] because of its hidden location," Ingraham said. "Creekside is still a relatively new community, and this project could help it [to become] better known." Ingraham has noticed a trend in university gardens across the country. Many campuses are beginning to recognize how beneficial gardens are to the supplementation of food service programs. "If [campuses] have the space to do it, they should use it," Ingraham said. "It's cost-effective to grow your own [food]." When Mike Yates, the assistant complex director, was approached with the idea, he jumped on board immediately and helped generate excitement because he knew it would greatly add to an already eco-conscious campus. "Residents have approached us and are showing interest in this," Yates said. "What we're doing is extremely unique." The complex directors would be extremely grateful if the garden proposal won in the Pepsi Refresh Project contest, but they are going to continue developing the idea regardless of whether or not Pepsi awards funding. "We decided to give [the contest] a shot, but if it doesn't work out, we're still going to put in a continued effort," Yates said. Ingraham sees the potential in UB to expand its green initiative and to become an even bigger leader in the movement. "There's a lot of good that's happening now with what UB Green is doing in terms of creating a greener campus, and I hope our garden [can] be another small step in furthering that initiative," Ingraham said. The winners of the Pepsi Refresh grant are determined by votes received at www.pepsirefresh.com. The voting ends March 31. E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


NEWS

One-of-a-kind careers

Blimp pilots, food stylists and pet acupuncturists are not on many job hunters' lists. These unusual job titles may sound like they have nothing in common, but the people who hold them have all forged their own unique career paths.


The Spectrum
NEWS

Being bi in America

Yep, I'm bi. Bilingual, I mean. Well, technically. My enthusiasm for learning a foreign language quickly fizzled after high school. I took five years of Spanish in high school and one semester in college, and that is about as far as I have gotten. Some high schools have actually dropped their foreign language requirements for graduation and others are maintaining them, but students often lose interest in continuing their foreign language education after those requirements have been met, just as I had. Columnist and author Susan Jacoby calls us a 'Know-As-Little-As-You Can-Get-Away-With' Nation. According to Jacoby, 'Only 9 percent of Americans, compared with 44 percent of Europeans, speak a foreign language. The Web has only reinforced the smug American conviction that everyone worth talking to in the world speaks English.' It does seem like most of us are simply satisfied with knowing enough to get by, but I think some schools are trying to make an effort to change this, and they're doing it in a novel way. The New York Times recently published an article on the rise of Chinese language instruction in American schools. U.S. schools are implementing new foreign language programs with the help of the Chinese government, which sends instructors to countries all over the world and pays for part of their salaries. Approximately 27,500 middle and high schools in the U.S. offer at least one foreign language, and of these, 1,600 are now teaching Chinese. The number of elementary school students learning Mandarin has also increased. Now I really feel like a slacker. Little kids will soon be able to make business deals with the Chinese, and I can't even say a sentence in Spanish without second guessing myself first. Jumping from high school level to college level was a large leap for me. I lost confidence in my ability to comprehend the material, and I got frustrated with the fact that I wasn't catching on as quickly as I hoped. I convinced myself that being proficient in Spanish, rather than fluent, was still an accomplishment, yet I still don't identify myself as being bilingual, because I could never really hold up my end of a conversation with a native-Spanish speaker. So I suppose I'm still confused. Sometimes I wish that the importance of learning another language was instilled in me when I was younger. If I was taught a foreign language in elementary school over a consistent period of time, I think that interest would have stuck with me throughout my entire schooling career. That natural curiosity that most children develop so early in life is what motivates them to seek further knowledge when they are older. And this knowledge doesn't have to be sought only in a classroom. There are books, programs, and resources that are available to those who are willing to learn another tongue on their own. We talk so much about the value of English, but Americans often fail to see the importance of learning another language other than their own. It takes patience, but the rewards are well worth it. So many more doors will open for those who do stick with the process. Spanish is the number one minority language in the U.S. and Mandarin can give students an edge in business and government. Besides that, learning a language just makes you more culturally aware. It feeds the intellectual soul. Although I'm not a kid anymore, I'm starting to realize that it's never too late to learn something new. Thinking about the possibilities overwhelms me. There are so many unique languages I would love to learn—Italian, Latin, Russian, German, and even American Sign Language. But for right now, I might just start by revisiting some of my old Spanish textbooks and brushing up a bit on that before I decide to take on the world. E-mail: jessica.brant@ubspectrum.com


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