The purpose of the study was to determine if Universal Design Standards (UD Standards) improve usability, convenience and safety for all people (including people with disabilities) who use residential life facilities and buildings in general. This project is a component of the 2010-2015 Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Universal Design and the Built Environment (RERC-UD). During the previous RERC-UD cycle, early drafts of the UD Standards for Commercial Buildings were used to design four buildings, one of which is located on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus. During this cycle, we had the opportunity to compare assessments of the newly constructed residential life building, Greiner Hall, with assessments of similar features in a nearby building that was not designed using the UD Standards. RERC-UD researchers evaluated the buildings through a post-occupancy evaluation (POE), which included three methods of data collection: (1) focus groups, (2) guided tours — a form of focused interview completed as part of a tour of a building — and (3) an online survey. The results provide information for improving the design of dormitories and other residential life facilities, including information on student preferences, usability, convenience and perceived safety. Additionally, the findings will be used to improve the UD Standards and to establish a model for continuous development of the evidence base for the UD Standards.
The Annual BAND Against Bullying Program is a performing arts competition where students from area high schools combine multiple forms of art to create the most dynamic illustration of dignity awareness to prevent bullying. Each final act performs at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts.
In 2012, we launched the college success center at PS 200 Bennett High School to assist counselors as they worked with high school students on the college choice process. The center was designed to achieve three goals: (1) free counselors from the administrative burden of college choice, (2) serve as a conduit between the school and local community partners doing college and career readiness work, and (3) contribute to the creation of a college-going culture in the school. The center at Bennett is now in its fourth year and has served as many as 3,200 students in a given year on a range of activities from career exploration and campus visits to SAT registration, college applications and the financial aid application process. We opened the second center at PS 198 The International Preparatory School in 2014 and we are in our second year of operation at that location. For more information: “College Success Centers open the world of higher education to those who could be left behind“
With this project we partner with Say Yes to Education Buffalo, Buffalo Public Schools and the public charter schools to provide Free Application for Federal Student Aid completion support in 21 high schools across the city of Buffalo. More than 50 interns, graduate assistants, service learning students and volunteers participate in this project annually. During the initial year of the project, FAFSA completion rates increased by 61 percent. Currently, approximately two-thirds of all the FAFSAs completed in Buffalo Public Schools are done with the FAFSA completion project.
UB on the Green is a free, outdoor, family-friendly festival of music, dance and fun, celebrating summer in the South Campus neighborhood. Community residents bring their own lawn chairs, food and drinks to Hayes Hall Lawn, and enjoy great entertainment, hands-on activities, and dynamic demonstrations and workshops. UB on the Green features an exciting theme each night, including “Unity in the Community & Health Care Fair Night,” “Arts & Culture Night” and “Athletics Night.”
The first recommendation in the report, “Opening Economic Opportunity Around UB’s Growing Downtown Presence: Report of the University at Buffalo and St. John Baptist Church Economic Opportunity Panel,” (EOP report), requested that pathways to economic opportunity among UB and its partners be “illuminated.” In response, the Office of Educational Collaboration & Engagement (ECE) created a network of EOP partner agencies and individuals offering employment, education and/or training relevant to workforce opportunities in the downtown medical corridor. Working together with EOP partners, ECE hosted a workshop on the Downtown Campus where leaders from the health care sector, joined by one of the principal architects of the Buffalo Billion initiative, shared information specific to growth plans and employment needs for the region. A follow-up health careers forum provided opportunities for community members to talk with employers who had job openings. As a result of these efforts, a broader workforce plan was initiated that would bring a city-wide workforce strategy that emphasized the involvement of anchor institutions.