Environmental Studies Community-Based Learning

Student/Faculty Research Opportunities

Led by Environmental Studies program coordinator Erin Robinson, PhD, various opportunities for students exist in active research projects.  They include 

“The Stories Project” -- Clean Air Coalition of Western New York

Field research, including in-depth interviews and participant observation with Clean air Coalition of WNY regarding oral history narratives of perceptions of air quality in Tonawanda, NY.  Students participate in ethics and interview training to assist with interviewing, transcription, and analysis. 

“Safe Fisheries, Safe Bodies” -- Buffalo RiverKeeper

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation seek to improve fish consumption advisories and outreach in the Buffalo River Area of Concern and Niagara River watershed. Current advisories will be revised to improve information uptake in high-risk communities. Local community and refugee outreach groups will collaborate in translating and distributing non-traditional outreach materials. This project will fill a significant gap in understanding fish consumption patterns of subsistence anglers to inform future education and policy efforts.  Students will assist in survey development, implementation of policy recommendations, survey assessment and analysis. 

“Westside Asthma Epidemic: Caught on Film” -- Clean Air Coalition of Western New York

Participant Action Research to assess extent of environmental health issues on Buffalo’s West Side.  Community photo-voice project is where residents will be given cameras to capture quality of life stigmas. Students will employ qualitative analysis to assess impact of photography as a tool for social justice empowerment and change. 

“People’s Park Sustainability and Environmental Justice” -- People’s Park Steering Committee

Field research involving local community parks initiative.  Following the development of People’s Park, Buffalo NY.  Analysis of grassroots community movement in the transformation of unused urban space to neighborhood park space. Students participate in observations and surveys of park participants, community outreach, visual analysis of social space, social capital analysis.

Dr. Erin E. Robinson's Research

Associate Professor and author of Community Mobilization for Environmental Problems: How a Grassroots Organization Forms and Works is also researching impacts of groundwater contamination on communities in partnership with the University at Buffalo and the National Science Foundation.

Community-Based Learning Opportunities

As an Environmental Studies major, you will have many opportunities to actively work in local “green” projects.  Some of the organizations include: