Canisius Eco-Heroine: Shana Richardson
By: Genevieve Fontana, Contributor
Our eco-heroine this week is Shana Richardson, the recently appointed director of the New Buffalo Institute at Canisius University. Shana has enthusiastically taken on this prestigious role, bringing with her exceptional energy, a self-starting attitude and a proactive approach to leadership. Shana envisions the New Buffalo Institute as a platform to promote social justice, economic justice and environmental sustainability with transformative efforts for a positive impact on the community.
Shana attended summer camp at Canisius College in the ‘90s, which inspired her to consider college as a viable option for her future. She pursued her education at Canisius as a first-generation college student and discovered her passion for mentoring students while working as a teaching assistant. In this way, Canisius played a crucial role in helping Shana find her voice.
Shana, a resident of the East Side and a member of the Hamlin Park Community & Taxpayers Association (HPCTA), has a goal to strengthen the relationship between the University and its neighbors. During the HPCTA meeting held at Canisius University, the Buffalo City Revitalization Initiative was discussed. This project aims to revive neighborhoods, promote economic growth and foster a sense of community cohesion to revitalize Buffalo. It is a visionary project that seeks to breathe new life into the city and address social justice, economic justice, and environmental sustainability issues for a stronger Buffalo.
Shana’s goal is to improve the relationship between Canisius University and BPS 74, Hamlin Park School, which is located at 126 Donaldson Rd, Buffalo, NY 14208, and is easily accessible on foot from the University. She highlights that Saturday Academies would be an ideal platform for Canisius students and Hamlin inhabitants to connect and strengthen their bond. Her three children inspire her to be community-oriented. Shana wants to show them to authentically engage and to “SHOW UP” for the neighborhood. She says, “When you have kids, you think about the world differently.”
The East-West Community Garden is a significant place for our campus community. We are enthusiastic about connecting with our neighborhood through this garden, along with Shana. Recently, the East-West Community Garden collaborated with the New Buffalo Institute, the USA Sustainability Committee and the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority on campus to organize an event titled "Celebration of Autumn." This event aimed to introduce our community garden spaces and host fall fun activities for children in the neighborhood, particularly those from the African American Cultural Center.
For a more sustainable future, Shana asks herself, “How can we as citizens live in such a way that we are not compromising the next generation's ability to live as well?” She has been inspired by the goals of Laudato Si’, which are to respond to the cry of the Earth, respond to the cry of the poor, foster ecological economics, adopt a sustainable lifestyle, offer ecological education, develop ecological spirituality and support local communities.
In her home, they do simple things like turn off the water when they brush their teeth, take shorter showers, drive less and bike more. Down the line, the Richardson family would like to adopt a more plant-based diet, eat less meat and consider a minimalist lifestyle.
As the new director, Shana Richardson's contagious enthusiasm and passion for creating a more equitable and sustainable future will undoubtedly inspire the entire Canisius University community to come together and drive positive change. We have already witnessed the New Buffalo Institute flourish under her guidance in her short time in the position.