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Champion a Change in YOUR Community!

Interested in challenging the powers that be? In changing the status quo? In building something better for your community? In creating a more sustainable region? Think about becoming a Champion for Change through One Region Forward‘s Citizen Planning School this spring!

Often times, we come up with a great idea on how to solve a problem in our own communities, but don’t know how to get it off the ground. That’s the reason that University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, Blackstone LaunchPad, and It Takes A Village Action Organization, are hosting the Spring 2019 Champions for Change program. The course will be co-instructed by Robert G. Shibley, FAIA, AICP, and Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning.

Starting February 26, groups of sustainable change makers will receive free hands-on technical support and learning opportunities to help grow their project idea toward implementation. The opportunity is open to residents of Erie and Niagara counties.

The 2018 cohort of Champions for Change with their faculty, staff, and student mentors.
Download the flyer for more info and to spread the word!

As a Champion for Change, you will:

  • Bring your vision to life, from an idea to a clear action plan
  • Refine your idea with a research & technical support team
  • Network with other Champions for Change, professionals, UB students & community leaders
  • Present your project idea to the public and potential supporters at the Idea Summit
  • Identify funding to support your project

If you believe that you can make a difference in the Buffalo-Niagara region, and you want to apply to the program, the deadline is January 25th. This is an incredible three-month opportunity to learn how to become a change-maker in your community. This is not just about brainstorming, this is about being proactive, to be a leader, to alter the course of a city, to bring about constructive and long-lasting change.

“We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. In this exquisitely connected world, it’s never a question of ‘critical mass.’ It’s always about critical connections.” – Grace Lee Boggs

The fifth semester of the One Region Forward Champions for Change program takes place at University at Buffalo, Hayes Hall starting on Tuesday, February 26th.


Written by Darren Cotton

Darren Cotton

Darren has over a decade of experience in the fields of community development, urban planning, and information design. Working as Director of Community Development & Planning at the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA), Darren was responsible for writing and administering over $2 million in grant funding focused on commercial corridor revitalization, small business development, alternative transportation planning, historic preservation, public art, and community capacity building in Buffalo's University District. As a graduate student at the University at Buffalo, Darren founded The Tool Library, a community-based tool lending library, with an aim of providing affordable tool access and building the Sharing Economy in WNY. With a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and Linguistics and a Master's Degree in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo, Darren works to bridge the gap between research and policy through planning, design, and grassroots activism. and is a firm believer that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

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