The New Buffalo Institute will become a hub to centralize the institution’s community and civic engagement efforts, connecting students, alumni, faculty and staff with community partners in the Hamlin Park, Masten Park, and Cold Springs neighborhoods, and leverage our geographic location as a resource for the community.
Through the co-creation and facilitation of programming, creative initiatives, and community-engaged learning activities, the NBI will advance sustained, authentic engagement led by community identified priorities that center equity, empowerment, and work in solidarity with, rather than in service to, our neighbors.
Goals and Objectives
- Build strategic and focused relationships with community partners, prioritizing quality vs. quantity to have long-term, ongoing impact
- Support and advance meaningful civic engagement through community-engaged learning and service
- Promote an understanding of, and appreciation for, the importance of active, sustained community engagement
- Open up Canisius in manageable ways to the community
- Empower the Canisius community, especially students, to responsibly and ethically engage with our neighbors in a way that avoids extractive behavior, and promotes an asset-based approach to understanding the East side of Buffalo that values its historical richness and history
- Build capacity of students to see this community in a new light
- Promote pride in the neighborhood for both those from the community, and those considered “transplants”
- Develop a thorough, data-driven understanding of the critical needs of the East side of Buffalo to participate in, and collaborate on, meaningful work already in progress for addressing those needs
Areas of Focus
The NBI focuses on set strategic priorities, each of which has significant implications for the East Side of Buffalo.
Community Based Learning and Community Service
Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
Neighborhood Development and Revitalization
Fall 2023 Initiatives
Various community engaged learning sites
Over 70 students participated in Fall 2023, across multiple community partner sites
Celebrate Autumn Event
25 children attended; AACC as community partner
Community Clean Ups (USA Sustainability Committee)
Over 75 students over three coordinated clean up efforts
Canisius Hamlin Park Mentoring Club
8 Canisius students as mentors
Good Neighbors Project (Athletics)
Pen Pal Program and Cultural Bazaar (Phi Sigma Sigma)
Facilitating helping hands for community partner events
Harvest Fest (Resource Council)
Turkey Giveaway (MMB Realty)—over 40 student athletes volunteered
Toys for Tots Drive (Resource Council of WNY)
Over 100 new toys donated
About the Director
Shana Richardson is a proud Buffalo native, born and raised on the city’s East side. From an early age, Canisius University has been a part of her story. Shana grew up within walking distance of the KAC, and walked there every summer for 5 consecutive years to participate in the National Youth Sports Program, housed on the Canisius University campus. It was this early exposure to the institution that led Shana to choose Canisius to pursue her undergraduate degree in English. Shana received the Urban Leadership and Learning Community (ULLC) scholarship, known at that time as the McGowan Scholarship, a full 4-year scholarship, to attend Canisius, and her time was greatly enriched by her participation in this community of scholars.
Shana went on to earn her BA in English from Canisius in 2006, and her MA in English from the University at Buffalo in 2008. She returned home to Canisius upon completion of her graduate degree as an adjunct in the English department, while also teaching at Bryant & Stratton College and Medaille College. In 2013, Shana accepted the position of Coordinator for Academic Support Services for the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at Canisius University, and proudly served in that role until July 2019. During her time in HEOP, Shana earned an additional graduate degree in the Higher Education Student Affairs Administration program in May 2019. In July 2019, Shana was granted directorship of Medaille College’s HEOP, as the first Director of the inaugural program. She has also served as the Director of Student Support Services for the Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center, which serves historically marginalized adult students.
Throughout her professional career, one thing that continued to stay with her was the ULLC’s call to pour into local youth so that one day its graduates would do the same for their Buffalo community. It was this call that led her to her current role as the Director of the New Buffalo Institute here at Canisius, and that has also kept her closely connected to the institution over the years. In addition to this new role, Shana continues to serve as an adjunct instructor in the HESAA program and is also an active member of the ULLC Alumni Council. She is excited to take over the work of the New Buffalo Institute!
Shana resides in the historic Hamlin park area with her husband, Marques, and their 3 children, Micah, 11, and Zoey and Zaryah, both 7.