Sustainable Progress and Equality Collective

Sharing Knowledge. Building Communities.


"Make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or disadvantage of anyone" - Buckminster Fuller

The Sustainable Progress and Equality Collective (SPEC) is an open learning organization that empowers individuals to be catalysts for positive change. Our mission is to empower individuals to become globally-minded change agents by helping them learn the essential skills required to build sustainable careers and make a positive impact in their communities. We aim to shape the next generation of leaders who will need to tackle the challenges facing their communities and the world at large. SPEC achieves this aim through research & development, mentorship, training, paid & unpaid research positions, and hosting events for people from underrepresented backgrounds, underserved communities, non-traditional backgrounds, and allies to the causes of environmental and social justice.

Operating Principles

Sustainability Through Systems Thinking

Progress Through Open Collaboration

Equality Through Mutual Reciprocity


SPEC was founded in June 2020 in response to the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic and social unrest facing communities across the United States. Its co-founders, Dr. Rhianna Rogers and Joe Torreggiani, connected online when Joe posted an offer to provide mentoring, technical training, and micro-loans to individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, and Dr. Rogers reached out about collaborating. They immediately discovered a shared mission of wanting to make the world work for everyone and deep concern about environmental and social justice. They established SPEC to empower individuals in their communities to learn new skills, build careers, and make an impact during this time of crisis and uncertainty.

For me, SPEC’s model has been a cross between a laboratory and a playground: I have tested ideas and made mistakes, all while feeling safe and supported. I’ve learned that there are many opportunities available to apply my talents, and ways I can help build a fairer world.
– Nay Farber
As a non-traditional student, I entered college with a clear vision for what I wanted my education and career to look like. However, because of the perspective and experience I gained from my education, I seriously reconsidered my career plans during my last year of school and I’m now working in a new professional role that I never expected (or prepared!) to fill. This program has already empowered me to grow and achieve in all of the roles I fill — employee, neighbor, student, citizen. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to spend my last year of college working with The Buffalo Project/SPEC because this program gave me an opportunity to build a diverse set of skills (writing, technology, cultural competency) that will serve me both personally and professionally for years to come.
– Mikayla Schneiter

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