UB tax service brings back $1.3 million
During the 2012 tax season, 126 IRS-certified accounting students from the School of Management brought $1,353,406 back into the Buffalo community through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
UB’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honors organization for accounting and finance students and professionals, led the initiative that provided nearly 2,200 hours of tax service, preparing more than 900 tax returns for individuals and families with annual incomes below $50,000.
“We’re especially pleased that nearly $262,000 of the total was a result of the Earned Income Credit, which targets low-income families in need of additional financial support,” says Anna Qu, a student in the School of Management and co-chair of Beta Alpha Psi’s VITA committee. “It means that we helped a number of families who needed it most.”
“We could not be more proud of our students and the impact they have made on the community with this initiative,” adds Arjang A. Assad, dean of the School of Management. “Despite their class loads and other responsibilities, these students have been working virtually every weekend since January to make this program the outstanding success that it has been.”
Cumulatively, School of Management student volunteers have brought more than $4 million in tax refunds back into the Buffalo community over the past four years by preparing more than 3,000 tax returns for low-income families. Approximately $725,000 was from the Earned Income Credit.
Conference promoting computer science
Local industry and teachers have teamed up to host a conference that promotes careers in web design, software development and other computer science fields.
Dubbed the Buffalo I/O conference, the event is free and open to the public. It will be held from 6-9 p.m. May 3 in 101 Davis Hall North Campus.
Sponsored by InfoTech Niagara, the Western New York Computer Science Teachers Association and UB’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the conference is modeled after a similar event held in Boston. Geared toward high school and college students, the Buffalo conference will feature 10- to 15-minute lectures from industry leaders, informal networking opportunities and free refreshments.
While not known as a high-tech business hub, Western New York has a small, yet vibrant technology community that is looking to grow, says Carl Alphonce, a teaching associate professor in the computer science department.
Alphonce says job openings in computer science are outpacing the number of graduates. For example, the National Center for Women and Information Technology projects that industry will add 144,500 computing jobs each year until 2018. With institutes of higher learning expected to produce less than 90,000 computer science and computer engineering graduates annually, there could be a yearly gap of more than 50,000 jobs, according to the center.
To meet the demand, Alphonce and others are encouraging talented and creative students to consider studying computer science. They can expect to earn salaries anywhere from $46,000 to more than $100,000, according to 2010 statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor.
‘Tactical Sound Garden’ on tap
The Fluid Culture Series presented by the Humanities Institute—the folks who floated a fully made bed in the Commercial Slip last fall—will mount a downtown “Tactical Sound Garden” designed by Mark Shepard, associate professor of architecture and media study.
The downtown waterfront “garden” will be open at 6 p.m. May 4-5. Those who wish to participate should bring an Android mobile phone to the Buffalo Waterfront Canal Side pedestrian bridge at the entrance to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.
All Fluid Culture events are free and open to the public.
The Tactical Sound Garden (TSG) is an open-source software platform used to cultivate public “sound gardens” in contemporary cities. Drawing on the culture of urban community gardening, it offers a participatory environment to explore social interaction within a technologically mediated space.
Using a mobile phone running TSG software, participants will “plant” sounds at spots within an audio environment situated along the Buffalo waterfront. These sounds were produced by local sound artists at a workshop held this spring at Squeaky Wheel Media Arts Center.
These “plantings” are mapped onto the coordinates of a specified urban space. Wearing headphones connected to a TSG-enabled device, participants will drift though virtual sound gardens as they move through that space, listening, altering (“pruning”) or “planting” new sounds of their own selection.
Flags at half-mast honor fallen soldier
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings—including those at UB—be flown at half-mast on May 7 in honor of a New York soldier who died on May 1 in Afghanistan.
Capt. Bruce K. Clark died in Tarin Kowt while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned to A Company, Troop Command, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, in El Paso, Texas. He was from Spencerport.
Cuomo has ordered that flags on all state buildings be lowered to half-mast in honor of and tribute to New York service members who are killed in action or die in a combat zone.
REV-UP to recognize volunteers
The 22th annual REV-UP Recognition Ceremony and Reception will be held at 2 p.m. May 8 in 102 Goodyear Hall, South Campus, in conjunction with the May meeting of the Emeritus Center.
Emeritus Center members also will elect new members for the board of directors at the meeting. Rachel Rotach, who will be graduating this month from the School of Social Work, will be introduced as the recipient of the Emeritus Center’s Rose Weinstein Memorial Scholar Award.
Speaking at the meeting will be James J. Rosso, admissions advisor, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who will discuss “UB Medical School Admissions: Past, Present and Future.”
Rosso also will assist James Nadbrzuch, associate vice president for resource and support service, in presenting REV-UP members with certificates of appreciation, as well as recognizing representatives from departments benefiting from REV-UP support.
The ceremony will recognize 77 REV-UP members who together contributed more than 2,400 hours of volunteer service to 18 UB departments from May 2011 through April 2012.
Since the inception of the REV-UP program in March 1990, more than 66,100 hours of volunteer service have been given to UB by its retirees.
REV-UP (Retired Employee Volunteers-University Program) is a joint program of the Emeritus Center and University Life and Services.
For further information about the REV-UP program, contact Leila (Lee) Baker at 829-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.