Community Computer Lab Launched By UB, Council Member Russell and Neighborhood Church

Goal is to improve community access to technology on Buffalo's East Side

Release Date: April 6, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo and Buffalo Common Council Member Bonnie E. Russell powered up 10 computer terminals at New Testament Revival Cathedral on Buffalo's East Side today as part of a joint effort to provide much-needed computing resources for families in the neighborhood.

The computers, complete with software, make up the new Phoenix Community Computer Lab in the church, which is now open to members of the community. UB loaned the computers and Council Member Russell provided $3,500 to the computer lab, to cover equipment maintenance and purchase of additional computers.

"UB is dedicated to the advancement of our surrounding communities," said Marsha Henderson, UB's vice president for external affairs. "The development of this community computer site, in partnership with Council Member Russell, is consistent with our institutional goals and the needs of the community."

Neighborhood residents were on hand to try out the new computers during an open house at the church, located at 987 Kensington Ave.

"I am pleased to help New Testament Revival Cathedral with funding sources needed to open their brand new computer lab," said Russell. "Working with UB in a joint effort to make this endeavor possible has been a rewarding experience. I look forward to future collaboration with UB."

UB officials and Russell selected New Testament Revival Cathedral as the site for the computers as part of an ongoing effort to improve the quality of life and build better relationships with community members who reside near UB's South (Main Street) Campus. New Testament

has a well-established track record as a multi-purpose community center and sponsor of numerous community outreach programs, including government food distribution, maintaining a food pantry, youth programs and activities to help strengthen the families.

Not all parts of the Greater Buffalo community have easy access to computer technology, Henderson noted, adding that UB has helped to meet demand by providing public access to computers in its on-campus libraries.

Unfortunately, UB's ability to provide on-campus computing resources for neighborhood residents cannot keep pace with the community's needs.

In response, the university has developed a plan that calls for working within neighborhood "hubs," including community centers and churches, to build computing capacity and meet the demand for technology. This effort will initially focus on neighborhoods closest to the UB South Campus and Downtown Campus.

UB's IT Computer Services Department provided volunteer technical support for the new community computer lab.

"These computers will give neighborhood residents an opportunity to connect with friends and family, access vast sources of information and develop their skills as they try to compete in the new 21st-century economy," said Kandice Drayton, computer-site coordinator.

The university, through its UB 2020 plan, hopes to serve as a catalyst for the emerging science and technology-based economy in Buffalo, said Henderson. "Creation of community computer labs is critical for the development of skills that will help Buffalo residents contribute to and benefit from this new economy," she said.

The New Testament Revival Cathedral recently became the distribution site for East Buffalo and surrounding areas for Angel Food Ministries - a grocery relief program that allows anyone of any income status to participate in saving money on groceries.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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