UBIT projector donations benefit UB departments

UBIT employee Sam Hixon points to projectors that are being donated to departments.

Samuel Hixon, UBIT Instructional Support Technician, points to projectors that were donated to UB departments.

Published April 17, 2024

When UBIT started replacing older video projectors in classrooms over the Winter 2023-24 break with new models, it was clear the old projectors still worked well enough to be of some use.

“Offering out the projectors is just us trying to assist other departments that may not have the resources we have in central UBIT. We’re just trying to help out. ”
Samuel Hixon, UBIT Instructional Support Technician


Michael Canfield.

Michael Canfield joined UB in January 2023 as an IT Communications Specialist for UBIT. A former newspaper reporter with a background in higher ed communication, Michael is also a volunteer firefighter. When he’s not writing or learning about all things UBIT, Michael likes to spend time with his wife and two English bulldogs. 

Samuel Hixon, Instructional Support Technician, decided to reach out to several UB departments to see if they could use the older projectors. Several were happy to take them, and now, over 40 older projectors are being repurposed across campus thanks to the UBIT donations.

“Offering out the projectors is just us trying to assist other departments that may not have the resources we have in central UBIT,” Hixon said. “We’re just trying to help out.”

Repurposing older projectors

In recent years, UBIT has been proactively addressing equipment replacement at end of life rather than waiting for projectors to fail in classrooms. A large part of the initiative was the replacement of 69 projectors in various classrooms that had reached their end of life date, Hixon said.  

The older projectors, which generally have low-to-medium usage hours, would be “gathering dust or be scrapped,” according to Hixon, if they hadn’t been donated.  

“They’d just be sitting in a basement somewhere,” he added.  

Donating the projectors served a dual purpose, according to Hixon.  First, it assisted UB departments with limited budgets in acquiring replacements. It also allowed UBIT to keep track of the specific models being used by each department for more efficient future service.  

Enhancing campus spaces

In total, UB’s College of Arts and Sciences received eight projectors; the College of Fine Arts (CFA) received 25 projectors for displaying art projects; the School of Management received two projectors as spares for their classrooms; UB's Student Union received 10 projectors, and UB Downtown Gateway received five projectors for conference room upgrades and classroom support.

Whitney Kehl, Art Resources Manager in the Department of Art, said the projectors “buoyed” the department’s ability to show digital art pieces in their two galleries, Lower Art Gallery, located in room B45 in CFA, and The Project Space, located in 155 CFA. Kehl ran into Hixon while he was taking down a projector over winter break and expressed the desire to use one if they became available. 

“It was nothing short of serendipitous,” Kehl said, noting that multiple projectors were available when Hixon contacted her before the Spring 2024 semester. “The brightness and color integrity of these projectors far exceeds the quality standard of our existing stock of 2000 lumen projectors. Since our galleries do not have a dedicated ‘screening room’ intended for projected works, these new projectors allow us to display digital works alongside tangible works of art, in our white-walled, lit galleries, without sacrificing quality of display.” 

She continued, “This is a huge improvement which allows greater authenticity and access to the amazing digital work that our students are creating, for new and wider audiences.” 

Starting with next school year, the Art Department will be able to display digital-only exhibits, something that wasn’t possible before, Kehl said. 

“Visitors can plan to see installations in our galleries with multiple projectors in use simultaneously, to feature digital art in our exhibitions more so now than ever possible before,” she said. 

People gather at the "Placeholder" exhibition in February.

People gather at the "Placeholder" exhibition in February. A repurposed projector is showing MFA student Sam Krakowski's "Brain Drain (or The Intimate Inspection of Impulses)." Photo by Whitney Kehl. 

Collaboration across departments

Re-using the projectors is a great example of a cross-unit collaboration, Kehl said. While everyone is busy during the semesters, breaks are “fertile ground” for these types of cooperation across departments.   

Accordingly, the Winter 23-24 break proved to be an opportune time for the replacement project, Hixon said.  

“Initially, the goal was to replace half of the projectors,” Hixon added. "Remarkably, we replaced all 69 between North and South Campus in just two and a half weeks.” 

Hixon said the project not only upgraded classroom technology, but also showcased the efficiency and coordination within UBIT, and is a great example of the collaborative spirit on campus. 

“In my opinion, the project couldn’t have gone smoother,” Hixon added.  

A projector displays a digital art piece.

The work of Matthew Mysliwy,  a student at Tonawanda High School, is displayed using a repurposed projector for the Department of Art exhibition "Great Expectations: Western New York Regional High School Art Exhibition." Photo by Whitney Kehl.