(Aug. 21, 2013) -- The connection of UTSA and the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind (SALB) began with a conversation several years ago between two friends whose children went to the same school. Something that started small has become a collaboration with a great impact on the community.
Several years ago, a meeting between Olivia Lopez, program coordinator for the UTSA Mexico Center and the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute (CAPRI), and Chris Crane, national sales manager for the SALB, led to a significant business relationship. UTSA is now one of the top three commercial accounts with the SALB, purchasing office supplies, equipment and furniture.
The San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in Texas. For 80 years, the group has helped people who are blind or visually impaired live high-quality, independent lives by providing rehabilitation services, technology training and employment in its light manufacturing assembly plant.
"I've known Chris Crane for a long time because our kids went to grade school together," said Lopez. "We got together for a meeting, and I realized what a great impact their work was having. She saw the potential for collaboration between the university and the Lighthouse, so Dr. Harriett Romo, the director of CAPRI and the Mexico Center, and I helped set up the Lighthouse as a UTSA vendor. They supplied office materials to us and then other departments started buying from them, and it grew. I've always liked UTSA's commitment to helping others."
"We call our major commercial customers Visionary Partners, so UTSA has that distinction within our agency and when we refer to the school in public," said Crane. "With more than 50,000 blind people in San Antonio, partnering with UTSA has made a significant impact in the lives of many of our neighbors. Since there is a 70-percent unemployment rate among the blind, UTSA purchases help to create jobs for people who are blind and support for these individuals and their families."
The SALB recently was awarded the paper contracts for the John Peace Library and College of Business copy centers at UTSA, along with providing everything from paper clips to printers from a selection of more than 41,000 items for offices across the three UTSA campuses.
About the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind
Serving more than 6,000 clients each year, the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind is a San Antonio icon for training and educating the blind and severely visually impaired and is a leader in manufacturing for military and government agencies.
Founded in 1933, the Lighthouse began as a small sewing plant on the San Antonio South Side and has grown into an agency that provides employment for more than 450 employees in a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing and rehabilitation facility. More than half of its employees are blind or visually impaired.
The SALB manufacturing operation supports our nation's military efforts by manufacturing office supplies, military helmet chin straps and textile apparel, spill kits and absorbent products, aerospace insulation blankets and airplane floorboards.
SALB operates 14 base service centers on 11 military installations in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico as part of the AbilityOne program, which helps blind and disabled employees nationwide find jobs. AbilityOne partners with nonprofits to provide products made by the blind and disabled to the federal government at fair market prices.
SALB also hosts community events such as Art in the Dark and the SALB Walk Run. To volunteer, visit the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind website.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.