Saturday, November 28, 2015


UTSA and Silver & Black Give Back team up to build community with special projects


Top photo: Spurs center DeJuan Blair and guard Patty Mills with Lowell Science Club members
Center photo: Blair with Lowell students
Bottom photo: Wide view of the Lowell community garden

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(March 19, 2013) -- Recently, Lowell Middle School students distributed 20 bags of fresh produce to families in their school's immediate neighborhood. The fruits and vegetables came from a garden built and maintained by the Lowell Science Club with funding from Silver & Black Give Back.

To facilitate community projects, five UTSA students were named Spurs Team Up Challenge Scholars. The outreach program matches Texas college students with K-12 schools pursuing community service projects in arts and culture, education, the environment, health and wellness or uniformed services.

UTSA graduate student Fedra Chapa mentored the students, whose project is one of 27 community initiatives funded through the Silver and Black Give Back Team Up Challenge.

"Lowell is an inner-city school with few past gardening endeavors, and we want to engage the school in teaching them all about gardening and the many positive attributes about it," said Chapa. "With this new, awesome garden, we are making a statement about how cool it is to garden and to be self-sustainable. Our science club wants to educate their student body and their community about healthy eating and a healthier lifestyle through gardening organically and locally."

UTSA student Tessa Benavides is working with the National Junior Honors Society at Rhodes Middle School to establish a reading and mentorship program for at-risk children in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio and the Carvajal Early Childhood Center.

At Burch Intermediate, Team Up scholar Laura Covarrubias is helping middle school students develop an after-school program that offers clubs and organizations that meet a few times each week to prepare performances, shows and exhibitions.

Chapa, Benavides and Covarrubias are all pursuing master's degrees in public administration in the UTSA College of Public Policy.

With the support of the Spurs' Silver & Black Give Back organization, UTSA doctoral student Mario Burns (counselor education and supervision) and undergraduate Leslie Garza (criminal justice) also are helping local children with outdoor community service projects. Garza is helping the science club revive two courtyards at Briscoe Middle School. Additionally, they are working with a landscape architect to design two outdoor classrooms and an outdoor laboratory on the campus. Burns is working with Sam Houston High School's Young Leaders Program to create a junkyard art garden they call the "Junk Yarten." They hope the garden will encourage visitors to recycle and reuse neighborhood materials in new ways.

"The Spurs Team Up Challenge has provided a wonderful opportunity for our students to share their energy and ideas with the community," said Francine Romero, associate dean of the UTSA College of Public Policy and a faculty sponsor for UTSA;s Team Up Challenge Scholars. "The addition of the scholars component to the challenge greatly benefits our UTSA students by giving them a meaningful service-learning opportunity and valuable experience in helping to guide a project to completion. We are so pleased to be a partner."

Later this spring, Silver & Black Give Back will evaluate each project completed through the Team Up Challenge. Finalists will be given additional seed funding to continue their service.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

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

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

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

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

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.

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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.

UTSA's Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

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