|Back on campus|
Bent shares Shooting Beauty
On September 8, Courtney Bent ’93 made her first visit to campus in more than a decade. Instead of taking classes, Bent came to screen and talk about her documentary, Shooting Beauty. The film, which she wrote about in the autumn 2009 Scene, tracks her efforts to create camera equipment for people with special needs and train them to become photographers. In the process, she discovered that “precisely because of their disability, they have a unique perspective.”
Bent’s day began with a breakfast and photo exhibition opening at the Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology. She hosted a Doing Well by Doing Good luncheon in the COVE and sat in on two classes in educational studies and photography.
Later, she participated in a panel presentation that included faculty, staff, and local artists, discussing artistic expression and educational efforts among and on behalf of community members with special needs.
“Inclusion challenges us,” panelist Lynn Waldman, director of academic support and disability services, told the audience — which included 20 undergraduates visiting from Cazenovia College, an event sponsor. “As far as I’m concerned, we all have a disability.”
Before leaving the village, Bent stopped off to chat with students at Hamilton Central School — a familiar atmosphere for the fashion photographer–turned-filmmaker who spends some of her free time teaching photography to 8-year-old children.
Watson Fellow Sachi Schuricht ’09 took students through her journey investigating the widespread, yet obscure, subculture of competitive “speedcubing” throughout Europe and Asia. The fellowship provided her with the resources and support to explore her topic “Cubing Across Cultures: Documenting the Rubik’s Resurgence in India, China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Hungary.” She attended — and entered — competitions, interviewed world-class speedcubers, and captured footage for a documentary film.
Newly appointed Alumni Council member Valerie Shapiro ’02 met with students on September 30 to share her post-Colgate experiences and answer questions about career paths in psychology and closely related fields. Shapiro is a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington, studying community-based interventions to prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders in youth. She is funded through a National Institutes of Mental Health training grant.
Each year, students in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provide free income tax assistance to low-income families in Madison County. The service saves families money that they might have otherwise spent to receive assistance, and helps them receive the full return to which they are entitled. Over the summer, Professor Nicole Simpson, who coordinates the program, crunched VITA’s numbers from 2009:
52 Student volunteers
1,329 Returns filed
$15,782 Average income of clients
$150–$300 What a client would have had to pay for tax assistance elsewhere
$1,960,000 Aggregate refund to clients
$2,484 Average federal return to a client
$619 Average New York State return to a client
— Jason Kammerdiener ’10