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'Shop with a Cop' Program to Help Local Kids Prepare for School

UAlbany Graduate Students, Albany Police Department Partner for the Fundraiser

Pictured from left: Tim Ellis, Gary Pierce and Ema Buco.

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 28, 2019) – A team of graduate students at UAlbany’s School of Business are partnering with the Albany Police Department (APD) to help kids in the Capital Region prepare for the 2019-2020 school year.

Ema Buco, who will complete the Weekend MBA program next month, said the goal of the project is to enable at least 10 kids to go back-to-school shopping with a local police officer this summer.

Buco said she hopes that the fundraiser will facilitate positive interactions between the area’s youth and the police force.

“It is crucial that students feel safe in order to achieve the best educational experience possible,” said Buco, an assistant director for residential life and a lecturer at UAlbany. “Our desire is to provide more resources for officers to be able to reinforce healthy relationships within the neighborhoods they serve.”

Brian Hawley, an officer at the APD, said the department will work with social service agencies to identify families with students in kindergarten through fifth grade who would most benefit from the program.

“Every year, there are kids who unfortunately fall through the cracks, but this will help ensure that kids get the supplies that they need in order to be successful in school,” Hawley said.

Three other students, Gary Pierce, Tim Ellis and Lee Johnson, are involved in the project. As part of the fundraiser, the team is selling $5 reusable “Shop with a Cop” bags.

Those interested in purchasing a bag or donating directly can contact Buco.

The course, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, is taught by Bill Wales, the Standish professor of entrepreneurship at UAlbany. Another team in the MBA course is raising money to help make the Charles R. Wood Theater in Glens Falls, N.Y. more accessible to those with hearing disabilities, according to Wales.

“These projects are fighting for tremendously important causes, and it’s great to see the clear passion to make a difference among our outstanding MBA students,” Wales said. “It’ll be exciting to see how their social entrepreneurial efforts unfold.”

Pam Fisher, who will also complete the Weekend MBA program this spring, is leading a GoFundMe campaign, which has raised more than $2,200 toward its $16,000 goal.

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