By Terri Hughes-Lazzell
Adam Kogelschatz (BA Accounting ’15) learned much about business while earning his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business. While here, he has also learned that he can positively impact others by giving back to the community—and what he learned about giving back continues to drive him.
Kogelschatz, now working toward his master’s degree in accounting with a position with Deloitte’s tax division in Detroit waiting for him after he graduates in the spring, was recognized by MSU’s Project 60/50 for volunteering more than 200 hours with MSU’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) group in 2014.
Service is an integral part of the Spartan experience, he added, which is represented by the work of Project 60/50 and particularly its “What’s Your 110?” challenge, which encourages students, faculty, and staff to volunteer 110 hours in a year.
“Being a Spartan means using your knowledge and talents to make the community a better place,” Kogelschatz said.
He is now serving a fourth year—second as president—with MSU VITA, a student organization that provides free tax preparation for individuals with low to moderate income. He’s learned through his service work how important helping others can be. The average client served by VITA has an annual income of only $15,000, and 1,400 Lansing taxpayers received more than $5 million in refunds last year through the help of the program, Kogelschatz said.
MSU VITA student volunteers are IRS-certified tax preparers. Last year, 126 students volunteered. The group also received assistance from Broad College faculty and the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at MSU. VITA is operated locally through Asset Independence Coalition (AIC) of Lansing, which handles the administrative aspects of the program with the IRS.
“I’ve always been extremely proud of my work with VITA, gaining professional experience and helping others,” he said. “But Project 60/50 shifted my attention to more of the service side. I’m even more proud of the conversation we bring and the difference we make, and the economic justice we bring.”
Project 60/50, which engaged the campus and community in a range of civil and human rights conversations in its 2014 inaugural year, has at its heart two important milestones in American civil rights history—the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This year’s Project 60/50 theme is “Advancing Equality and Equity: Continuing the Community Conversation on Civil and Human Rights.” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon helped launch the second year of Project 60/50 in late September.