No Place to Create in the VI

Better resources and facilities needed for aspiring young artists


 ST. CROIX – In a society so rich and diverse in culture we find many ways of expressing ourselves as a people. Sweet combinations of various art styles connect us in ways that express how people feel, think and live. Whether it’s through music, dance, paintings, photos, videos, or illustrations, people as a whole interpret and obtain unique perspectives. They in turn share their own creative twist in hopes that someone can relate to and respect it.

 “It is strange that only around carnival time we tend to see a lot of art in a cultural aspect,” said Albert Hazard. Born in California, but a a resident of the territory since 1971.

 Hazard primarily started in the ceramics area of arts. He had accomplished 30 years’ of experience in teaching art and retired in 2003.

According to Hazard, art is all around us.

“We take it for granted and think that it is not important. Art is very important because without it life would be bland. Life would simply be black and white,” Hazard said.  “Students need some way to express themselves and an outlet to help develop their talents.”

Hazard has heard many parents say they don’t think arts are as important as other subjects. However, he believes that we have a lot of talented and gifted children in the Virgin Islands.

Although Hazard is retired, he has dedicated his time to St. Croix Educational Complex High School because they were in need of an arts instructor. His passion for art and his love for the future generation is why he agreed to come back to Complex and help students see a window of opportunity through the arts program.

Many believe the stigma in our society in the Virgin Islands that says we cannot make a living in the arts.

Ceramics foundation arts instructor, Dwydale Dariah. begs to differ.

“When people think of art, all they think about is drawing and painting; there is more to art than that,” said Dariah.

Dariah believes that as a career, the arts department is not taken seriously. Children are being discouraged out of pursuing their dreams because there is a lack of education as to how far arts can really take talented and inspired students.

Dariah was born in St. Lucia and has been an arts instructor for 13 years. He admires seeing each child’s  unique talents.

It saddens Dariah to see the drift in arts within the school system. With the lack of teachers and supplies it nearly seems impossible to facilitate students’ desires to get seriously involved in their passion for arts in the community.

“I believe 60 percent of the community could be better if there were better supplies and facilities to accommodate the youth of today. There is a trickle-down effect to things here,” Dariah Said. “If we as a people find more positive things for young people to do that will actually benefit them, we wouldn’t see as much crime and violence because they will be actively engaged.”

He stressed the need for more instructors, but feels that one reason the territory won’t receive any from abroad is because most won’t leave the mainland where there is better pay to come to the territory where resources are limited as well as income.

“For the sake of the children, we need change” Dariah said.

Marcus Castillo
Columbus College for Arts and Design Graduate Marcus Castillo

A student who wanted to pursue his dreams in the arts, Marcus Castillo, revealed his perspective on the matter.

“The possibility of students who leave the territory to reach opportunities and coming back home with the knowledge, skills, and talents is very small,” Castillo said. “If students can’t achieve their art potentials here because of limited funds, staffs, and supplies, at least inform the students that there are options outside of the territory although I feel as a diverse community we should have been able to provide for students who don’t have the privilege of going abroad.”

Castillo is a recent graduate of Columbus College for Arts and Design in Ohio, and one of the first from the territory to attend the college.

He was born in Dominican Republic but was raised in the Virgin Islands. Upon graduating from the St. Croix Educational Complex High School, Castillo made the decision to leave St. Croix to go to the mainland to acquire his Bachelor’s degree.

According to Castillo, It was a tough move to leave family and friends. The University of the Virgin Islands didn’t have a sufficient program that would help him the way he envisioned. Because of his move to the mainland he is currently working as an illustrator doing what he loves and has a passion for.

He did come back to the territory to do work, and when that backfired, he felt it was best to stay in the United States where he had more opportunities.

“I had a strong support system from family and friends,” Castillo said “but the man that helped me get where I am today is Mr. John Jones.”

Artwork by Marcus Castillo
Artwork by Marcus Castillo

Mr. Jones was Castillo’s art instructor throughout his high school life. He educated Castillo and pushed him positively in his talents and abilities because he saw the potential in him.

“The territory could do better with more multi-centers where children can go to feed their creative imaginations. Giving them something constructive to do, helps minimize idleness in the youth and provide them with something to do other than steal, fight, and get into trouble,” said Castillo. “I found an escape from a stereotype as a young man through my passion for arts; others should have that chance as well.”

Ain’t nobody got time for fat

How to avoid the freshman 15


ST. CROIX- Freshmen beware! one of the most feared things that can possibly happen to you is lurking. We are not talking about failing a test, or arriving late to a midterm. We are talking about the dreaded “freshman 15.”

The freshman 15 is an expression often determined by the amount of weight freshmen gain after their first semester of college.

A 2006 study by researchers at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, NJ, found that out of 67 freshmen, 18 lost weight and 49 gained an average of about 7 pounds each. In another study at Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 44 freshmen were studied; 16 of them lost weight, two stayed the same and 26 gained an average of about four pounds.

Hence, along with worrying about your exam tomorrow, or five page essays for English class, managing your weight is a must! How so? By avoiding the horrible freshmen fifteen.

The transition to college from high school gives most freshmen a sense of independence.

Freshman-15-comicEating what you want is one of the many privileges of being a college student, but what you eat makes a difference and college students typically the young adults eat poorly.

University of Illinois at Chicago study found that when young adults eat fast food, they consume an extra 309 calories between deep-fried food, high-sugar drinks and side orders.

On average people sometimes eat in response to anxiety, homesickness, sadness, or stress, and all of these can be part of adapting to being away at school.

After speaking with University of the Virgin Islands fourth year student Kareem Eugene, he shared the advantages of the wide selections of foods available each day. He also added, that the UVI Snack Bar has the tastiest and fastest food, and available all day long.



Junior Garcia, a student and fitness trainer at the university, and was kind enough to share some tips:

• Eat three meals a day

• Eat a big breakfast

• Workout once a day for 3 days out of the week

• Eat healthy snacks in between meals

(nuts, granola bars, etc.)

• Always eat from the food pyramid

• Eat lots of colorful food for example fruits and vegetables

• Eat more meat than carbohydrates

• avoid eating when stressed, while studying, or while watching TV

• eat slowly

• eat at regular times and try not to skip meals

• keep between-meal and late-night snacking to a minimum

• choose a mix of nutritious foods

• pick lower-fat options when you can, such as low-fat milk instead of whole milk or light salad dressing instead of full-fat dressing

• watch the size of your portions

• resist going back for additional servings

• steer clear of vending machines and fast food

• keep healthy snacks like fruit and vegetables on hand in your room

• replace empty-calorie soft drinks with water or skim milk

If you abide by these helpful guidelines you will have absolutely nothing to worry about.

It’s Always a Party In Rock City!

Annual campus initiation party


ST. THOMAS- One hundred and fifty students anxiously boarded the Kontiki vessel for the “Rep Your Dorm Initiation Party” on Sept. 5 by the University of the Virgin Islands as part of their annual campus initiation party.

UVI offers this event as an opportunity for new and returning students to mingle and start their school year off with a blast.


The students wore an array of colored t-shirts such as: red for Predators, green for Avengers, tan for Warriors, orange for Travelers and blue for Invaders.

Refreshments were served alongside a variation of music provided by DJ’s Kegg and Marlie.

The student initiation party is a yearly gathering combining campus residents and non-residents.

New students and returning students get the opportunity to participate in various activities and share talents such as dancing and highly coordinated stepping and chanting.

The crowd ultimately favored the Warriors for their dynamic step routine.

A campus resident described the atmosphere of the party as a success.

“It was just a cool vibe. Nobody fought, everybody behaved, laughed, took pictures and created memories,” said Denesha Barbrow, a second year nursing major.

This year the party was chaperoned by the Dean of Students, Leon Lafond, Student Housing Supervisor, Sean Georges, and Student Counselor, Dahlia Stridiron.

Georges made note that the success of the party is determined or depended on the amount of students that are in attendance.

“This is the first time in four years with the exception of the year before that we have brought back the freshman initiation party,” Georges said. “We faced problems previously due to the low amount of support we were getting from students.” 

The last initiation party was held over on John Brewer’s Bay. More students came out and were able to catch a break before the semester officially started.

Barbecues, inflatable water slides, games, music, traditional laughter and a positive atmosphere were all in attendance.

The party was considered a to be yet another success by the UVI community.

UVI students are encouraged to participate in upcoming UVI sponsored activities and parties.

By joining in the activities, students create more memories and long lasting relationships that the entire campus can “buzz” about.

Literacy across UVI

The effects and challenges of literacy on student success at UVI

Markida Scotland |

ST. CROIX – In the Virgin Islands 90-95 percent of the population is literate. However, according to professors at the University of the Virgin Islands, while the students can all read and write, 88 percent of students upon entrance to UVI have to take remedial English, which often makes graduating in four years unlikely.

“I have about five students that are really stellar,” said visiting Professor, Alexis Walker. “My expectations are stringent, so I would say that out of my 60 students, there are about 16 that are below college level. The rest are just average.”

According to Dr. Valerie Combie, an English professor at the university, being literate is more than being able to read and write. It all comes down to communication and the students are not aware of this.

“I don’t think that students understand the importance of communicating clearly and it affects their writing,” she said.

Professor Walker believes that factors such as their attitude, their teachers and practice, affects students’ level of literacy.

“Most students do not like to read nor write. I didn’t like to write and didn’t learn how to write well until I graduated,” Professor Walker confessed. “I think we don’t realize in college why it’s important. We think because we have electronics we don’t have to write, but it’s just a tool, you still have to do the writing part.”

The University of the Virgin Islands takes part in many events that encourage students to read, write and communicate better, however, the population of students present are often slim.

Combie along with Dr. Nancy Morgan are members of the V.I council on Literacy, an organization which was developed through a federal grant awarded to the Department of Education.

This year, the council hosted literacy activities on Sept. 9 across the territory in observance of International Literacy day, which is typically help on Sept. 8 by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and focuses on worldwide literacy needs.

As a result, the University of the Virgin Islands also participated and hosted literacy activities in the writing center and the pavilion of the Albert A. Sheen campus, but the turnout of students wasn’t as large as they hoped.

The activities were held from 10 to 4 a.m., where they encouraged participants to read from their favorite author, favorite book or favorite literary period for 15 minutes as well as participate in any literary activities of your choice during each hour of the program. Books were also given away for free.

At the program, students had the chance to learn that there were different types of literacy. Professor Jewel-Brathwaite presented a poem as part of the activities which was focused on literacy through culture. Other performances as well as musical selections were demonstrations of literacy through arts.

The reading portion of the program was especially important. According to Dr. Combie, students that do not read for pleasure typically do not write as well as those that do.

Dr. Combie wasn’t the only one that thought so. Dr. Morgan believes that reading was the key that opened the doors to the world and with it, one is able to visit and share the same experiences as the author.

However, this key is unattainable to some as statistics from the International Reading Association state that more than 780 million of the world’s adults do not know how to read or write and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to an education.

For Professor Walker, it’s not just about reading, but “what” you read that opens doors.

“I am on Facebook so I see what other teachers and writers post and they always say ‘as long as they read, as long as they read’ and that’s good for reading literacy, but not for writing literacy,” she said. “One of things I found in the textbooks is they are putting informal essays in there and so I try to avoid assigning those to my students because if they read those they are just going to continue to write informally because that’s what is being used as an example.”

Along with participating in international Literacy Day, there is an annual writing conference held on Nov. 1 in the Great Hall.

This conference, while open for students, is used to provide information to teachers that will better aid them in helping students improve their literacy.

“Literacy is not about reading. It’s about respect, and your rights as a human being,” said Jeanette Smith-Barry, the superintendent of education for the St. Thomas/St. John district during the 2010 conference.

This year’s theme: “Write (Right) in the Heart of the Common Core” explores the all-encompassing facets of literacy as it relates to the Common Core State Standards.

The University of the Virgin Islands also provides a writing center on both campuses, for students to improve their writing.

The center provides tutoring and offers assistance in several areas, including prewriting, writing research papers an essays, editing and revisions, and guidance for the English proficiency exams.

Many English professors agree that while students do go to the writing center, it isn’t the amount that they expected considering how many need the assistance.

There are students that do come to learn, but there are others that do not take it seriously.

“They want quick fixes” According to Dr. Combie, “They hand you the paper and want the corrections done for them.”

Professor Walker is trying a new approach this semester which requires mandatory participation in the writing center before submission of their final papers.

“Those 16 students need to visit the Writing Center if they expect to pass my class,” she said.

Every year the professors have new students take a diagnostic test which shows their skill level in English. The pattern of problems aren’t just from one class to another, but a general problem that is often heard, even for returning students.

“The students write how they speak,” is a common phrase mentioned among professors.

“Their problem is having to switch from Cruzan, to Standard English,” said Professor Walker, “especially with the word ‘Would.’ It’s just a word in Cruzan, you can throw it anywhere you want, but in Standard English it is future tense.”

The University’s standards for literacy is so high that Students are also required to take an English Proficiency Exam (EPE). The purpose of the English Proficiency Requirement is to ensure that all UVI graduates have demonstrated a required level of proficiency in using English as an effective means of written communication.

According to Combie, students typically do well on the English Proficiency exam (EPE).

“The EPE Has a passing rate of 70-708%, which isn’t so bad, but it could be better,” she said.

From the perspective of most teachers, the “skill courses” as they are often called as opposed to “Remedial”, are beneficial for students, but the students do not see it as such. Many of the students believe that the course are a “waste of time,” a “waste of money” and a “waste of credits.”

However, there are some students that disagree.

“I didn’t take remedial English. I took remedial math,” said Zoe walker, a Psychology major at the university.

From her experience, she believes that the remedial classes are both needed and beneficial to students.

“The remedial courses reinforces information students may have forgotten upon transitioning to college from high school, or provides a better understanding for those that are shaky in that particular subject matter.”

Marine Biology Major, Andrew White, also agrees that remedial courses are needed.

“You need a strong basis in English to continue, especially if you have to do a research paper. A research paper can make or break you, especially if you end up plagiarizing and getting the big book thrown at you”

He also stated that students should be given the option to test of courses.

Another student at the university, Abigail Vidale took remedial English as well, “The classes did help me. I don’t think they are a waste of time and it also built my vocabulary.”

But where does the foundation for literacy begin? A typical answer would be from birth, however, Dr. Combie believes that if students have solid foundations before attending institutions of higher learning they would be better prepared upon entrance.

While the statistics show that student’s literacy levels are below upon entrance, another survey, according to Professor Walker, says that students are going leaps and beyond after graduating from the University.

“I don’t know if it’s because they come at such a low level and teachers bring them up to where they should be or because they come in at regular level and become outstanding.” said Professor Walker. “I have this retired engineer that told me the better he wrote the higher his salary went.”

If students saw that connection they could connect writing to their goals and see that better writing skills may lead to a higher salary and greater chances of success.

Initiating New Leaders

Another year ahead for SGA President Kimberlee Smith


ST. THOMAS – Family and friends gathered at the Administration and Conference Center Friday evening for the 2013-2014 installation of the newly-elected members of the Student Government Association.

After gaining the vote of a vast majority of the student body, UVI senior Kimberlee Smith is back for her second year as SGA president. Smith and other members of the cabinet remained attentive throughout the ceremony, taking notes as various members of the administration expressed their expectations and offered words of advice.

“You have been identified as young professionals and young leaders of the student body and this institution,” said Leon Lafond, Student Activities supervisor, as he congratulated the students on their accomplishments.

Before instructing the students to raise their right hand and repeat the oath of office, UVI President Dr. David Hall reminded the students of the sacrifices that they should be prepared to make.

“Leadership is a sacrifice and this sacrifice will create a legacy for other students to come,” President Hall said.

While offering a few words of encouragement and guidance, keynote speaker Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone highlighted some of his accomplishments. He noted that he was involved in student government and other leadership positions from the young age of 14, and continued on to being a leader in college and the Virgin Islands government.

New Image

**Photo credit Dale Morton
**Caption: Senate President Shawn Michael Malone addresses students at the UVI 2013 Student Government Association installation ceremony.

After the SGA elections took place in April, some students complained that Smith had not been as active as she promised during her campaign.

“Each candidate has a right to file for greviency. Though all the guidelines were followed, however, one student did file and that created a delay in the official results,” SGA Elections Chair Natasha Harrigan said.

Nevertheless, the members were eager and ready to begin the school year ahead.

“Being a full-time, A student, SGA president, a peer instructor and a full-time parent gets hard at times, but time management and prioritizing is the key,” Smith said. “Having an excellent relationship with my team and getting the committees up and running are the most important things to me at this moment.”

As the evening came to an end, Board of Trustees Representative Joshua Edwards faced his peers and said, “The challenges and opportunities we face are all stepping stones leading toward our future. Though your legs may crap at times, the view at the top is much greater than the pain felt.”

Malone ended his remarks with a quote by civil rights activist Malcolm X: “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

“If you didn’t like me when I was in high school realize what was going to happen a few years later, I would’ve given you what I would call a cheat sheet,” Malone said. “Maybe I wasn’t running for this exact reason but it helped with my readiness for the position I hold today. “

All students wishing to find out more or become an active member of the SGA should visit the Student Activities Office located on the upper campus adjacent to the North Dormitory or contact Leon Lafond at 340-693-1111.

2013-2014 Student Government Association

President-Kimberlee Smith

Vice President-Kareem Thomas

Treasurer –Kai Richardson

Appointed Secretary-Teniqua Rogers

Board of Trustees Representative- Joshua Edwards

Freshman Senators

Denikah Harrigan

Denaesha Phipps

Khalai Vanterpool

Sophomore Senators

Ralda Claxton Jr.

Khaleisha Dias

Junior Senator-Christel Brandy

Senior Senator- Andrene Johnson


ST. CROIX — The UVI VOICE has launched its new website with a new URL:

The new site is full of new and entertaining stories written by UVI students! UVIVOICE.NET is mobile phone and mobile device compatible to make your viewing convenient and easy.

UVIVOICE.NET features breaking news, in-depth coverage of campus issues and student perspectives on national and global issues.

The easy-to-navigate website highlights local celebrities under the “Reppin the V.I.” tab in an effort to showcase Virgin Islanders who can be role models for UVI students.

The site features UVI-related Twitter feeds and RSS feeds to keep students connected. You can also follow the UVI VOICE on Facebook and Twitter for breaking news alerts. And the feeds on the website make browsing convenient for people on the go.

This week’s issue includes stories on International Peace Day celebrations, UVI fashion, a profile on the SGA St. Croix President Kevin Dixon, a feature on the iPhone vs. the Galaxy and much more!

Don’t be shy! You can also be a part of this remarkable experience. Students, professors, administrators and alumni can submit editorials, stories, pictures, ideas and suggestions to and you could be published on this student-run website.

Read more about our editors and reporters at

Visit the site today at WWW.UVIVOICE.NET — Bookmark the page and check it out every day for new and engaging content created by student journalists at The University of the Virgin Islands.

Mission Statement:
The UVI VOICE is a socially conscious newspaper/ website dedicated to reflecting the diverse perspectives that make up the University of the Virgin Islands. We strive to provide an engaging, intelligent and relevant portrayal of college life according to UVI students by combining inquisitiveness and creativity through the written word and visual imaging.

About Us:
UVI VOICE editors, directors, reporters and photographers are participating in UVI’s Journalism Workshop, or Com 200, with operations on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John.

Inside the closets of UVI Fashionistas




ST. CROIX- At The University of the Virgin Islands, most students wear T-shirts and jeans, but within the trendy crowd there is a distinct and peculiar group of people called “UVI Fashionistas.”

We stepped into the closets of Shakirah Ritter and Ajah Richards style to learn more about the in-fashion on campus.

Shakira Ritter
Photo Credit: Ms. WillaWorld
UVI Fashionista Shakira Ritter

Shakirah Ritter is a 19-year-old ticking fashion bomb that explodes when she steps out for a girl’s night out or heads to class. She emulates simplicity, yet her unique style is super high-fashion, sleek and versatile.

Shakirah’s favorite trends are inspired by tribal prints and pastels and she studies fashion through magazines like “Vogue.” Celebrities like Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian inspire Shakirah’s daily  outfits. Shakirah says she enjoys pairing high heels with her outfits.

In “In Style Magazine,” Kim Kardashian states, “I wear a lot of heels! They give you extra height, plus they lengthen your legs and make you look leaner.”

Even though Shakirah looks at celebrity fashion for inspiration, she never copies. In fashion, clothing is not the only fashionable factor. Makeup and hair also are key ingredients for the perfect mixture of a fashion soup.

Messy buns, occasional braids and sew-ins are Shakirah’s main  hairstyles. She uses Mac makeup, which creates that perfect natural look for regular days and a dark smoky eye for photo shoots. Fashion makes her feel cool and she enjoys expressing herself through fashionable clothing.

Ajah Richards
Photo Credit: Ajah Richards
UVI Fashionista Ajah Richards

Ajah Richards is a 22-year-old sophomore at UVI. His fashion sense is very urban and stems from New York City.

This urban guy likes to create a chemical mixture of fashion that blows people away.His mixture of urban and casual are meticulously put together to ignite his finished product.

Ajah’s urban twist is totally unique because he is inspired by women fashion too! However, he finds a way to twist feminine styles into “masculine macho.”

He says that almost 89 percent of the time, styles and prints such as galaxy, Aztec, and even floral are not only for women but are also available in styles for men.

“Fashion is risk taking,” Ajah says.

Some people are afraid of wearing fashions that they admire; however, he has no fear. Fashion makes him feel confident. For example, Ajah has a T-shirt with a ballerina design on the front. It may seem strange, he says, but the ballerina on his T-shirt  actually is just  cover art from Kanye West’s track called “Runaway.”

Ajah shops at Urban Threadz in Sunny Isle and occasionally online at Dr. Jay’s.  Ajah dresses up his look with some cool glasses, snap backs and male accessories.

To conclude, Ajah and Shakirah both gave advice. To someone who is trying to develop his or her own style, Ajah says “Find someone whose fashion you admire and use that as a base to create your own style.” Shakirah says, “Be unique, think about your personality, the things you like and work around that.”

Galaxy quickly surpassing iPhone in popularity


ST. CROIX – It was a peaceful afternoon outside the cafeteria, as students gathered around the tables for small banter. However, casual conversation shifted when debate started on whether or not the Samsung Galaxy or the Apple iPhone was the best phone of all time.

As teams Galaxy and iPhone defended their respective sides, specs such as affordability, durability and personalization came up, equally influencing the user’s phone choice.

According to Forbes list, Samsung rose through the ranks in 2012, eventually dominating the current cellphone market. This is due largely to its success within markets outside the U.S., good relationships with carriers and varied price ranges for their Android products.

The Galaxy offers a level of personalization that iPhone does not, easily becoming a popular device among students.

Baasil Abdurrasheed is pictured texting a friend while using his iPhone.
Baasil Abdurrasheed is pictured texting a friend while using his iPhone.

Yessenia Sued, a 20-year-old biology major on the St. Thomas campus owned an iPhone prior to switching to a Galaxy.

“Androids have better quality,” she said. “With iPhones the pictures used to come out blurry, especially at night.”

She also believed in order for her to enjoy the Apple experience, she had to purchase additional supplies and that was a big turn off for her. However, she doesn’t write off the company completely.

“I wouldn’t mind any other apple products besides the phone,” she said.
Another reason why consumers like Androids is due to its ability to manage work schedules.

St. Croix Business major, Denver Mike,  works with a local construction company and views his phone as being an asset to his job.

“It’s vital,” he said. “That is how I am able to track orders and keep in contact with my boss and vendors.”

Photo credit: Felicia emmanuel Iphone vs Galaxy
Photo credit: Felicia emmanuel
Iphone vs Galaxy

On the other hand, Rhys Barzey, a 19-year-old applied math major, uses his phone to access Instagram, Facebook and play music and games.

Barzey owns an iPhone 4s. He likes his phone because, “First it’s a phone. Second, already had an iPhone 3 so made sense- music, apps, contacts were all transferred.”

Although he rates the display and camera quality at a six and eight, respectively, he likes that the phone does what it is supposed to do.

“Pretty straight forward,” Barzey said. ” Music brings up music, phone brings up the phone.”

20-year-old accounting major, Juanita Almestica also owns an iPhone 4s. Unlike Rhys,  she believes the picture and photo quality of her phone is good.

“The small size and design allows the iPhone to fit easily in my pocket without fear of cracking the screen,” Almestica said. Which is a downside to the Galaxy.

Another feature that comes with the iPhone is Siri.

“Siri sends texts, does searches, and even remembers who your family members are,” Almestica said.

Despite the rising popularity of the Galaxy, when it comes to choosing a phone, personal preference typically wins over marketing and financial aspects.

Four Acres of Land Donated


ST. JOHN – On Wednesday, Sept. 10 four acres of land were donated to University of the Virgin Islands on St John from compassionate locals with a flare for education.

The St John Academic Center held a reception in celebration of the generous donation from Marva Applewhite and Gloria Samuel, who are sisters and former teachers.


“Education has been the number one priority for our family,” Applewhite said.

Applewhite taught in New York before she came back home to the Virgin Islands and taught at Charlotte Amalie High School.

Samuel also taught at Charlotte Amalie as well as Ivanna Eudora Kean High School.

The sisters, in addition to the four acres, gave two acres of land to UVI back in 2002. All six acres are located in Estate Zootenvaal in Coral Bay and are valued at over $1.2 million.

“We decided to give back to the people of St John, the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean and the world,” Applewhite said. “I am very happy to donate the land and hope that it will be used to achieve goals that meet the needs of the institution.”

Applewhite and Samuel are the daughters of mason James Alfonso “Harry” Samuel, who built the original Cruz Bay Pier and the Benjamin Franklin School, now Guy Benjamin Elementary School.

“It was a generous token towards the advancement of education on St. John and I am eagerly awaiting its development,” said Dionne Wells, a relative of the sisters who came to show her support.

Linda Hill, who attended the donation ceremony, said, “I always admire people who give back to the community.”

Dionne Jackson, vice president of Institutional Advancement at UVI, said, “They wanted to be a part of UVI’s next 50 years of service to the Virgin Islands and St. John communities.”

UVI President Dr. David Hall noted, “Most people who make donations to the university are ‘folks of great wealth,’ Samuel and Applewhite are people of the soil. This is an example of sincere generosity and an investment to the people of St John. I am proud to be the president at this time.”

STJ_Land Donation

President Hall plans on building a Cultural Convention Center where visitors can come and learn about the rich history of the island. He also made sure to stress the importance of lobbying for funds as the project has been estimated to cost over $2 million.

This donation adds to the St. Croix campus, which is 130 acres and the St Thomas campus, which is 388 acres.

Excitement will be mounting until the unveiling of St John’s expansion. This land will not only broaden the UVI campus, but also allow students and visitors from everywhere to get familiar with Love City.

A leader among peers

A Profile of SGA President Kevin Dixon

ARIGE SHROUF| Sept. 15  

ST. CROIX — Jack Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

SGA President Kevin Dixon
SGA President Kevin Dixon

St. Croix— Jack Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

There are leaders of large nations and small organizations, but great leaders strive to help and inspire others; they “have a heart for outreach.” Student Government Association (SGA) President Kevin Dixon has been described as one such leader.

Since being elected president last year, Kevin has made it his mission to “move the organization forward” in order to better serve the student body. Under his leadership, SGA has become an organization that junior Zoe Walker believes “could really make a difference.”

A senior majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing, Kevin Dixon is a very busy person. On his second year at UVI, he decided to “get involved” on campus and that has been one of his goals ever since.

In addition to being second-term SGA president, Kevin Dixon is also a member of several other clubs, organizations and committees on campus. These include the UVI Senate, the Honorary Degree Committee, the Voices of Inspiration Choir and the St. Croix Presidential Advisory Committee. With so much on his plate, Dixon still manages to excel in his classes and is even the student ambassador for the Thurgood Marshal College Fund.

How does he do it? “Long nights and weekends” and learning to “balance and prioritize.”

“It’s stressful, but knowing the stress is worth it, makes it okay. When you have a purpose, it makes up for all the stress and when it’s over and you know you did things right and people enjoyed it, it’s all worth it.”

One word Kevin Dixon tries to live up to is “ambitious.” He is motivated by “that sense of having an impact.”

Even at sixteen he had taken on leadership positions in an effort “to help change lives.” He led walks in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life in which his group raised the most money.  During his second year at UVI, Kevin joined SGA and became its public relations officer. He then became treasurer and worked his way “up the scale” to president of the organization.

However, Kevin has not always been the confident and charismatic young man you can see walking around campus greeting people with a smile. Before becoming a leader, Kevin faced his own struggles to “grow himself.”

When he moved here from St. Kitts in 2003, Kevin was “shy and quiet” and he “did not like speaking in front of audiences.” Today, he can be seen giving speeches and representing various organizations at events.

He credits the change in him, in part, to the “support of his family members,” and Ms. Washington, Ms. Finch and Ms. Elliot. However, the greatest influence in Kevin’s life has been his pastor, who acted as “a mentor and role model” to a young Kevin Dixon.

Without the influence of people such as his pastor, Kevin believes he “would not be as involved on campus as he is.” He also “would not have grown as much as he has in the past few years” in which he has overcome most of his shyness to become the public figure he is on campus today. For that influence, says Kevin, he is “really grateful.”

Just as others have inspired and influenced his life, Kevin hopes to use his leadership skills to “inspire others” and “touch other people’s lives.”

As John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

For Kevin Dixon, “it is always a pleasure serving.” He advises students to “get involved” and “set themselves apart from other students by showing they are well rounded.” Kevin says about every situation, “make the best of it.”

Sophomore Felicia Emmanuel describes Kevin as “not only a strong leader, but also a visionary.

Using fresh ideas such as the SWAGG (Students with a Greater Goal) movement, he not only improved the appeal of SGA, but also how SGA stays current with the student body” Emmanuel said.

Because of Kevin’s dedication and effectiveness as a leader, several family members and individuals have been encouraging Kevin to run for government office. It makes sense, they argue, “since he has been setting himself up to do so.”

“It’s definitely something to think about,” says Kevin, but right now, he is focused on his last year at UVI and intends to “go out with a bang.”

Peace on Campus

International Day of Peace Cease-fire on violence needed in the V.I.


ST. CROIX – Wednesday, Sept. 18, students, faculty and community organizations will gather at the University of the Virgin Islands to observe International Day of Peace (IDP). This event hopes to be a continuation of the local dialogue begun in the “Hurt to Healing” forum held this spring in the Great Hall at UVI.

When asked why one should attend, one of the student organizers, Denver Mike, shared, “I believe this form of engagement is crucial for our community – not only to speak openly on such a dire issue, but also to enjoy the camaraderie of a shared goal.”

In 2001, the United Nations officially established Sept. 21 as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire.

Just over seven months ago on Jan. 24, the Daily News noted the V.I. homicide rate was still among the worlds highest. It seems the Virgin Islands need their own cease fire.

April 22, former student, twenty-two-year-old Troy Joseph was shot on campus in the parking lot after a college event. Students say there was an argument about a gold chain he was wearing.  Apparently the expensive piece of jewelry was gotten through questionable means, and the original owner wanted it back. Many students have reported that Troy was unwilling to give up the chain and lost his life because of it.

This tragedy could have been prevented. The university is not immune to the violence that plagues the island. But, it is not enough to merely call for peace.

Carolyn Keys Alternatives to Violence coordinator and guest speaker for the IDP observance explains that violence is a disease, and we must begin to heal from the trauma of violence or we will continue to implode or explode. Though the subject is complex, there are answers for the healing.

The university’s IDP observance is scheduled from 9 to 11am in the theater (EVC 401). There will be a range of solutions offered that students can begin to work on to heal the trauma in their own lives. Ms. Garcia, staff member in the office for student success, will review the characteristics of a healthy self and thereby a peaceful one.

Serena Sundaram from CommuniChi Central will give a brief overview and demonstration on acupuncture and its use in other trauma sites like New York after 9/11 and New Orleans after Katrina.

Counselor, Patricia Towal, will share ways to ease interpersonal relationships with loved ones.

The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council, DVSAC, speaker will also discuss healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Alternatives to Violence trainer, Xawntoia Franklin will discuss how the AVP training is reducing violence in the housing communities.

Students will also share reactions and pledges to the call for peace.

When stopped and asked what he thought about the event, Professor Gould explained that his grandmother, an activist in her time, used to say, “peace or parish!”

9/11 Where were you?


On this day in 2001, an event occurred that forever left a mark on this nation. In memory of that tragic day, we have asked several members of the UVI community to share their memories of that day.

American Flag raised high At the Univeristy of the Virgin Islands
– Arige Shrouf

“I was in third grade when it happened. I didn’t know what was going on or why my teachers seemed so sad. I saw adults crying; we didn’t really have classes that day, but I could not figure out the reason. When I got home, my mom told me what had happened. I remember feeling shocked and helpless. So many people were dying that day and it seemed like there was nothing anyone could really do to stop. Although I was only a child at the time, I knew when I saw the footage of the towers falling that nothing would ever be the same again.” – Arige Shrouf, 20, English major; Managing Editor of the UVI Voice

“In class, we had to stand in a moment of silence; I was so confused. I saw it [the towers falling] on the news. All I remember is that it was tragic.” – Shakirah Ritter, 20; criminal justice major

“I was 12 at the time it happened. I remember being at school, in homeroom; the teacher seemed distraught. I didn’t know what happened. When I went home and saw the images of the plane hitting the tower, I was a little bit scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen afterward.” – Joey Emmanuel, 24; UVI writing center tutor

“The day of… I don’t really know what happened. I didn’t hear anything about it the day of, I was only a kid. But the next day, around 10 am, our teacher stopped the class to ask if we knew about what happened. She asked us to take a minute of silence for everyone that had died. Afterwards, we just continued our day. We acknowledged what happened, but did not dwell on it. We continued class as if nothing ever happened. Probably because she thought we were too young to understand.” – Sarah J., 20; secondary education major

“I don’t remember the exact grade but I was in class when it all happened. Though I didn’t quite understand exactly what was taking place it was very scary and it made me really sad.” – Je’Ronn Simmonds, 19, Music Education

“When I was told about the tragedy I didn’t feel anyway but when I saw the damage on the television it was a scared for a moment.” – To’Quoya George, 20, Marine Biology

“I was in 5th grade at the St. Croix Christian Academy and it made me feel like the world is no longer a safe place.” – Jamall Marsh, 21, Computer Science

“I was lost. I was so young. I didn’t even know what the twin towers were but when I became fully aware of the situation I became very scared because I thought more attacks were going to happen throughout the United States. – Kalique Raymo, 20, Computer Science

“I was only in 2nd grade so I wasn’t really affected by this situation.” – Kimani Jett, 18, Accounting

“I was in 5th grade and I was already sad because this is the day my father died. It made me even more depressed to see that so many more people were dying on this day. I felt as if the day was cursed. So many people were crying it was scary.” – Shari Chryss Alfred, 21, Communications

“During 9/11 I was in the 4th or 5th grade staying at a friends house for about a week. My mother was in Atlanta for work and was delayed because planes everywhere were grounded. I didn’t find out the planes crashed till they called me to the office during class to tell me my mother was on the phone I was terrified to pick it up. My grandmother lived in Manhattan a few blocks away from the towers and I was scared she was calling to say someone had died. She had called to tell me everyone was ok, but that she wouldn’t be able to get home until flights were back up and running. It took her a month to get home.” – Zenobia Howe, 23, Communications

“It’s interesting to see how the students perceive the 9/11 attacks, they were only children when we were attacked, and they have a unique perspective. They grew up in a different world than we did and it’s important to see the distinction. I was in college at the time. I went to Borough of Manhattan Community College, only a few blocks from the Trade Center, the towers provided shade over my school. My job was located just below the trade center. I lost so much that day, my school became an emergency command center and I lost my job. From my neighborhood in Sunset Park, Brooklyn I watched the smoke rise from the fallen towers, I breathed in the debris that lingered for more than a month. It took me a lot longer to recover physically and emotionally. But I was one of the lucky ones, my trauma pales in comparison to some of my friends.” – Stephanie Hanlon-Nugent, part time journalism instructor and advisor to the UVI Voice

2013 Virgin Islands Community Survey to Begin

ST. CROIX – The Eastern Caribbean Center of the University of the Virgin Islands will be conducting its annual Virgin Islands Community Survey (VICS) among residents in the territory during September and October, according to a UVI press release.

The 2013 VICS will update data from the 2012 VICS, the 2010 Census, and will generate official Virgin Islands statistics relating to economics, population, housing, labor and employment.

The survey will be administered by UVI employees who will each have official UVI identification cards.

The VICS is conducted to provide a better understanding of statistical changes in housing and population in the VI. Demographic surveys provide significant information to educators, the legislature, businesses and anyone needing information about the community.

“This is really the only source of information for the Virgin Islands where we have comprehensive housing and population information,” said Dr. Asha DeGannes, acting director of the Eastern Caribbean Center. Dr. DeGannes encourages the public to participate in the survey when contacted as many government and non-profit agencies rely on the data for grant applications and other types of funding.

The survey is confidential and all information is accessible only to select authorized employees of the Eastern Caribbean Center.

“All of our employees – full-time, part-time and temporary – are required to take an oath of confidentiality and sign a confidentiality agreement,” Dr. DeGannes said.

For more information about the Virgin Islands Caribbean Survey, call the Eastern Caribbean Center at (340) 693-1020.