UVI Unveils New Home for College of Science and Mathematics on St. Croix

UVI Unveils New Home for College of Science and Mathematics on St. Croix

The University of the Virgin Islands unveiled the new home of its College of Science and Mathematics on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix on Saturday, Oct. 26. Located in the recently completed UVI Research and Technology Park building, the College’s facilities on St. Croix now feature two modern videoconference-ready classrooms, two state-of-the art laboratories, and offices for 13 faculty and staff. These are located on two levels and account for more than 8,000 square feet of floor space.

The new home of UVI’s College of Science and Mathematics on St. Croix is located in the recently completed Research and Technology Park on the Albert A. Sheen Campus.
The new home of UVI’s College of Science and Mathematics on St. Croix is located in the recently completed Research and Technology Park on the Albert A. Sheen Campus.

During a brief opening ceremony, UVI Board of Trustees Chairman Alexander Moorhead called the facilities impressive. “I look forward to this being just one of the steps on our path to greatness,” he said. UVI President Dr. David Hall called the opening “a wonderful, bright and exciting day for the University of the Virgin Islands.”

“This is another step, and major step, on our pathway to greatness,” Dr. Hall said, noting that it represents phase two of a four-phase program designed to enhancing facilities at the University. Phase one was the construction of the West Hall residence hall on the St. Thomas Campus. A new multi-purpose facility on St. Croix and a new science building on St. Thomas are phases three and four of the plan.

Dr. Hall said the new College of Science and Mathematics facilities serve as a symbol of the importance of science on St. Croix’s Sheen Campus. “This, today, is a stake in the ground around student success … When you see the facilities you will understand how they will inspire our students to achieve even more. The labs that now exist will permit us to offer courses on this campus that we have not been able to offer in the past,” he said. “I believe that this is a step towards us being able to offer science degrees on our St. Croix Campus.”

UVI’s Student Government Association President Kevin Dixon, right, leads a tour of lab facilities in the new home of the College of Science and Mathematics during its unveiling Saturday, Oct. 26. Shown, from left, are UVI Trustees Carol Fulp, Jacqueline Sprauve, Edward Thomas and Jennifer Nugent-Hill.
UVI’s Student Government Association President Kevin Dixon, right, leads a tour of lab facilities in the new home of the College of Science and Mathematics during its unveiling Saturday, Oct. 26. Shown, from left, are UVI Trustees Carol Fulp, Jacqueline Sprauve, Edward Thomas and Jennifer Nugent-Hill.

Dr. Sandra Romano, UVI’s Interim Dean of Science and Mathematics, called the unveiling exciting and momentous. “This new space is going to allow our students and our faculty to truly be at the forefront of science in the 21st century,” she said.  The facilities, with all Science and Mathematics offices and classrooms in close proximity, “will provide a locus for students to gather together and for faculty to gather to work together, creating a much better learning environment,” she said. “The proximity to the Technology Park will support the emergence of collaborative initiatives and promote student internships, helping to put us at the forefront of science in the territory.”

The University’s Mathematics and Computer Science programs will be located on the first floor, with the Biology and Chemistry programs housed on the second floor. The additional classrooms add significantly to the campus’ seating capacity for day and evening classes. Designed to be environmentally responsible and resource-efficient, the building incorporates LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – program requirements. The project architect was Renee M. D’Adamo and the general contractor was Celestine Construction, LLC.

College life got you down?

The Struggles of Being a College Student

Denae Fleming|

ST.CROIX— College students face the struggles of dealing with finances, personal life and staying focused through the different types of stress.

There is a lot that has to be considered when it comes to making those decisions to acquire a higher level of education to better one’s future. No doubt everyone would and should want to achieve educational heights, but for many, there are some obstacles that can get in the way and cause the journey to become quite a challenge.

Finances are one of the top reasons for students quitting or taking a break from college, especially for the vast majority of students who are low income African Americans and Hispanics.

Even with numerous announcements of financial aid that are being advertised and spread, some students find it difficult to really handle the demands of school.

“There were times when I literally ate nothing but Easy Mac and Ramen Noodle,” Marcos Castillo said.

Castillo was one of the many who left the island of St. Croix for the mainland in hopes of pursuing a degree that he was passionate about. He has now graduated from Columbus College for Arts and Design with his bachelor’s degree.

“Some kids don’t think about the other stuff. They just want to go to college and experience the fun aspects of college life, but don’t ever really think about the scary parts,” Castillo said.

Castillo had to deal with living in a place that was completely new to him. He had to deal with different personalities, find means of transportation, figure out how he would eat every day, earn funds for necessities we normally take for granted when we don’t have to get them on our own.

He had to deal with those factors along with studying for school and dealing with his personal life.

One might read this example and say, “Oh that comes with the territory of college life.” But, do we ever stop to think how overwhelming it might be for some individuals?

Code Red! Work Overload!  Photo credit: www.plymouthsouth.com, Tis the Season to be Stressed.
Code Red! Work Overload!
Photo credit: http://www.plymouthsouth.com, Tis the Season to be Stressed.

People go through life changing events that occur around their college years, especially those that go straight from high school into college. Many take on relationships, part-time jobs, and go through a period of figuring out who they are. They are just finding out what’s important, maybe discovering their spirituality, and even who they are able to trust.

These are normal processes until they go wrong for some students.

The relationship that was once beautiful turned sour and has an emotional toll on both parties.

The job that was okay in the beginning is becoming demanding and overwhelming on top of school work.

You start to question your choice in major and worry if this is the direction you really want to take.

There's much more than school work that is going on in the life of students. Photo credit: theprgirlblog.wordpress.com,  Stress | The PR Girl
There’s much more than school work that is going on in the life of students.
Photo credit: theprgirlblog.wordpress.com, Stress | The PR Girl

You are pressured by “friends” to do things you’re not too comfortable doing, like drugs and alcohol. For those who already got caught up in drugs and alcohol, it’s a distraction in school and you find a hard time pulling away from it.

There are many factors that contribute to the stress that college students go through. How they handle is what is important because stress will always be a factor in life, whether you are in school or not.

I created a random question survey on the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. When asked, 11 out of 20 students said they listen to music if they are feeling overly stressed out. Four out of the 20 said they stop whatever they are doing and go for a walk or some form of physical activity. Three out of 20 said they go for drinks and two out of the 20 said they simply break down and cry depending on how severe the situation.

There are healthy ways to cope with stressful things regardless of whether or not you are a student.

It’s always great to find a positive hobby that involves physical movements. You should have at least one person you can trust to vent your problems to and maybe even get positive advice from. Make sure the crowd you hang around or affiliate with is comprised of uplifting, motivating and positive people; if this is not so, you might need to reevaluate who you consider friends.

It’s okay to take time off when you are overworked. Your mental health and overall well-being is more important than any other factor that contributes to your life.


Yes, it’s college and it should be taken seriously, but you need to give yourself permission to chill out. This only one of the many chapters in your life.

Musical Talent at UVI

Musical Talent at UVI


ST.CROIX- An unfamiliar face walked into the theater on a Wednesday afternoon. He walked to the back to the only piano, a Baldwin, sat down and played an original song, “Origami,” while students listened in amazement.

The University of the Virgin Islands has musically talented students who might be compared to famous pianists such as Ray Charles, Ludwig van Beethoven and Sun Ra, but they go unnoticed. Students at UVI say there isn’t a strong music program and going off island seems to be the better option.

Jamal Francis playing the Piano
Freshman, Jamal Francis , playing his original piece “Origami”

Jahmal Francis emerges from the circle of students whose musical talent stands out.

Francis is an 18-year-old freshman at UVI. His personality and calm charisma is sculpted by music. He started playing the piano at the age of 12 and at 15 he made a special effort to master his talents. Francis sings and has mastered both the tenor saxophone and the piano, with piano being his favorite. His high school music teacher taught him the basics of playing the piano, however, he learned the rest on his own. He enjoys incorporating his R&B style into every key he plays on the piano.

“I first play with my heart, then my hands in a sense. The music takes me away,’” he said.

This multitalented student majors in business management but his true passion is music. Francis Francis says he might transfer to a different school. He really wants to major in entrepreneurship with a concentration of music, however, majoring in music is not UVI’s strong point. According to UVI’s website, the only degree program that UVI offers in relation to music is a bachelor’s degree in music education. Francis is torn between leaving home and going away to study his true passion.

When Francis is not playing a mellow tune, he is writing poetry. In his free time he plays his emotions into his piano and projects his lyrical thoughts on paper through song writing.

Francis is a perfectionist when it comes to his music. Along with recording his music, his keen hearing for piano notes allows him to tune his music to perfection.

Francis is an original. His smooth style, soulful keys and other musical elements included in his music are 100 percent him. He listens to a variety of music because he believes every artist is unique and it inspires him to be different. Listening to a variety of musical genres allows Francis to channel his musical abilities through his voice and instruments to share with other people who enjoy music.

There are only a few people who aware of Francis’ talent because there are limited showcasing outlets for musical talent at UVI. Promoting himself as an artist can be difficult because he does not have the proper materials to record his music. However, Francis still finds alternatives to promote his music through social networks like Facebook.

The famous pianist, Ludwig van Beethoven said, “the barriers are not erected which can say to aspiring talents and industry, ‘Thus far and no further.’”

Francis and a group of other young artists are on their way to making an album. The album will contain a collage of young local artists showcasing their different styles and abilities.

Music is something special to Francis. It brings out a humble, artistic aura that touches others when he plays. Even though showcasing outlets and required materials to record his music are few, Francis pushes through and finds alternatives to stay local through the album and remain at UVI.

The University of the Virgin Islands has musically talented students who anxiously wait to find an outlet to showcase their abilities.

“If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don`t hoard it. Don`t dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke.” said Aaron Kildow.

UVI Little Theatre to Stage ‘Bus Stop: with Caribbean Seasoning’


William Inge’s classic American comedy-drama “Bus Stop,” a smash Broadway hit and memorable Marilyn Monroe movie, takes a Caribbean detour to UVI’s Little Theatre on the St. Thomas Campus, with productions set for Nov. 1-3 and 8 to 10.

Originally set in Kansas City in a snowstorm, this new version – “Bus Stop: With Caribbean Seasonings” – was adapted by UVI Playwright in Residence Dr. Doug Larche. It is set in Puerto Rico in a hurricane. Five characters find themselves marooned overnight with three locals at La Cantina de Grácia, between San Juan and Fajardo. The play offers love scenes, a fistfight, a talent show, an abduction and a little music – along with the hurricane.

More than a host of UVI students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends are involved in the production.

The characters hail from Puerto Rico, Dominica, Peru and West Texas. Three relationships hang in the balance: headstrong rodeo cowboy Bo (Khalarni Rivers) has kidnapped Red Iguana showgirl Cherie (Estelle Andrew); lonely cantina owner Grácia (Rita Green) finally lets bus-driver Carlos (Joshua Jno-Pierre) into her heart; and innocent “cafecito-eyed” Alma (Akela Brumant) wanders into the clutches of the old professor with the wandering eye, Dr. Limón (Dr. Doug Iannucci). El Deputado Guillermo Machado (Noel Charles) is the sheriff who watches over the cantina and the ladies therein, while old cowboy sidekick Virgil (Dr. Doug Larche) watches over Bo, while strumming his guitar. Delreese Gifft and Althia Henry are rehearsal assistants, understudies, and will perform Alma and Grácia, respectively, for theSunday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 10, afternoon performances.

The show is also directed by Dr. Larche, who recently returned from a year-long leave of absence at Yeungnam University in South Korea. UVI staff member Carey Galdo is associate producer. Josie Brannon and Nicole Moore are student assistant directors. Guest technical artist and former Little Theatre tech director Doug Salisbury and UVI senior Jae Knight serve as design and technical artists and consultants. Former Little Theatre director Dr. Rosary Harper is the costume designer, and UVI student Josie Brannon serves as stage manager.

Student crew heads include Shamari Skelton and Jaleel Drigo as lead carpenters, Nicole Moore for sound, Keturah Bethel for publicity, Kareme Joseph for costumes, Renée Williams for makeup and hair, and Matthew Eastman for lighting. Crew members include Amber Clarke, Avril Paul, Deeno Cumberbatch, Najuma Dunn, Sharlene Joseph, Shamira Henley and the students of the UVI Introduction to Theatre class.

The production of “Bus Stop with Caribbean Seasoning” marks the official re-opening of the UVI Little Theatre as a safe and accessible classroom and black box performing arts facility. Its entry hallway features newly restored, matted and framed historical and contemporary posters marking the Little Theatre’s remarkable career. The majority of these distinctive posters were illustrated by Josée A. Deckert. Long-time patrons will find a veritable memory lane showcasing works of their favorite directors – dominated by three decades of Harper-Parker Productions (UVI Professors Emeritus Drs. Rosary Harper and Dennis Parker). Contributors to and supporters of the restoration will be honored on opening night.

Tickets are $5 for students of all kinds and ages, and $10 for adults. They can be purchased from the Humanities Office on UVI’s St. Thomas Campus (call Administrative Assistant Mary Alexander at (340) 693-1340) or at the door. Seating is extremely limited. The Friday and Saturday evening shows begin precisely at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinees begin precisely at 2 p.m. Patrons who arrive after curtain will be allowed to enter at the end of Act I, which is approximately thirty minutes into the show.

For more information contact Dr. Doug Larche at (340) 693-1341 or 626-8815. Send e-mail to dlarcheuk@yahoo.com ordlarche@uvi.edu.


UVI Appoints New Vice Provost for Access and Enrollment

The University of the Virgin Islands has appointed Dr. Nicole Gibbs to the post of Vice Provost for Access and Enrollment Services. Dr. Gibbs will oversee the administration of the offices of the Registrar, Admissions, Financial Aid and Recruitment.  She will work with other University committees to promote the recruitment and retention of students, and to develop strategies for University-wide involvement in recruitment and retention initiatives. She began on Oct. 1.

“Dr. Gibbs brings a wealth of experience to the University,” said UVI President Dr. David Hall. She comes to UVI from Broward College, in Florida, where she served as associate dean for Student Affairs. Broward has 67,000 students on three campuses. Dr. Gibbs had oversight of admissions, recruitment, placement testing, orientation and retention. Her focus was on improved customer service of the department, while providing leadership and management oversight.

“UVI is pleased to have attracted Dr. Gibbs to our team,” said UVI Interim Provost Dr. Camille McKayle. “She has worked in a variety of settings, and will be able to draw on her prior experiences with student affairs and student support services to work across university units to integrate the recruitment and enrollment efforts throughout the institution.”

“I want to effectively position the University of the Virgin Islands to become a first choice for students,” said Dr. Gibbs of her new position. “UVI is a phenomenal institution with incredible potential for growth.” Dr. Gibbs plans to restructure UVI’s Access and Enrollment Services offices and its employees. Her primary goal is to improve customer service.  “Access and Enrollment Services is the face of the institution,” said Dr. Gibbs. “When students and parents come they come expecting a certain experience. Under my leadership, I’d like to take the unit to a place of exceptional customer service where students receive an optimal experience.” She continued, “We are hoping to provide students with an experience that is unforgettable where they then say ‘Wow! If this is my first impression I’m so excited to become part of the family at UVI.’”

She also plans to establish collaborative relationships that will make recruitment and retention a University-wide initiative.  “Retention and the nurturing of our students is everyone’s job,” said Dr. Gibbs. “It is important that everyone from the young ladies who serve our students in the cafeteria, to the vice presidents that are responsible for the leadership of the institution, to the grounds keepers that we really do develop a culture of nurture for our students.”

In accordance with UVI’s Strategic Plan, Dr. Gibbs’ long-term goal for the institution is to grow the University’s population to 3,000 by 2017. She is optimistic that this can be accomplished with the support of the UVI family, the Virgin Islands community and with students that tell their success stories. “My goal is to expand the reach of the University, to transition a good place into making it a great place for students.”

Dr. Gibbs has served as associate director of Admissions for Ross University, and assistant director of Admissions and Recruitment at Georgia State University, where she was part of the implementation of a successful plan for increased enrollment. She earned a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Clark Atlanta University, a Masters of Education from Columbus State University, and a Bachelors of Science in psychology from Georgia Southern University.

The vice provost for Access and Enrollment Services position was previously held by Dr. Judith Edwin, who retired from UVI on May 10. Dr.  Edwin served as vice provost for approximately seven years, but held various positions at UVI for approximately 17 years.


Acupuncture at UVI’s International Day of Peace Observance


ST. CROIX – Community acupuncturist, Serena Sundaram used needles to heal trauma at the University of the Virgin Islands on Sept. 18.

Acupuncturist Serena Sundaram treated a dozen of the 100 students attending the International Day of Peace observance in the UVI  theater.

Sundaram explained to the audience that acupuncture is a tool for diffusing the effects of trauma when people are not ready to talk.

In the break-out session, Sundaram showed the video, “Unimagined Bridges: Ear Acupuncture Treatment for Disaster Trauma.” The video documents the positive outcomes of treatment for the victims of 9/11 and other high crime areas in US cities.

At UVI’s “Hurt to Healing” workshop last spring, health care professionals said that part of the violence in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a reaction to the trauma around us.

“It is exhausting living in disharmony. Unless the trauma is addressed, we assimilate the negativity and implode or explode perpetuating the cycle of violence,” Keys said.

Sundaram said acupuncture is one way to dissipate anxiety and move patients away from a fight or flight state… it helps one come back to the present.

Acupuncture is commonly used to to regulate energy flow and induce a feeling of relaxation. Since college students tend to be stressed, students attending the workshop gave it a try.

Denver Mike relaxes with acupuncture needles
Denver Mike relaxes with acupuncture needles

“I never thought acupuncture would be something I would try …The sharp thin needles packed a bigger bark than their bite. The procedure was painless. The result was relief. I found myself focusing on the needles and in doing so, drifting off into a state of calmness … from feeling drained, to having my battery recharged,” senior Denver Mike said.

Mike was one of the students that welcomed Sundaram in the breakout session by agreeing to treatment.

“The UVI students are so interested, engaged, brave and willing,” Sundaram said after the event.

Serena holds a Master’s of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) from Southwest Acupuncture School.

She was one of many health care professionals that responded to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans to treat the injured and displaced in lawn chairs in yards, garages … in whatever space was available.

One can see her for treatments in acupressure, acupuncture, holistic health, mental health and oriental medicine.

Her office, CommuniChi Central is in the Island Medical Center, Sunny Isle, Suite 8A.

Her office hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12 to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Prices are determined on a sliding scale between $20 to $40.

Feel free to contact her at 340-692-9238.

One phone call may be the first step to feeling “recharged,” in control and completely relaxed.

It’s Volleyball Season at UVI

It’s Volleyball Season at UVI

Denae Fleming|

ST.CROIX – Students at the University of the Virgin Islands took part in the co-ed intramurals volleyball game Monday night behind the campus cafeteria just south of the campus dorms.

Student Teams Taking part in the Intramural Volleyball League
Student Teams Taking part in the Intramural Volleyball League

The university’s intramurals volleyball league played for the second time Monday night around 9 p.m. on the basketball court with teams “Stop Playing” against “We Would Hit It.”

The volleyball season officially kicked off last week on Thursday night and usually starts each year in September.

“Coach Bruce Ray has been doing most of the intramurals as far as putting the sport together and organizing the schedule here at the university and this year we started early,” Roderick Moorehead Jr. one of the coaches for the volleyball teams, said.

While enjoying the game with the rest of the audience Moorehead also said, “One of the main purposes for this weekly activity is to inspire campus life. It’s always great when you have students who have the interest to play.”

The league plays every Monday and Thursday at 9 p.m. with a second game following immediately after.

“If you want to take part in the sport you have to be somewhat serious. You can come and just play for fun but there should be a level serious interest in joining the teams,” Makeem Perinon said.

Student Teams Taking part in the Intramural Volleyball League

Perinon is a part of the Virgin Islands Juniors National Volleyball team and is also a sophomore studying criminal justice. He heard about the student activity at the University and became immediately interested. He decided to take part and started his own team called Go Hard for the intramural league.

The game is free to the public. It gives students on campus an opportunity to leave the dorms and enjoy a moment of interaction with other students on and off court.

Where are all the Men?

Where are all the Men?


ST. CROIX –Finding a male student at the University of the Virgin Islands is equivalent to finding an Eskimo in the Caribbean. At the university, 31 percent of freshmen are male and 29 percent of all undergraduate students are male. The typical undergraduate student at UVI is a mature local woman attending full time.

creg brown, part of the 28 percent of 2013 UVI male graduates
Creg Brown, one of the 29 percent of 2013 UVI male graduates

But why is this happening? Are young women simply more ambitious and harder-working? Are men becoming increasingly disengaged from academia?

Female high-school students are more likely to aspire to attend college than their male counterparts and the young women enrolled in college, persist and graduate at higher rates as well, according to a report released on Aug. 28, 2012 by the National Center for Education Statistics.

When young women graduate from high school they tend to go straight into college with a plan set on a four-year degree.

Men decide to go college at a lower rate. For example, while almost three-quarters of female students who enrolled in college did so immediately after high school, just over two-thirds of male students did. Slightly less than half of young men first enrolled in a college or university.

In high school women paid more attention to the college searches than men. They would consult college websites, publications or search guides for information on college entrance requirements. Only 60 percent of male seniors reached out to college representatives for information.

Once in college, a higher percentage of women  stay enrolled and graduate, according to the statistics taken by BYU in 2004. Roughly 60 percent of all first-time, full-time bachelor-degree-seeking students who started college in 2004 had earned an degree six years later from the same institution. A greater proportion of women finished than men.

When asked about her take on the ratio of female students to male students, third-year student Nicole Foster said, “It’s not that there are more males than females on the islands it’s just that more women decided to come school than men.”

The purpose of higher education is to be more qualified for higher paying jobs.

Women don’t typically go for jobs in construction or security, which don’t necessarily require a degree. So women try to get the edge with a degree.

Keep on Giving

UVI Annual Giving Is At It Again


ST. THOMAS – The University of the Virgin Islands’ Annual Giving campaign is on a record-setting pace for their 2013 alumni contribution fund-raising drive. UVI hopes to be the first Historically Black College or University to have a 50 percent alumni giving rate.

“I am confident! I am very, very confident, that we will achieve the 50 percent” Linda Smith, director of the Annual Giving and Alumni Affairs, said. “The alums have stepped up. They’re gifts have been in record numbers; they have surpassed last year as well.”

Smith is a two-time UVI alumna and has spearheaded the fund-raising campaign since 2008.

“The goal is to surpass the 42 percent yes, but then the annual fund goal of $3.4 million we are well on our way with that also,” Smith said. “It tells me about the passion that the alums have and they are very much in support of their hometown university.”

One such passionate alumnus gave his reason as to why he contributed.

“I believe that everyone should give back to their alma mater,” Sheldon Turnbull, 1992 alumnus, said.  “Your alma mater is what contributed to your success.”

Last year, the university took on the challenge presented by UVI’s President Dr. David Hall to reach a goal of a 50 percent alumni giving rate and fell short by a mere 8 points. Within nine months, the alumni giving rate improved from 13 percent to 42 percent.

This year, UVI is at 46 percent with four days in the campaign remaining.

According to Smith, UVI is 1 percentage point higher than South Carolina’s Claflin University’s 45 percent that lead the nation at the same time last year.

UVI used a series of solicitation strategies toward achieving these goals including:

  • Traveling to various islands,  such as Tortola, the BVI, St. Kitts, West Indies and Nevis, seeking alumni support from the strong alumni contingent.
  • Soliciting at the VI Agricultural Fair, the World Food Day Celebration on St. Croix and the VI Carnival Cultural Fair on St. Thomas.
  • Hosting the Alumni “Phonathon” where faculty, staff, students, alumni and other volunteers called alumni to raise funds.

The phonathon was the final solicitation event where for the first time there were call centers on both the St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses.

“The Alumni Phonathon was held from Monday, Sept. 23 to Wednesday, Sept. 25,” Astrid Tuitt an administrative assistant in the Development office of Institutional Advancement said, “We usually have it until Thursday, but what happened is we have a company that is outsourced by the name of RuffaloCODY and they have been making calls to Reichhold patrons, alumni, special alumni and UVI friends.”

A greater incentive arose when a donor agreed to donate $10,000 to the university if his 50 percent alumni giving rate was achieved.

Smith said that the University is just 250 alumni contributors short of meeting its milestone.

Donations are to be used where requested by the patron. The monies can fund scholarships and various university programs.

Interested parties can donate online at www.uvi,edu  until Sept 30.

A patron donating $100 or more receives the “Proud We Are” collector’s edition of the UVI historical publication and is automatically entered to win two season passes to the Reichhold Center for The Arts.

Miss UVI Competes for Miss NBCA Hall of Fame

Miss UVI Competes for Miss NBCA Hall of Fame


ST.THOMAS- Miss University of the Virgin Islands, Murchtricia Charles represented the University of the Virgin Islands in the Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Competition from Sept. 25 – Sept. 29 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.

Charles, whom was accompanied by Student Affairs representative Leon Lafond and Cherie Wheatley, competed for the title against 29 other college queens from Historically Black Colleges and Universities around the country.

She received an abundance of support from the UVI community and the Virgin Islands as a whole.

“The preparation process for Miss UVI’s participation in the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame competition was a blessing. We had been meeting with Mrs. Lisa Wynn-Magnuson, director/owner of The Virgin Islands Etiquette & Leadership Institute who also participated in the same competition several years ago and came in first runner up. Mrs. Magnuson has been consistent with preparing Murchtricia Charles for this event,” Lafond said.

Charles took the initiative to do plenty of research on her own and other preparations to educate herself for the competition that is a part of the university’s tradition.

Miss UVI (second to the left), among other participants of the competition
Miss UVI (second to the left), among other participants of the competition

“Truthfully, I was terrified going into the competition however I saw how welcoming everyone was and it enabled me to open up and be comfortable. The experience was educating and phenomenal overall. I left with new plans for student leadership for the University of the Virgin Islands,” Charles said.

Charles was excited about representing both the Virgin Islands and the University of the Virgin Islands amongst the other Historically Black College and Universities at the competition.

Charles was actively involved in the various sessions/workshops as part of her ambassadorial role at the competition in addition with the other queens. She participated in events such as the Queen’s Tea Party, visited local schools in Atlanta, personal interviews, and the Positive Image program.

“It may seem like a lot but Murchtricia Charles was fully prepared to partake in these events,” Lafond said.

The competition featured women who have been recognized by their respective colleges or universities with the coveted title of “College Queen.” The winner would carry the title of Miss NBCA Hall of Fame.

In addition, the competition provided an opportunity for young women attending our nations Historically Black Colleges and Universities to better prepare for the future.

 Though the program places emphasis on excellence, achievement and personal growth, it also strives to make the experience fun.

“There weren’t many challenges in our preparation process. I, along with her chaperone Ms. Cherie Wheatley, her other family and friends, especially her brother Jamal Drummond has been very supportive to her throughout the process,” Lafond said.

 “Unfortunately I did not place but it was a wonderful experience,” Charles said. “I learned so much about leadership and got to meet numerous other HBCU kings and queens. I grew as an individual and it was a very spiritual experience that I will never forget.”

Miss University of the Virgin Islands 2012-2013, Ivory Carter represented the Virgin Islands last year in the Miss NBCA Hall of Fame competition. Miss Morehouse College 2012-2013, Jasmine Mathews won the competition last year.

The UVI community wished their ambassador luck and supported Murchtricia Charles as she vied for the title of Miss NBCA Hall of Fame.

Where is your mold hiding?

West Hall Dormitory given unwanted spotlight by the Virgin Islands Daily News


ST.THOMAS- On Sept. 25 University of the Virgin Islands President, Dr. David Hall sent an email to residents of West Hall Dormitory addressing a reported mold infestation.

Journalists with the Virgin Islands Daily News appeared on campus to interview students about the mold the week before. Dr. Hall reassured students via email that “the claim that there is a colony of mold is inaccurate and sensational.” The UVI West Hall dorm was featured front page with an interview that left many readers appalled.

The Daily News reported the mold infestation has left the bathroom ceiling crumbling. The mold conditions were so bad that it may have been what sent one resident to the hospital.

Matthew Eastman, a UVI sophomore, told Daily News “One of my suitemates had an asthma attack and had to go to the hospital.”

Virgin Islands Health Department website revealed, “In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma.”

Students on the first floor described their dorm room ceiling as covered in black mold. Bubbles of water caused from swelling dangled from above their heads and pieces of the ceiling were falling uncontrollably. The scent was unbearable as soon as you entered the front door.

“You could put your finger through it,”  Eastmant said to the Daily News. He said the walls were “mush.”

The first floor of West Hall Dormitory where one of the rooms reported mold
The first floor of West Hall Dormitory where one of the rooms reported mold

When a maintenance crew removed the crumbling ceiling, it became apparent that “the ceiling is all just black mold.” Eastman said the black substance had spread into and weakened an adjacent wall.

Aside from the mold infestation, students seem annoyed with the dysfunctional keys and doors. Students are unhappy since they pay a lot of money to stay in those dorms.

The room and board fee is $2,250 not including meal charges, which is also an additional $2,000.

The electronic doors constantly go offline for long periods of time. This can result in the building being wide open to non-residents.

Residents find themselves wedging open doors with rocks or other small materials that can hold open the door. If the door closes without something to stop it then it leaves residents unable to enter the dorm.

About two weeks ago, the air conditioning stopped working.

The building was built for air conditioning only. The position of the building leaves no access to natural air. Some suites had to endure the heat for one week without the housing department offering any fans.

“I talked to an RA and he said it seems like every day there is something else wrong with the building. He said they put it up in a year, and that it seems like they were really hasty to finish it,” said Eastman to Daily News.

Though Dr. Hall declined comment to the Daily News, he was able to reach out personally to the residents of West Hall. He wrote his concerns about media appearing on campus as “troubling.”

According to the UVI’s media guidelines, all requests for interviews and other public information should be sent to the Public Relations Office,” Dr. Hall said.

“I encourage each of you to utilize the processes that exist within the University to address your concerns. If you do not receive the appropriate response at the first level, please pursue it to the highest level of the University. We must all work together to ensure that UVI continues to move forward,” Dr. Hall said in closing.

UVI is light on its feet

Salsa Club works to promote Latin culture on campus


ST.CROIX — The counting of steps and Latin music could be heard from the cafeteria of the Albert A. Sheen campus on Tuesday afternoon, as the Salsa Club worked to promote Latin culture through dance.

According to University of the Virgin Islands graduate and president of the Salsa Club, Ismael Rosado Jr., Latin culture, especially salsa is underrepresented at the university.

“I was a part of the first Salsa Club in St. Thomas, and after three or four solid years over there I decided that since I’ve been home for about a year, let’s see if this could work out,” Rosado said. “There is nothing like that here, no salsa exposure.”

Humanities Professor, La Vaughn Belle teaching students how to dance Salsa
Humanities Professor, La Vaughn Belle (center in black) and  Ismael Rosado Jr (back center in grey) instructs students on dancing salsa

According to the listing of clubs and organizations on the university’s website, there are no clubs or organizations geared towards Latin culture. The closest organization would be the “Social and Cultural Committee.”

While the Salsa Club is led by Rosado, the class was taught by Humanities Professor La Vaughn Belle, and her husband, Rivert Diaz, which was the first time the class was taught by guest instructors.

The instructors were chosen for their background in knowing how to dance salsa, although their salsa style is more Cuban.

“I wanted to see how their teaching style was, and how the students received them,” Rosado said. “Hey, anytime you have a guest professor who knows salsa you take them up on it.“

Diaz and Belle are in the process of opening a dance studio called “House of Clave,” but are currently instructors at the Bailar Casino Social Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Comanche Hotel, and Saturdays at La Laguna.

“We’ve been teaching for a long time,” Belle said. “I was going to start a Salsa Club, but it just happened to be synergetic that he was starting one at the same time so it was perfect.”

Belle said that while she would not be able to attend every class, she would try to attend as many as possible.

According to Rosado the classes are scheduled for Tuesdays and Fridays at 12:30 p.m. in the cafeteria.

One of the most challenging tasks with the club is attracting male students.

“Originally it was just girls and with some recruiting on the day, which is why I think 12:30 is a good time, you can kind of recruit guys,” Rosado said. “Generally, towards the beginning recruiting is a lot easier than later on because they already are exposed and they know what it is. So if they don’t want to come, they just don’t want to come. But I’m optimistic.”

Rivert Diaz teaching UVI students how to dance salsa
Rivert Diaz teaching UVI students how to dance salsa

With National Hispanic Heritage Month coming up in November, Rosado is hoping that with some practice, there will be a group that can represent the Salsa Club, even if it is only a small performance.

“It’s going to take some work, but ideally that would be great. Maybe if we can get La Vaughn Belle and some of the other instructors and students who are more skilled, we could do a simple performance,” Rosado said.

“I had fun,” nursing major and Dance Team captain, Deidre Dubois, said. “I knew Ismael for a very long time and he invited me to take just one day of classes and I decided to stick with it.”

One of Rosado’s ultimate goals is to get a worthwhile group that can participate in and bring awareness to the community.

“I’m hoping to get a solid group together that can learn gradually and develop their skills to potentially being able to perform and go outside into the community and participate in the social culture, which is salsa and Latin dance,” Rosado said.

Kappa Gamma’s Freestyle Fridays a success

Kappa Gamma’s Freestyle Fridays a success

Felicia Emmanuel|

ST. CROIX- University of the Virgin Islands students on Sept. 20 gathered around the Student Activities center to watch fellow students exhibit their freestyling talents during Freestyle Friday.

Freestyle rap is a spontaneous performance done without preparation.

Emulating BET’s 106 & Park segment, Freestyle Fridays allow UVI students to exhibit their rapping creativity, while allowing their peers to vote on the best performance. The winner would then defend his or her title at the next Freestyle Friday.

“The purpose of Freestyle Friday is to bring life and spirit to campus,” said Sheena Tonge, vice president of Kappa Gamma.

“We usually have a rap battle,” Tonge said. However, lack of contestants led to a decision not to have a match.

 Junior "Judah VI" and others participants look on as rapper drops his verse
Junior “Judah VI” and others participants look on as rapper drops his verse

Despite having no contest, students still showed their support.

This was especially encouraging to part-time UVI student and DJ Charles “Daddy Pollo” Goodings Jr. Goodings, 22, believes support from his peers helped make the occasion successful.

“I surprised myself,” Goodings said. “I really didn’t expect to see so many people come out. Just the fact that I’m playing, people came out to support.”

He has been a DJ at other Kappa Gamma events such as on-campus basketball games and Dancehall Cardio.

“Kappa Gamma supports students doing big things,” Tonge said.

In terms of participation, Kappa Gamma President Junior “Judah VI” Garcia was no exception.

Garcia dropped some verses to Nicki Minaj’s “Beez in the Trap.”

The occasion ended on a festive note as friends of Khalid Edwards held a surprise birthday celebration in his honor.

Overall, students such as Remah Asad were pleased with the outcome. She felt it brought the students together as one.

“The music and allowing everyone to be themselves in an environment that is not strictly professional is always fun and good,” she said. “It’s like an appreciation event towards the students.”

Students unfamiliar with Kappa Gamma should know it is a marketing and management group.

“Clubs and organizations on campus would plan events and the events would not turn out the way they would want to in terms of publicizing the event. Therefore, Kappa Gamma was put in place to help with the media,”  Tonge said.

Students look on to support peers as they participate at freestyle friday
Students look on to support peers as they participate at freestyle friday

By using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Kappa Gamma utilizes them all to the host club’s or organization’s advantage.

Their involvement, however, does not end with promotional work. Kappa Gamma secures volunteers to help with clean up.

Students interested in Kappa Gamma events can reach out to them.

“We always have flyers up,” Tonge said. “We have a [Facebook] page you can contact Mr. Garcia or you can contact myself.”

Students can also go to Mrs. Hedda Finch-Simpson’s office in the Student Activities Center for more information about the club.

Tonge added that interested students can speak with Kappa Gamma members at their events.

Once there, the organization can acquire contact information.

UVI VOICE Launches New Website with New Features

UVI VOICE Launches New Website with New Features

The University of the Virgin Islands student-run newspaper the UVI VOICE has launched a new website www.uvivoice.net. The new site is easy-to-navigate and compatible with mobile phones and other devices. UVI VOICE online features breaking news, in-depth coverage of campus issues and offers student perspectives on national and global issues.

The editors, directors, reporters and photographers on the St. Thomas Campus and the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix are participating in UVI’s Journalism Workshop, or Com/English 200.  “We are proud of how far it has come in such a short time,” said UVI English major and UVI VOICE Managing Editor Arige Shrouf.  UVI VOICE Assistant Editor Markida Scotland, a communications major, began working on the website design in the beginning of fall 2013. Scotland designed the site to have UVI-related Twitter feeds and RSS feeds. “There is always something new on the site,” Shrouf said. Site visitors can also follow the UVI VOICE on Facebook and Twitter for breaking news alerts. “The UVI VOICE staff has been working tirelessly to make this site and this paper an excellent portrayal of all the skills and hard work that have gone into creating it,” she said.

The current issue includes stories on the installation of UVI Student Government Association leaders, UVI fashion, a feature on the iPhone verses the Galaxy, and much more. The UVI VOICE online 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.

Students, professors, administrators and alumni can submit editorials, stories, pictures, ideas and suggestions touvivoice@myuvi.net and be published. To read more about UVI VOICE’s editors and reporters visit https://uvivoice.net/about/fall-2013-staff/. The UVI VOICE is a socially conscious newspaper and website dedicated to reflecting the diverse perspectives that make-up the University. UVI Journalism Professor and St. Croix Avis Newspaper Managing Editor Stephanie Hanlon-Nugent is the UVI VOICE adviser.