Featured Image: Dr. Tim Faley and Team McKrigger after they were presented with the “Best Hack” $500 check and a certificate for 40 hours of free mentoring from NEARiX.
The Hackathon 2016 T-shirt design.
Alicia Taylor |
ST. CROIX – Imagine getting paid to bring your crazy ideas to life. The UVI Hackathon allowed students to do just that.
The 2nd annual Hackathon to be held on St. Croix took place September 9th and 10th in the Albert A. Sheen Campus Library. Thanks to NEARiX LLC, UVI’s Research and Technology Park (RTP) and Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR), UVI Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Association (UVIDEA), students competed for $700 in cash prizes and a $100 UVI bookstore certificate.
In a 24-hour span, students broke into teams to develop an app that reflected the year’s theme of health and wellness. UVI Distinguished Professor and Special Assistant to the President, Tim Faley, instructed students to create an app that they would personally use.
The students took that advice and ran with it. They saw a problem and came up with a solution to solve it in the form of an application for cell phones.
However, of the four teams competing, there could only be one grand prize winner.
ST. THOMAS – Last night, Elite Hospitality Management, the company running the St. Thomas campus cafeteria, unveiled their new “Crave Station” and held an informative session lasting from about 7:30-8:00 PM.
“I know it’s already the third week of class, but it is still early enough to welcome you all back,” said Jennifer Palmer-Crawford, Director of Residence Life for the St. Thomas Campus, as she opened the meeting.
The main point of interest for most students was the new Crave Station, open during diner and lunch hours, that serves fresh fruit, yogurt, and four types of sub sandwiches including: tuna, ham, turkey, and vegetable on either white or wheat bread. The Crave Station will not be open during the late-night “snack hours” from 7:00-9:00PM.
Silently, everyone had been wondering for the past three weeks why they were no longer allowed to make their own salads, and now the salads were being prepared to one’s liking and served to the customer.
“Items are now being served from the Salad Bar and Crave Station to reduce contaminants and make sure they have enough to spread around for every paying student,” noted Claudia Prince, Manager of Elite Hospitality Management, curing everyone’s curiosity. Continue reading New Station Addresses Student’s Craves→
ST.THOMAS – On Wednesday April 15, 2015 UVI students, under the supervision of Dahlia Stridiron, created a table to promote sexual awareness for the month of April. This activity was sponsored by the Counseling, Career, and Health Service Departments of UVI.
The students were able to create a “t-shirt” with their own sayings and quotes. These “t-shirts” were then posted in the cafeteria on a clothes line, displaying what the students wrote. Upon completing the t-shirt, each student was given a dark green ribbon for participation. There were also pamphlets and booklets about sexual assault awareness.
Shanaliz Natta, a sophomore stated, “In my point of view, the table had an array of information pertaining to sexual assault. I liked it because it was well decorated with the colors representing sexual assault, depicting that the volunteers were passionate about getting the message out there to men and women.”
Some shirts had simple quotes like “Do Not Touch” or “Leave me alone.” Others had quotations like “You have a hand. You don’t need me.” Some decided to write inspirational messages such as, “You are not alone” or “Get help, and we will believe you.”
This activity is one of many across the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 women are sexually abused. The research also stated that 1 in 59 men are raped in their lifetime.
Although many may not come forward, this horrendous act still occurs. It’s up to the people of the community to prevent this from happening and also console the victims if and when it does.
The students of UVI demonstrated sympathy and awareness about this subject.
ST. CROIX—Dozens of University of the Virgin Islands students wore pink and marched down the university’s Palm Drive in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Week. The Seventh-Day Adventist Pulse Drum Corp band led students along with faculty, alumni and a few from the general public down Palm Drive. Speakers and food were at the pavilion where the march ended.
ST.THOMAS-The University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas Campus took part in the international drug and alcohol abuse campaign, Red Ribbon Week, on Oct. 21-25.
According to the DrugRDumb website, Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to promote a drug free America. Colleges have joined the cause as they celebrated this notorious battle against drug.
Colleges are one of the most common places where drugs, such as alcohol and other substances can be found. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found statistical evidence that shows about four out of five college students consume alcohol.
To extinguish this alarming statistic, especially in UVI, the St. Thomas campus participated in a week of events that promoted a drug-free life. Activities such as poster presentations, Red Ribbon decorative competitions between dormitories, promissory drug free signings, and Open Mic night were implemented to get the students involved.
Counselors like Ms. Dahlia Stridiron greeted students in the hallway of the Classroom Administration Building encouraging students to pledge to a drug free “week.”
“It is impossible to get students to completely stop drinking for the rest of their college lives but I was more than willing to make the pledge,” Clement Browne, a biology major, said.
Lesa Royer, a resident assistant of the Middle Dormitory, said “I have collected an estimate of 100 students who pledged to be drug free. As fun little prizes, cups and double sided eraser pencils were given out.”
The dorms also participated in decorating their dorms showing Red Ribbon Week spirit. Dorm decorations included poster murals by West Hall Dormitory and red painted rocks, which formed the shape of a ribbon by the Middle Dormitory. In first place was the East Dormitory, which was adorned with red ribbon posters, streamers and balloons.
“East Dorm definitely brought the competition and creativity. Their dorm was awesome,” Royer exclaimed.
ST. THOMAS– According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) “about four out of five college students drink alcohol.” In the Virgin Islands the legal age to consume alcoholic beverages is 18. As a result, a college freshman in the VI is allowed to purchase alcohol compared to a student in the United States who would have to wait until he or she is 21.
Due to the lenient drinking laws in the Virgin Islands, it is not the local college students that abuse the right to drink, but the foreigners coming from areas with strict laws against drinking, Jill wagner said. All college students are affected by drinking whether they consume alcohol or not.
Many students between the ages of 18-24 consume alcohol and put themselves and others at risk for unintentional death.
Karence DeCosta, better known as Miss St. Thomas Carnival Queen in 2009, died in a car accident after her graduation celebration from the Charlotte Amalie High School. She died more than a month into her reign as queen. It was suspected, but never confirmed, that alcohol was involved.
Many students consume alcohol and are not fully prepared for the worse outcome of the situation. According to NIAAA, about 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall.
College drinking can result in termination from the campus and even worse, students can be restricted from the school property. Females who drink excessively are at risk of being assaulted and/or abused in their vulnerable state. The NIAAA states that more than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape and 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.
While a vast majority of students do consume alcohol, not everyone does. “Joining groups such as brothers with a cause, sister to sister and SGA can help students refrain from alcohol” College senior Shana Gilbert said.
Every college student needs to be aware that alcoholism is a disease. Alcohol is considered the gateway drug that leads to the use of other drugs and paves the way for addiction. The university offers a nurse and counselor that students can meet with to discuss their drinking issues and get help. Students may think they’re too young to be an alcoholic, but anyone constantly abusing alcohol is an alcoholic.
On St. Thomas, many college students attended the Metropolis Night Club due to its close proximity to the campus and its infamous “free all night” specials on Tuesdays. This made it easy for students to abuse the substance and drink excessively. However, the club was shut down due to a consistency of violence and criminal activity.
“I do not drink and am not for drinking because it destroys the body, but I would advise those students who drink to be responsible and stay away from the campus when they do consume alcohol” freshman Paulita said.Paulita is a mature student who lived on the island most of her life and supports alcohol awareness.
Drinking alcohol is not the problem, abusing the privilege is. If, as a college student, you feel the need or desire to drink, drink responsibly.
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?
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Eating 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.
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.