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.
Feature Photo Caption: Ryan Shaw ready to take on the new academic year and next, the world. (Photo taken on St. Thomas courtesy of Adeola Adelekan, Orientation Leader)
By Alicia Taylor and Nathalie Trow-McDonald
Albert A. Sheen- St. Croix campus new student orientation island tour, August 20, at Point Udall. (Courtesy of Catey Mendoza, a National Student Exchange student from Alaska)
Albert A. Sheen – St. Croix Campus Orientation: Perspectives of An Exchange Student
Attending UVI is the beginning of our flight towards success. With the help of the orientation staff and student leaders, we were introduced to the flight attendants and captains that will assist in our navigation throughout the journey we call college.
Throughout our flight journey at UVI, we were instructed on safety precautions and instruments we can utilize to assist us. We were educated about campus security, dating and violence, sexual assault and physical and mental health concerns. Through counseling and health services, RAVE and a variety of other departments on campus, students can be reassured that the flight they are traveling on is a safe one.
The theme for orientation on the Albert A. Sheen campus on St. Croix was “Navigating Your Path to Academic Success,” hence all the flight metaphors.
Being a National Student Exchange (NSE) student, the Virgin Islands was an unknown territory waiting to be revealed to me. Attending orientation allowed me the opportunity to experience the university and the culture of St. Croix first hand.
The orientation staff and faculty made it their priority to make sure each student either learned or was reminded of the heritage of St. Croix and the Virgin Islands. Meals were prepared with a variety of foods local to the Caribbean, including the introduction of two local food trucks for students to try at lunch.
The St. Croix campus offered orientation students to take part in a movie night at the Caribbean Cinema, an island tour, bowling at Ten Pins and snorkeling lessons.
Of all the organized activities and events, the New Student Convocation and Buccaneer Welcome Reception was my favorite. Specifically, President Hall’s address to the students.
“He was engaging, relatable and genuinely cared about each of us individually,” said Cassie (Cassandra) Glodowski, a NSE student from Wisconsin. “He didn’t just see us as a statistic, but rather as a student of UVI.”
After walking the stage and being bestowed the medal, I felt like an official member of the Buccaneer community. UVI is proud of each and every student, whether they are here for a semester or five years. The bond created here is unbreakable and each individual of this community will assist in navigating you towards the path of academic success.
Featured Photo: Designated Parking Map of the St. Thomas Campus. (Courtesy of the University of the Virgin Islands)
Alayna Belshe |
ST. THOMAS – This is my third fall semester at UVI and every year I learn a little more about how to get things done at our university. This year, I mastered getting a parking pass and completing the vehicle registration process.
If you are new to campus or if you have been lucky enough to get a new vehicle over the summer, you need to register your vehicle online through your BanWeb account before you visit the security office.
To complete the online registration you need:
Your driver’s license
Your license plate number
Your car’s make
Your car’s color
Your car’s year
Accessing BanWeb is as simple as logging into your MyCampus page on the UVI website and selecting the BanWeb link on the left.
Screenshot of the BanWeb Home Page after Logging into MyCampus (August 2016)
After filling out the vehicle registration form found on BanWeb, proceed to the campus security office. The entrance to the office is right next to the Banco Popular ATM on the St. Thomas campus and near the First Bank ATM by the Evans Center on the Albert A. Sheen- St. Croix campus.
You will need to bring your driver’s license, registration and your student ID. (If you still don’t have your UVI Student ID, a piece of paper with your name and ID number will be accepted).
The campus security office is open 24 hours a day, so there is no excuse for not getting this done.
The best part of this whole process is that the permit is free. (Provided that you do not lose said permit, otherwise be prepared to fork over $25.00 to the security office.)
As of Wednesday morning all members of the UVI community received an email detailing the parking policy and the process of registering your vehicle including maps of appropriate parking for each campus.
Good luck to all of us finding our preferred parking spaces!
Designated Parking Map of the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. (Courtesy of the University of the Virgin Islands)
Participants taped their mouths as a way to exhibit the effects of anti – LGBTQ acts.
Olinger Augustin |
ST. CROIX – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning organization ONELOVE, held their second annual Day of Silence, hosting a silent march on the Albert A. Sheen campus.
On Thursday, April 14, students, staff, faculty and community members joined together to take a vow of silence to address the issue of anti-LGBTQ and bullying acts. Participants illustrated silence by taping their mouths to showcase the effect of bullying and harassment on those perceived to be LGBTQ.
ONELOVE member, Michael Rosario, had a comment on the event. “What we wanted to do with this march is to show that we weren’t going to be silent anymore. This is the third or fourth event we’ve done on campus, and we just want the UVI community to know that there is an LGBTQ organization that is willing to represent and have a voice for anyone who needs our help.” Continue reading UVI CELEBRATES DAY OF SILENCE→
Volunteers repaint the kiosk information center as part of Pride Week activities.
Olinger Augustin |
ST. CROIX – Students, faculty, and staff met on Monday, March 28 to provide a day of service on the Albert A. Sheen campus by sprucing up the kiosk information center.
As part of the university’s annual Pride Week, the UVI community gathered to provide community service on the campus itself.
Student Activities’ Hedda Finch-Simpson noted, “Often times we tend to go off campus to provide community service, but this time we decided to bring it to the actual campus to get students excited about school pride.” Continue reading UVI PRIDE DAY OF SERVICE→
ST. THOMAS, VI- Forecasting an imminent graduation season at the end of this semester, UVI students are proud to have weathered the storm.
From ensuring that they have undertaken all their required courses to working feverishly to ensure all passes, trailing their academic advisers to seek advice for a smooth transition from university life to their career path, seniors are experiencing a nerve-wracking yet thrilling semester.
In speaking with Tayla-Marie Manners, a senior accounting major, she said that upon the heels of graduation she feels quite accomplished.
“Through the multiplicity and variation in academic programs, I can say UVI has molded me into a well-rounded individual,” Manner said. She added that although she is an accounting major, given the opportunity to enroll in science and foreign language classes have helped to make her a very marketable graduate. Continue reading Graduating student satisfied with UVI experience→
Aerial View of UVI St. Thomas Campus. Photo Credit: uvi.edu
ST. THOMAS — Students at the University of the Virgin Islands will have to brace themselves for a possible tuition increase in the upcoming academic year in light of the university’s continued fiscal challenges. As the university continues to tighten its belt amidst decreasing government appropriations, increasing tuition will likely be one of the new schemes to improve its financial situation.
In an email on Feb. 9, David Hall, president of the University of the Virgin Islands alerted the UVI community that there was a deficit in the 2016 fiscal year budget. Dr. Hall explained the three main factors that contributed to the deficit.
“This present challenge is a result of various factors, including (1) the drop in enrollment over the previous fiscal years from 2,700 students to 2,300 students which has lowered our revenues and unfortunately we have not made the appropriate adjustment in expenditures; (2) the drop in our government appropriations over the previous fiscal years has eliminated a lot of the flexibility in our operating budget; and (3) some of our accounting controls have not forced units to stay within their budgeted amounts,” the email read.
In an interview with the UVI Voice on Feb. 15, President Hall explained that the units were not maliciously overspending, but accumulated unpaid bills that rolled over from the end of the previous fiscal year.
In light of such, President Hall said the university is introducing new monitoring tools. These controls include denying authorization for purchases that exceed department budgets, closely monitoring department budgets towards the end of the fiscal year, and bringing forward the cut off point for orders and purchases.
“All of us have to be much more willing to stay within the budgets we are given and not exceed them, even when they are good reasons to do it,” Hall said.
In an effort to mitigate the impending deficit of $1.4 million, the president asked each unit of the university to reduce its budget by 4.8 percent for fiscal year 2016. In doing so, Dr. Hall asked each department to ensure that the reduction in budget does not affect employees’ jobs nor the quality of students’ education.
According to Hall, the fall in enrollment by some 400 students significantly affects the school’s operational budget, as the faculty size remained the same.
“We are also attempting to enhance our revenues through various new programs and especially through an increase in enrollment,” President Hall said. “The university is looking for ways to increase class sizes but not affect the quality of students’ education.”
Though the proposal is not final, Hall said a tuition increase is likely to be among the new measures to circumvent the deficit. The decision will only become final after the president proposes the tuition increase to the board and meets with the Student Government Associations and the student population.
Zoé Walker, vice president of the Student Government Association on St. Croix said the tuition increase is warranted in light of UVI’s fiscal challenges.
“I can understand why the students would find this proposed tuition increase frightening. But our students must remember that UVI currently has the most affordable tuition in the nation as an HBCU. In order for us to continue to receive a quality education in paradise, the university has to do certain things to achieve that, especially in light of a decrease in funds received from the government.”
Walker is also advocating for an improvement in the university’s payment option, stating that the options should be more flexible to accommodate students.
“I also believe that the university must observe that, although it is not a drastic increase, every student’s situation is different and (we) should make sure we have appropriate payment plans available,” Walker said.
Though the fiscal challenges are burdensome, President Hall is confident that UVI will overcome them as it has in the past.
“…I am still optimistic about UVI and where we are heading,” he said. “We have had fiscal challenges for the last four or five years. Students should not be fearful that this signals some major problem with the institution, but it is just unfortunately a part of doing business these days, where you have to tighten your belts and ensure you are generating more revenue. Besides a tuition increase, we are looking at new programs that can bring more revenue to the institution,” Hall said.
President Hall will present a revised fiscal year 2016 budget to the Finance and Budget Committee of the Board on Feb. 22 and approval is expected at its March 5 meeting.
As the new semester starts, students here at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) have a lot on their minds. Our staff went around surveying local and exchange students to learn their thoughts and opinions for the Spring Semester of 2016.
first semester exchange student
What was your first reaction to St. Thomas and/or UVI? What surprised you the most?
My first reaction to UVI was kind of bad. This school is super tiny compared to my college back home. I arrived and my phone didn’t have service, hardly anyone was on campus, I didn’t have the code for the WiFi, and there were problems with my room. It was pretty tough for the entire afternoon. Then I met some other National Student Exchange students at dinner and everything changed completely.
What was your biggest mistake of last semester/something you want to improve this semester?
Last semester, I slacked off at the beginning of my classes. Thus, I dug a hole for myself and was forced to climb out of it by the end of the semester. This semester I’m going hard in the beginning so it will be easier at the end.
What are your goals for the end of the semester?
My goals by the end of the semester are to visit a lot of places, make lifelong friends, and become more cultured.
ST. CROIX — Even though I knew it was coming, I wasn’t prepared for how it would feel.
I cried every day during the final semester of my undergraduate year. Between current expectations and the nearing future I realized that I wasn’t ready to graduate.
I wasn’t the only one.
Senior year is romanticized. Seniors are expected to have their lives planned out. This was what they have been preparing for the moment they left high school and entered institutions of higher learning.
These students are expected to be bold and brave, bearing smiles and excitement for the coming of May when it will all be over. Few realize that, while exciting, senior year is overwhelmingly stressful. After several years, their lives are summed up in a month.
May doesn’t mean the same thing anymore for graduating seniors. It is a month of changes.
Dr. Aletha Baumann, associate professor of psychology at the University of the Virgin Islands, recounted a situation where a student broke down in front of her.
“She wasn’t sad about going off on her own or finding a job,” Baumann said. “She cried because she just didn’t want to leave UVI. This was her home.”
Graduation is a big transition that often causes students to feel depressed or anxious.
Will they find a secure job right out of college?
What do they do with their degree?
Will they find a job within that degree?
After finding a job they must now budget, decide living arrangements, make new friends and say goodbye to old ones. It is a period of leaving the familiar and meeting the unfamiliar.
In a 2014 article by US Health News, Vicki Hays, director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Michigan, said graduation depression is more common than many think.
“I think it’s much harder actually leaving college than it is coming to college,” she said. “Leaving is something completely new. For most people, they have not been without the structure of organized education ever in their lives.”
For some students, the problem wasn’t leaving college. The problem was the process in order to leave there.
Lorie Jeffers graduated from the University of the Virgin Islands with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology last May. According to her, there were personal points of depression for herself and her fellow classmates.
“I know there was not one person in my class who did not express their frustration with their final semester in one way or another,” Jeffers said. “I remember tears from some, hopelessness from others.”
Jeffers also said that the stress levels among herself and her peers were unstable.
“In between our moments of despair and depression were lots of moments of triumphs and victories. However sometimes it felt like for every victory there was a setback,” she said.
A 2001 article in The Guardian stated that while one in four students suffer depression during their university years, there aren’t any official statistics for the post-graduation nor pre-graduation period.
In the article, Mike Burton, of the Sussex University Counseling service, said that this group “slips through the system.” These students become indivisible from any other adult going through transitions and even counselors are unaware of the problem.
Patricia Towal, director of counseling and career services at the University of the Virgin Islands, said that while students do come in for counseling, she wished there were more.
“A lot of students don’t understand what counseling can really do for them,” Towal said. ” I wish more students would seek out what they already paid for and it’s one of the few times you’ll get free counseling in your life.”
Baumann also agreed that students in their final semester need that extra counseling to cope with their difficulties.
“This is the time people should be talking to counselors about life especially if you’ve never been stressed like this before,” Baumann said.
Many students, however, admit that they do not seek counseling in their final year and that is mostly because they handle the feelings of stress and anxiety on their own.
Deidre Dubois, senior psychology major at the university, said that rather than see a counselor, she took a day off.
“I was feeling very overwhelmed,” Dubois said. ” I did not go to class and I did not attend my internship for a week either. I was told to relax before I broke down.”
Dubois also said that between school, her daughter, and other personal struggles, she felt like jumping off of a cliff.
Another psychology senior, Shanah Bannis, also didn’t see a counselor to handle her stress.
“I just got over it. I’m not at the point where I have breakdowns anymore,” Bannis said. “I used to freak out over not failing and I just went numb to it.”
However, despite the call for counseling, Aletha Baumann felt that many of the students were not at clinical levels of depression and anxiety, which is why there are very few studies on the topic.
According to Baumann, many students often use the word “depressed” as a way to express unfamiliar stress and sadness.
“The senior year of any program is really intense. You’ve got your internship, practicum, senior project, and all other classes you didn’t want to take,” Baumann said. ” Those extreme pressures can cause you to feel depressed, not clinically depressed, just very sad and overwhelmed.”
Towal agreed that many of the students appeared to show signs of stress rather than clinical depression or anxiety.
“For most graduates they don’t get that closure because even though their educational world has closed their professional world is beginning,” Towal said.”It’s actually ‘eustress,’ which is good stress, like starting a new job, or moving to a new place. It’s stressful because it’s new and there are a lot of decisions to make.”
“I think it’s that not knowing, that ‘what’s the best choice for me?’, ‘how can I optimize my money, time and effort to get the best degree I can?’ that causes stress because it’s open ended,” Towal said. “It is overwhelming because you have to live by your decision and the consequences.”
However, while the students at the University of the Virgin Islands are overwhelmed, Baumann believes that they are the type of students that overcome easily.
“Students, particularly here, are very resilient,” Baumann said. “So, even when they say ‘This is it I’m not doing it,’ oftentimes what they need is just reassurance that they are on the right track and they can do it.”
With the help of great advisers and peers, the struggles of coursework and the nearing future become minuscule troubles.
If it weren’t for the constant reassurance and kind words from my professors I might have given into the pressures of my senior semester and crumbled.
Thanks to them I, and many of my peers, will not only be graduating in May, we will be evolving and becoming ready for the world after graduation.
Published in the Virgin Islands Daily News on Wednesday, April 29, 2015
ST. THOMAS – Exam time is upon us, and so is the stress. Many students are not adept at the correct ways of studying. Although highly discouraged, many students prefer to “cram” the information the night or morning before their exam.
According to Marc Dussault in his article, “Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Cram to Study,” “cramming is pretty risky since it can cause quite a bit of stress.” He also says that repeatedly cramming can cause your health to be compromised.
Below are the top three study habits that will help students retain and recall much-needed information.
Study with a Friend – Studying with someone who has the same class as you, has its benefits. The two of you can exchange ideas and tips, so that remembering the material becomes easier. When there is a second opinion, the tough concepts usually become simpler. Another benefit of having someone else study with you is that both of you can teach each other the material so that you can explain them on your own, without books or notes.
Use Flashcards – This is a simple straight forward way to remember information. It is especially effective for vocabulary, short definitions, and keywords. First, gather all that you need to know and write them on separate pieces of flashcard paper, or if you don’t have any, use printer or card stock paper. It can work just as well. Every time you have completed the pack, shuffle them to prevent you from only remembering them because of their place in the pack. Do not be afraid to pull them out at any time of the day. The extra study time would help a lot.
Recite aloud – hearing yourself repeat the concepts and terms can help to retain in the material quickly. First, review the information straight aloud from your textbook or your notes a few times, four would be great. Next, remove the material from your eyesight, make sure that all of the papers are put away to avoid cheating the process. Then, recall the main points out loud. After you have done that, open your books to see if what you said was correct. Redo the entire process about three times, or until you can recite the work easily and without flaws.
Studying can be one of the most stressful things to do, especially during finals week, but it does not have to be. Using these study tips can make exam week a breeze. Do not forget to take breaks between subjects, or every half an hour. Either listen to some calming music or take a walk outside.
ST. THOMAS – Eight students at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) are currently preparing to spend their entire summer in Washington D.C.
The students will be participating in The Washington Center (TWC) Internship Program commencing May 27 until Aug. 7.
The 10-week program includes an internship, networking opportunities, leadership forums, academic course, and civic engagement programs. The students will also receive academic credits for their participation in the program.
Students will be immersed in the corporate and civic culture of Washington D.C.
The successful candidates were chosen to represent UVI from a pool of 15 applicants including graduate students.
TWC liason, Leslyn Tonge, said choosing the eight students was a difficult task.
Tonge said that the process began as early as February in order to meet the priority deadline. According to Tonge, the recruitment process included email blasts, class visits, presentations, workshops and one on one conversations. UVI also engaged a representative from TWC to meet with students and introduce them to the program.
Tonge said that UVI’s selection criteria included a 3.0 or more GPA and second semester sophomore and upper class-men.
A five-member committee chose the final eight participants by looking at the quality of the essays, recommendation letters, interest statements and professional statements submitted by the students.
The total cost for the university’s participation in the program exceeds $100,000. However, the school is confident that the students will benefit from the program.
UVI’s participation is made possible through funding from the Virgin Islands’ Legislature.
Provost Camille McKayle says that the investment is worthwhile. She said that UVI’s participation is in line with the university’s commitment to provide various educational experiences for students, outside of the UVI classroom.
“One of the things that we have really been trying to focus on is getting students different experiences. [We want students to] use UVI as a pathway to anywhere they want to go and not to think of education as just within the classrooms at UVI, but as varying sets of experiences,”McKayle said.
Provost McKayle hopes that students’ participation in these experiences will allow them to have different perspectives on the world of work. She also noted that participation in the TWC program, “enhances intellectual activity and conversation on campus.”
McKayle expects that the students will be organized, professional and ambassadors for the Virgin Islands. She encouraged the students to be the best all the time.
The eight participants include Music and Business major, Chyrstal Duncan, Communications major, Zoe Walker, Accounting major Alphea Brown and Tayla-Marie Manners, Criminal Justice Majors Depa Punjabe and Alana Carbon, Communications and English major Patrice Reneé Harris, and graduate student Lorenzo Donastorg.
Sophomore accounting major Alphea Brown says that she is pleased to have been selected. Browne said she is particularly “looking forward to learning new skills, expanding her network and gaining new opportunities.”
Communications major on St Croix, Zoe Walker, said that she is excited to participate in the program. She says she is looking forward to gaining work experience in Human Resource Management. “I am really looking forward to networking, because UVI does not offer Human Resource Management as a major. This internship will give me the experience I need to land a job in Human Resource Management after I leave UVI,” Walker said.
Walker is currently researching and acquainting herself with the mission, vision and culture of her internship site.
Presently, the university is finalizing travel arrangements and stipends, and approving the students’ academic program. The students are confirming internship and housing placements.
Upon their return from the summer internship program, the students will present their experience to the board of trustees.
This year marks the third year that the UVI has participated in the program. Each year the program has grown with an increasing numbers of applications from the university.
ST. THOMAS – In his 1839 play, “Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy,” the English writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton first coined the phrase “… The pen is mightier than the sword.”
More than a century and a half later, the idea that the written word could be stronger than any force of aggression or intimidation remains both undeniably true and immensely important. It is a belief that has taken hold across all of humanity regardless of borders such as nations, culture or language.
It is also an ideal whose usage – and indeed misuse – has shaped the course of history time and again, and will continue to play a guiding role for mankind as we collectively move into this new age of uncertainty.
Thanks to the astounding advancements in technology, the world is now more connected than ever before, and events that were once unknown or kept far at a distance from us can be brought to the attention of the entire world.
However, with all the potential for good that this can generate, there is an equal, terrible potential for harm; for we are indeed more connected through news as a species than we have ever been, but that same news also arguably less trustworthy that it has ever been too.
To easily have half-truths and yellow journalism enflamed opinions and stirred outrage and passion in the hearts of many, only to ruin the lives and reputations of innocent people by the time their falsehoods are exposed to the world.
In this time of both journalistic greatness and uncertainty, institutions such as the UVI Voice and UVI’s Communications classes are more important that they have ever been before.
Through my experiences in my Com 200 class, I learned how to do research, draft articles and write for an audience in a professional and – most importantly for news – impartial manner.
My time as a writer and reporter for the UVI Voice helped me even more giving me real, hands-on experience in working for a newspaper company in an educational and familiar environment. These two experiences have helped me immensely, and as we move towards a future where the power to become a reporter and change the world is at everyone’s fingertips, it’s important that we have a place that can instruct us and teach us about the enormous responsibility that comes with that power.
We live in a world where pen being mightier than the sword is not only a clever adage but the law, and in this world, each and every one of us has the power to change the world.