Tag Archives: US Virgin Islands

New Students Set Sail for Academic Success

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

IMG_0560Albert 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.

Regardless of the destination, you have allowed UVI to provide a stamp on your passport of life. Continue reading New Students Set Sail for Academic Success

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UVI CELEBRATES DAY OF SILENCE

 

ONELOVE2

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

UVI PRIDE DAY OF SERVICE

uvi4

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

New Semester, New Approach

NATHALIE TROW-MCDONALD AND CHE-RAINA WARNER

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.

 

davidbeavansDavid Beavans

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.

Continue reading New Semester, New Approach

UVI School of Education awarded accreditation status; programs will run until 2016 and 2020

-PRESS RELEASE FROM UVI-

The University of the Virgin Islands School of Education has been awarded accreditation status from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Accreditation was granted for the undergraduate and graduate programs, according to a prepared statement from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation on Nov. 7. The undergraduate program accreditation runs until 2020, and accreditation of the graduate program runs until 2016. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize NCATE as a professional accrediting body for teacher preparation.

“This achievement is the result of the outstanding and dedicated work of Dean Linda Thomas and all members of our School of Education,” said UVI President Dr. David Hall, who recalled that when he arrived at UVI five years ago, Dr. Thomas, who served in a different role at that time, was coordinating the accreditation efforts in the school. “She was deeply committed to ensuring that we achieved this institutional goal, and I am delighted that now, in her role as dean, this dream has become a reality.” He continued, “However, we are uniquely aware that this type of achievement requires a team effort, and all of the faculty members – full-time and part-time – have played a critical role in order for this honor to now be bestowed upon them.”

Dr. Hall thanked all of UVI’s students in the School of Education, because their academic work, portfolios and conversations with the visiting team communicated a very positive impression. The various external stakeholders, including the Department of Education, the Board of Education and the various schools where UVI students conduct their practice teaching, were all instrumental to this success, he said.

 “We are indeed proud to have achieved this goal of NCATE accreditation,” said UVI Provost Dr. Camille McKayle. “Though this goal is stated in the Pathways to Greatness Strategic Plan, it is the standard of excellence that it represents that is the true prize for our students.”  She continued, “By achieving this accreditation, we are able to demonstrate to others external to the institution that the University of the Virgin Islands provides programs in education that meet national standards set by professionals in the field.”

 “NCATE accreditation is a major accomplishment for the School of Education and the University,” said Dean Thomas. “It is an endorsement of the quality of the institution’s teacher preparation programs, and an assurance that students will receive superior education in the School of Education and the University.” She added, “Accreditation is a mark of distinction and provides recognition that the School of Education has met national professional standards for the preparation of teachers and other school professionals.”

Dr. Thomas said teacher candidates from NCATE-accredited institutions will be better prepared for new and more demanding initial licensing expectations in many states, and for new National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification – particularly since certification standards for both are compatible. “Graduates from NCATE-accredited institutions will generally find it easier to apply for licensure when they move from state to state,” she said.

The School of Education’s accreditation is the second school at UVI to receive accreditation this year. UVI’s School of Business received initial accreditation status in May from the Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. The University is completely accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools through 2017. The Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation.

Bonnie Anderson Visits the University of the Virgin Islands

Bonnie M. Anderson 27-year news veteran, visited the University of the Virgin Islands on Monday Nov. 18 to speak with communication majors and other students.

WAPA Creating “Fight or Flight” Situation in VI

WAPA making living conditions a “fight or flight” situation for residents and businesses

KHADIJAH LEE|

ST. THOMAS- It is in our best interest to resort back to candle-lit houses instead of dealing with the ever rising cost of Virgin Islands electricity. The Water and Power Authority, or WAPA, has made and continues to make living conditions in the Virgin Islands a “fight or flight” situation. Many businesses have closed because of their WAPA bill.

According to a Virgin Islands Daily News article published in June, “The V.I. Senate is finally seeking WAPA alternatives, but only after years of what many view as financial extortion.”

Not only businesses, but residents of the Virgin Islands have chosen the “flight” option in order to escape the heart wrenching WAPA bill. If only the Virgin Islands government had taken up the offer to sell it years ago, we may have been in a better position financially.

Many government officials rejected the sale of WAPA due to their inadequate ability to keep up with the current power bills.

According to a WAPA press release from the St. Thomas Source, “If WAPA were purchased by a private business, the V.I. government would actually have to pay their own power bills and would not be allowed to rack up millions of dollars in arrears and then stick us – we, the people – with their bill.”

The government has outstanding balances owed to WAPA. “The government owes approximately $20. 7 million, which is $6.4 million more than the balance owed at the same time last year. A normal paying resident who neglects paying their dues to WAPA would result in the cutting of power,” the St. Thomas Source said.

While WAPA rates continue to rise, salaries continue to stay the same at least according to us regular people.

 

“V.I. government and WAPA officials have known for many years that the diesel-gobbling, antiquated generators have needed attention, but what has been done – other than frequently raising our rates and raising the LEAC while we, the public, pay their salaries for their inept job performance,” a Daily News editorial said.

Matthias_stom_young_man_reading_by_candlelightMatthias Stom (fl. 1615–1649) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We, as the people, should come up with ideas to solve this money draining issue and put them in action. Luckily, some people already have implemented solutions such as solar panel installations.

Meanwhile, the University of the Virgin Islands also struggles with the ever increasing WAPA bills.”The university pays 51 cents per kilowatt hour, which in result adds up to $1.5 million a year,” UVI Energy Manager Courtney Mayes said. “We don’t get any outside funding and so we find ourselves using money from other departments.”

UVI has found small solutions  helping to decrease electricity spending such as solar water heaters and light installations in every building, chillers and LED lighting. The West Hall Dorm also includes occupancy sensors that save energy by shutting off lights and air conditioning when the room is “empty.”

“Since we have gone green, we were able to use 479 kilowatt hours instead of 675 kilowatt hours,” Mayes said. “We have saved at least $99,000.”

Other solutions we can propose is to invest in another company that can give WAPA competition. This approach results in companies striving to have better prices to attract more customers. It may result in any other energy companies and WAPA competing for better rates and WAPA being eliminated.

“A total of 27 companies submitted bids in response to the utility’s request for proposals which was issued in May,” Jean Greaux, Government House spokesperson said. “The RFP sought bids from independent solar power producers.”

Until a solution that works to end WAPA’s financial hold on us is found, “last one out, turn off the lights” According to a letter written to the Daily News by Donna Pagano.

Miss UVI Competes for Miss NBCA Hall of Fame

Miss UVI Competes for Miss NBCA Hall of Fame

ANTTOINETTE B. ANDERSON|

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.

UVI’s “Journey to Greatness” Will Be Remembered in 50 Years

ARIGE SHROUF |

ST. CROIX — In the spirit of moving forward and acknowledging the past, Committee Chair Raquel Silver shared the progress of the time capsule project at the Charter Day Ceremony, “Our Journey to Greatness,” which took place via video conference on the University of the Virgin Islands’ St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses on March 15.

Silver said she sees the project as an opportunity for the members of the UVI community to pass on “legacies, lessons, knowledge, hopes, and dreams” to future members of the UVI community to show “how far we have come.”

Continue reading UVI’s “Journey to Greatness” Will Be Remembered in 50 Years