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→
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. THOMAS – Anansi the spider, a Ukrainian “Mail Order Bride,” a polar bear and an ornery St. Thomian bus driver joined many other characters to create the 5th annual Playwrights in Paradise New Play Festival that took place in the UVI Little Theatre on Sunday, April 27, 2015.
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 – The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) community, engaged in eye-opening discussions with African American entertainment leaders, philanthropists and entrepreneurs on Thursday 23rd April at the Sports and Fitness Center.
The Andrew Young Emerging Leaders Legacy Lecture series 2015 was held for the first time at the University of the Virgin Islands in April 2015.
The event held under the theme: “Building dreams through leadership,” featured presentations from Tracy Broughton, Ms. America 2011; Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. Founder & Chairman, NBCA Hall of Fame; Demetria McKinney, Actress and Singer; Emmanuel Lewis Actor and Philanthropist; Shanti Das, The Hip Hop Professional.
The lecture series are held annually at a chosen Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The event, organized by the National Black College Alumni (NBCA) Hall of Fame and the UVI Division of Students Affairs, was held at UVI to celebrate the success of Ms. Elisa Thomas, the first Miss UVI to capture the NBCA Hall of Fame title.
Thomas Dortch, founder and chairman of the NBCA Hall of fame said that the journey to the Virgin islands is expensive, but it is important to include UVI in the HBCU family. He encouraged the students present to be more proactive, seek out opportunities and demand more from their leaders and administrators.
Dortch also shared his experience as a successful entrepreneur and urged students to pursue a degree in career areas that are in demand. He said while it is important to follow your dreams, students should consider degrees in Technology and Science. He urged the students to take control of their destiny.
Ms. America 2011, Tracy Broughton encouraged the students present to organize more social activities and not fixate on what the school does not have. She encouraged the students to utilize what the university currently has even if it’s just a basketball team.
The panelists mainly answered student questions ranging from funding cut for HBCUs, social media, African Americans in corporate America and the entertainment industry. They also shared personal struggles, successes, and genuine words of encouragement to the students.
Broughton, used her experiences as a disabled female to encourage the audience to not be defined by their current situation. She shared personal stories about rape, disability, homelessness, and kidnapping. She credits these experiences as the worst experiences in her life and attributes them to her success today.
Commonly known for his role in ABC’s sitcom Family Matters, Emmanuel Lewis, dressed in a blue UVI Pride Day t-shirt and a St. Thomas, USVI straw hat, expressed his love for the Virgin Islands. He described St Thomas as his home away from home. He said he could not wait to enjoy a home cooked meal from ‘roun de field’.
The lecture series aims to inspire and encourage African American students to reach their full potential. The night’s discussion included topics such as Black Lives Matters, Credit Worthiness and Job Possibilities, Voting & Civil Rights, Domestic Violence, Lyrics being used by recording artists and entertainers, Social media and how it impacts one’s professional and personal future.
The event included a question and answer section moderated by UVI alumni, Rick Grant.
ST. THOMAS – The international students and the diversity they bring, lend quite a bit to the melting pot of the University of the Virgin Islands’ population. At UVI the population comprises American students, other Caribbean students and a small mixture of students from foreign countries. These students play an influential role in aspects of the university experience. Their impact extends to the economic, cultural and educational spheres.
Among other things, international students weigh heavily on the economic scale. They are required to pay tuition and other fees which are generally higher, than for resident students. In some instances, they are required to rent apartments, which in effect requires that they purchase food, buy groceries and take transportation to and from school and other places.
Aside from academia, students require some level of entertainment which oftentimes leads them to visit popular sites around the island, ‘hang out’ and spend money. To some extent, international students merit the same value as tourists. To say the least, they can be considered as tourists on an extended stay.
With various languages such as English, Spanish, French and others, international students bring a variety of slangs, phrases and dialects. Their unique languages encourage the bilingual spirit of some students who are interested in adopting the language of another country.
The overall varying lifestyle of international students introduces a new dimension to other students. Their differences in fashion, food preferences, norms and customs are all intertwined as they share the same temporary home.
The myriad of religious beliefs brought by international students help to open other student’s minds to what lies beyond their own culture. In essence, international students bring to the university a new way of life, a different culture.
Although all students come to UVI with the common goal of learning, international students bring with them a variety of different learning techniques which they are able to share. Similarly, students engaging in foreign languages can seek the assistance of international students who possess these languages as their first language. Peer tutoring is an asset to any learning institution as it is understood that while students may not grasp concepts taught by their professors, it is sometimes easier to understand material explained by a peer. Also, international students are known to excel even beyond their academic disciplines. Their involvement in a number of extracurricular activities helps them to stand out among other students.
It is fair to claim that international students serve an important role among the general UVI student population. It is understood that due to their different backgrounds, they possess a host of differences compared to resident students. Thus, when all the international students, American, other Caribbean and a small mixture of others are combined with the resident students, it produces a melting pot, a diverse university.