Tag Archives: 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 Welcome Back How-To: The Parking Permit Situation

 

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.

BanWeb Location

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!

stxparkingposter1 (1).jpg

Designated Parking Map of the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. (Courtesy of the University of the Virgin Islands)

Tuition increase looms as UVI challenges continue

Patrice Reneé Harris |

uvi

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.

 

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

College Graduation: the challenging downside

MARKIDA SCOTLAND |

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.

via Life After Empty Nest
via Life After Empty Nest

“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.”

Where do you go from here?  Via Sexisoprano
Where do you go from here? Via Sexisoprano

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

Student Entrepreneurs at UVI

PATRICE RENEE’ HARRIS |

ST. THOMAS – Yentyl and Khalarni wake up each day enthused about their new business. Their hectic 18-hour days begins at 6 a.m. Throughout the day, they bounce between jobs, assignments, classes, school organizations, and their new business, leaving little time for a social life. or sleep.

Left: Khalarni Rivers, Right: Yentyl Levet at The Mix on the waterfront infront of BurgerMaxx, downtown Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas USVI. Photo Credit: Yentyl Levet
Left: Khalarni Rivers, Right: Yentyl Levet at The Mix on the waterfront infront of BurgerMaxx, downtown Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas USVI.
Photo Credit: Yentyl Levet

At this time of the semester, many students at the University of the Virgin Islands are worrying about final projects, research papers, carnival celebrations and senior year.

The same cannot be said of 21-year-old Yentyl Levet and 22-year-old Kharlani Rivers. These two students are not ordinary UVI juniors. Yentyl and Khalarni are busy running their own business – The Mix.

The Mix is a recently opened coffee stand located in front of Burger Maxx on the Charlotte Amalie waterfront. The Mix offers frozen and hot organic coffee.

Ultimately, Levet and Rivers wish to turn the coffee stand into a full-blown business by 2016.
Kharlani decided to open The Mix to inspire more Virgin Islanders to become entrepreneurs.

Khalarni said, “As a young Virgin Island male, I realized there weren’t many black locally owned businesses and I wanted to change that.”

The idea to open The Mix began about six months prior to the launch of the business and came as a result for the need to do something greater for themselves and their community.

Establishing this business was also a means to provide funding for their youth initiative- TEHO, To Each His Own- a community project designed to help young adults reach their full potential. Opening The Mix meant more than giving up their social lives; Rivers is now taking fewer credits in order to run the business daily.

DJ Temp playing at SGA's Back to school party at UVI Sports at Fitness Center, January 2015.  Photo Credit: Michael McFarlane
DJ Temp playing at SGA’s Back to school party at UVI Sports at Fitness Center, January 2015.
Photo Credit: Michael McFarlane

Desperate for opportunities and exposure, some students such as Michael McFarlane and Branford Parker did not have to reduce their course load, but gave up video games in their pursuit of becoming business practitioners.

Parker, a freelance photographer and videographer, and McFarlane, a radio personality and disc jockey, are rising Communication majors at UVI.

Both students said that at first they had to provide their services for free to make a name at the university.

While most of their work is freelance, it is their dream one day to open their own companies, but for now, they use the money made from small gigs to fund their schooling.

McFarlane, DJ Temp, plays regularly at nightclubs around St. Thomas and hopes one day to be on the poster for every party. McFarlane believes that he is getting closer to his goal as his weekends are becoming a lot busier.

Malisa Ragnauth.  Owner of Caribbean Imports, Tortola, British Virgin Islands Photo Credit: Malisa Ragnauth
Malisa Ragnauth.
Owner of Caribbean Imports, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Photo Credit: Malisa Ragnauth

For many British Virgin Islands students at UVI, like Malisa Ragnauth, their weekends usually include a commute home via the ferry every Friday.

However, Ragnauth is not journeying home just to meet with friends and family. The graduating accounting senior is the owner of her own business, Caribbean Imports, based in Tortola.

Ragnauth said it is not easy commuting every weekend to Tortola but her business depends on her physical presence. For Malisa, one of her greatest regrets is not being physically present to receive customer feedback.

Ragnauth’s business has been in existence for the past two years and was created at first when her parents, originally from Guyana, were not able to find Guyanese products in Tortola.

Malisa’s company imports fresh seafood, spices, seasoning, groceries and clothing from Trinidad and Guyana.

Malisa said she wanted to fill the void left by supermarkets offering American products only.

Kharlani, Yentyl, Branford, Michael and Malisa are not the only students at UVI working to achieve their goals of becoming business entrepreneurs.

The culture of entrepreneurship is being cultivated by the school’s annual 13-D competition. Participants in the program stand to win as much as $30,000 in prizes for their business ideas.

UVI 13D Coordinator, Glen Metts said “This year the competition started out with approximately 20 teams in the fall. The first competitive round was held on March 20th, which declares 6 finalist teams to compete on April 24th,” Metts said. “The competition is very exciting and the remaining participants will present their business ideas to a panel of judges.”

Sexual Assault Awareness Month at UVI

KIANA JOHN-BAPTISTE |

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 St. Thomas Campus Cafeteria, decorated with t-shirts about sexual assault. (photo credit: Kiana John-Baptiste)

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.

Miss UVI Wins Crown at NBCA Hall of Fame Queens Competition

UVI VOICE STAFF |

ST. CROIX — Miss UVI 2014-2015, Elisa Thomas, took home the crown Saturday at the 29th annual National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Queens Competition.

The competition was held September 24-28 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta. Prizes for the winner included a crown, sash, bouquet of roses, plaque, and a scholarship award of $5,000.00.

Thomas competed against 29 college queens from Historically Black Colleges and University’s (HBCU) around the country and also won the “Hats and Heels Segment” of the competition. Continue reading Miss UVI Wins Crown at NBCA Hall of Fame Queens Competition

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.

Pass the Bottle and Party Up

Effects of drinking on college students

Nalie Frederick|

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.

Drunk smiley LadyofHats
Drunk smiley
LadyofHats

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.

No Place to Create in the VI

Better resources and facilities needed for aspiring young artists

DENAE FLEMING

 ST. CROIX – In a society so rich and diverse in culture we find many ways of expressing ourselves as a people. Sweet combinations of various art styles connect us in ways that express how people feel, think and live. Whether it’s through music, dance, paintings, photos, videos, or illustrations, people as a whole interpret and obtain unique perspectives. They in turn share their own creative twist in hopes that someone can relate to and respect it.

 “It is strange that only around carnival time we tend to see a lot of art in a cultural aspect,” said Albert Hazard. Born in California, but a a resident of the territory since 1971.

 Hazard primarily started in the ceramics area of arts. He had accomplished 30 years’ of experience in teaching art and retired in 2003.

According to Hazard, art is all around us.

“We take it for granted and think that it is not important. Art is very important because without it life would be bland. Life would simply be black and white,” Hazard said.  “Students need some way to express themselves and an outlet to help develop their talents.”

Hazard has heard many parents say they don’t think arts are as important as other subjects. However, he believes that we have a lot of talented and gifted children in the Virgin Islands.

Although Hazard is retired, he has dedicated his time to St. Croix Educational Complex High School because they were in need of an arts instructor. His passion for art and his love for the future generation is why he agreed to come back to Complex and help students see a window of opportunity through the arts program.

Many believe the stigma in our society in the Virgin Islands that says we cannot make a living in the arts.

Ceramics foundation arts instructor, Dwydale Dariah. begs to differ.

“When people think of art, all they think about is drawing and painting; there is more to art than that,” said Dariah.

Dariah believes that as a career, the arts department is not taken seriously. Children are being discouraged out of pursuing their dreams because there is a lack of education as to how far arts can really take talented and inspired students.

Dariah was born in St. Lucia and has been an arts instructor for 13 years. He admires seeing each child’s  unique talents.

It saddens Dariah to see the drift in arts within the school system. With the lack of teachers and supplies it nearly seems impossible to facilitate students’ desires to get seriously involved in their passion for arts in the community.

“I believe 60 percent of the community could be better if there were better supplies and facilities to accommodate the youth of today. There is a trickle-down effect to things here,” Dariah Said. “If we as a people find more positive things for young people to do that will actually benefit them, we wouldn’t see as much crime and violence because they will be actively engaged.”

He stressed the need for more instructors, but feels that one reason the territory won’t receive any from abroad is because most won’t leave the mainland where there is better pay to come to the territory where resources are limited as well as income.

“For the sake of the children, we need change” Dariah said.

Marcus Castillo
Columbus College for Arts and Design Graduate Marcus Castillo

A student who wanted to pursue his dreams in the arts, Marcus Castillo, revealed his perspective on the matter.

“The possibility of students who leave the territory to reach opportunities and coming back home with the knowledge, skills, and talents is very small,” Castillo said. “If students can’t achieve their art potentials here because of limited funds, staffs, and supplies, at least inform the students that there are options outside of the territory although I feel as a diverse community we should have been able to provide for students who don’t have the privilege of going abroad.”

Castillo is a recent graduate of Columbus College for Arts and Design in Ohio, and one of the first from the territory to attend the college.

He was born in Dominican Republic but was raised in the Virgin Islands. Upon graduating from the St. Croix Educational Complex High School, Castillo made the decision to leave St. Croix to go to the mainland to acquire his Bachelor’s degree.

According to Castillo, It was a tough move to leave family and friends. The University of the Virgin Islands didn’t have a sufficient program that would help him the way he envisioned. Because of his move to the mainland he is currently working as an illustrator doing what he loves and has a passion for.

He did come back to the territory to do work, and when that backfired, he felt it was best to stay in the United States where he had more opportunities.

“I had a strong support system from family and friends,” Castillo said “but the man that helped me get where I am today is Mr. John Jones.”

Artwork by Marcus Castillo
Artwork by Marcus Castillo

Mr. Jones was Castillo’s art instructor throughout his high school life. He educated Castillo and pushed him positively in his talents and abilities because he saw the potential in him.

“The territory could do better with more multi-centers where children can go to feed their creative imaginations. Giving them something constructive to do, helps minimize idleness in the youth and provide them with something to do other than steal, fight, and get into trouble,” said Castillo. “I found an escape from a stereotype as a young man through my passion for arts; others should have that chance as well.”

Initiating New Leaders

Another year ahead for SGA President Kimberlee Smith

SHARI CHRYSS ALFRED

ST. THOMAS – Family and friends gathered at the Administration and Conference Center Friday evening for the 2013-2014 installation of the newly-elected members of the Student Government Association.

After gaining the vote of a vast majority of the student body, UVI senior Kimberlee Smith is back for her second year as SGA president. Smith and other members of the cabinet remained attentive throughout the ceremony, taking notes as various members of the administration expressed their expectations and offered words of advice.

“You have been identified as young professionals and young leaders of the student body and this institution,” said Leon Lafond, Student Activities supervisor, as he congratulated the students on their accomplishments.

Before instructing the students to raise their right hand and repeat the oath of office, UVI President Dr. David Hall reminded the students of the sacrifices that they should be prepared to make.

“Leadership is a sacrifice and this sacrifice will create a legacy for other students to come,” President Hall said.

While offering a few words of encouragement and guidance, keynote speaker Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone highlighted some of his accomplishments. He noted that he was involved in student government and other leadership positions from the young age of 14, and continued on to being a leader in college and the Virgin Islands government.

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**Photo credit Dale Morton
**Caption: Senate President Shawn Michael Malone addresses students at the UVI 2013 Student Government Association installation ceremony.

After the SGA elections took place in April, some students complained that Smith had not been as active as she promised during her campaign.

“Each candidate has a right to file for greviency. Though all the guidelines were followed, however, one student did file and that created a delay in the official results,” SGA Elections Chair Natasha Harrigan said.

Nevertheless, the members were eager and ready to begin the school year ahead.

“Being a full-time, A student, SGA president, a peer instructor and a full-time parent gets hard at times, but time management and prioritizing is the key,” Smith said. “Having an excellent relationship with my team and getting the committees up and running are the most important things to me at this moment.”

As the evening came to an end, Board of Trustees Representative Joshua Edwards faced his peers and said, “The challenges and opportunities we face are all stepping stones leading toward our future. Though your legs may crap at times, the view at the top is much greater than the pain felt.”

Malone ended his remarks with a quote by civil rights activist Malcolm X: “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

“If you didn’t like me when I was in high school realize what was going to happen a few years later, I would’ve given you what I would call a cheat sheet,” Malone said. “Maybe I wasn’t running for this exact reason but it helped with my readiness for the position I hold today. “

All students wishing to find out more or become an active member of the SGA should visit the Student Activities Office located on the upper campus adjacent to the North Dormitory or contact Leon Lafond at 340-693-1111.

2013-2014 Student Government Association

President-Kimberlee Smith

Vice President-Kareem Thomas

Treasurer –Kai Richardson

Appointed Secretary-Teniqua Rogers

Board of Trustees Representative- Joshua Edwards

Freshman Senators

Denikah Harrigan

Denaesha Phipps

Khalai Vanterpool

Sophomore Senators

Ralda Claxton Jr.

Khaleisha Dias

Junior Senator-Christel Brandy

Senior Senator- Andrene Johnson

Four Acres of Land Donated

ZENOBIA HOWE|

ST. JOHN – On Wednesday, Sept. 10 four acres of land were donated to University of the Virgin Islands on St John from compassionate locals with a flare for education.

The St John Academic Center held a reception in celebration of the generous donation from Marva Applewhite and Gloria Samuel, who are sisters and former teachers.

STJ_Land_Donation_Samuels

“Education has been the number one priority for our family,” Applewhite said.

Applewhite taught in New York before she came back home to the Virgin Islands and taught at Charlotte Amalie High School.

Samuel also taught at Charlotte Amalie as well as Ivanna Eudora Kean High School.

The sisters, in addition to the four acres, gave two acres of land to UVI back in 2002. All six acres are located in Estate Zootenvaal in Coral Bay and are valued at over $1.2 million.

“We decided to give back to the people of St John, the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean and the world,” Applewhite said. “I am very happy to donate the land and hope that it will be used to achieve goals that meet the needs of the institution.”

Applewhite and Samuel are the daughters of mason James Alfonso “Harry” Samuel, who built the original Cruz Bay Pier and the Benjamin Franklin School, now Guy Benjamin Elementary School.

“It was a generous token towards the advancement of education on St. John and I am eagerly awaiting its development,” said Dionne Wells, a relative of the sisters who came to show her support.

Linda Hill, who attended the donation ceremony, said, “I always admire people who give back to the community.”

Dionne Jackson, vice president of Institutional Advancement at UVI, said, “They wanted to be a part of UVI’s next 50 years of service to the Virgin Islands and St. John communities.”

UVI President Dr. David Hall noted, “Most people who make donations to the university are ‘folks of great wealth,’ Samuel and Applewhite are people of the soil. This is an example of sincere generosity and an investment to the people of St John. I am proud to be the president at this time.”

STJ_Land Donation

President Hall plans on building a Cultural Convention Center where visitors can come and learn about the rich history of the island. He also made sure to stress the importance of lobbying for funds as the project has been estimated to cost over $2 million.

This donation adds to the St. Croix campus, which is 130 acres and the St Thomas campus, which is 388 acres.

Excitement will be mounting until the unveiling of St John’s expansion. This land will not only broaden the UVI campus, but also allow students and visitors from everywhere to get familiar with Love City.

A look at the VICCC: preserving and restoring Caribbean Culture

ARIGE SHROUF |

ST. CROIX— The Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center (VICCC) began as a vision of UVI President, David Hall, and was officially launched at the International Islands in Between Conference (IIBC) last year on St. Thomas. The St. Croix launch, roundtable, and ribbon cutting, however took place on Jan. 30 at the University of the Virgin Islands’ Albert A. Sheen campus.

According to the VICCC Director, Chenzira Davis Kahina, the St. Croix launch was a “phenomenal success” with “probably” three times as many people in attendance as expected.

Continue reading A look at the VICCC: preserving and restoring Caribbean Culture