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Revitalising The St Lucia Chapter Of The UWI Alumni Association

 Revitalising The St Lucia Chapter Of The UWI Alumni Association

by

(Lesley Crane –Mitchell Outreach Officer for the Open Campus, St Lucia and proud UWI Alumnus)

 

For decades, graduation from the UWI marked the entry of a great many St Lucians into the world of Alumni.  Unfortunately, all too often, the sense of community and pride experienced as a student at UWI wanes upon returning home.  For so many well meaning Alumni life gets in the way. The seemingly never ending demands of work, home, children and spouses, all vying for our time and attention too often make us forget that, while we may have returned home, we remain a valuable part of the UWI family – that we are able to provide knowledge, influence, a skills base, and financial contributions and investments to our Alma Mater via our time, ideas and energy in critical areas.

 

Within recent times, the St Lucia Chapter of the UWI Alumni Association has become dormant. The once vibrant and influential former Guild of Graduates that debated pertinent social and political issues, provided “lessons” to Secondary School youth and raised funds to support the outreach activities of the UWI is currently fighting for its life.  While Associations in many of our sister territories thrive, so few of us participate in local Alumni activities that, to our shame, we are at present not even able to fill the posts within the Association.  Like so many others, I too have been guilty of shirking my responsibility to give back to an institution that has given me so much.

 

To quote Mrs Celia Davidson-Francis, UWI Director of Alumni Relations:

 

"I believe I can speak on behalf of all alumni of this University - and there are now more than 95,000 living all over the world – when I say how personally proud I am of The University of the West Indies and everything it has given me: a great education, cherished friendships and exceptional opportunities in my professional and community activities”

As a graduate of both the Cavehill and Mona Campuses myself, I remember my UWI experience (warts and all) fondly: island nights spent sampling the culture, cuisine and rhythms of our sister islands and sharing (showing off really)our own uniquely St Lucian culture.  I have never peeled so many green figs in my life, either before or since, in an effort to feed hundreds of students eager to sample our local delicacy – greenfig and saltfish.

I remember those inter-island football matches and the spicy St Lucian “mépwi” we shouted out from the sidelines. I remember our collective efforts at putting on cultural evenings to showcase our uniquely St Lucian traditions.  I remember that infamous Ms UWI competition which all but turned into a Ms St Lucia show when our own Deirdre Charles – who was supposed to be representing the Faculty of Arts - blew away the competition, sending St Lucians on campus into a nationalistic frenzy. I remember always being broke.  And I remember my Lecturers – all learned, a few wonderfully eccentric and always an assignment looming.  It was all good.

While I admit to not being quite as young as I used to be, these cherished memories are not born out of a misplaced sense of nostalgia.  My UWI experience was great and I know that my peers - most of whom now hold responsible, influential and lucrative positions in our society - would wholeheartedly agree with me. 

Above all else the UWI is ours! Forged by us, for us.  No greater example of the UWI’s ongoing efforts at responding to our needs can be found than in the establishment of the UWI, Open Campus with its selection of mixed, blended and online learning modalities.

Join in as we take the first steps towards revitalizing our St Lucian Chapter of the UWI Alumni Association.  Partner with us in the recently launched ‘Each One , Reach One Campaign’.   Reconnect to your extended UWI family by registering @ http://alumnionline.uwi.edu.  E-mail us your ideas, thoughts and old photos @: uwiaastluciachapter@gmail.com .

St Lucians have always been a force to be reckoned with on all UWI campuses.  Let us continue this tradition here at home and forge a local UWI Alumni Association second to none. 

 

One UWI, One Alumni Family