|UWI students give back to Grenada |
Monday, June 19 2017
“I BELIEVE that service should be one’s goal in life because it encourages selfless exchanges that help shape and sometimes change a person’s life for the better.” So said Keziah Calbio, one of 20 students attending the University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine Campus, who travelled to Grenada last month, to partake in the campus’ initial Alternative Break programme.
Modelled after the annual community service and student development trips, co-ordinated by North American universities during the popular “spring break period”, the Alternative Break concept was facilitated by Kathy-Ann Lewis and Shilohna Phillanders of the university’s Division of Student Services and Development (DSSD).
Speaking about the inspiration behind the programme, Lewis and Phillanders acknowledged the importance of facilitating student learning outside of the traditional classroom setting as well as the value of learning that incorporates community engagement.
Recognising the global status of the university, they also appreciated the idea of giving students an experience which would further develop them as global citizens through the development of soft skills such as networking, interpersonal communication skills, team building, leadership and cultural sensitivity.
Once on the island the students from different disciplines within the university, partnered with the Grenada Community Development Agency (GRENCODA) for a painting and landscaping project in the Rosehill community, which was recently identified as one of the more economically depressed communities on the island.
The UWI students also spent a day presenting skits and lectures for students of Grenada’s Mac Donald College on the topics of time management and the value of education, in a bid to further motivate their younger counterparts as well as encourage them to realise the potential of a well-rounded education.
Ensuring there was a balanced experience, participants also visited some of Grenada’s top attractions inclusive of Grand Anse Beach, Grand Etang Lake, Lake Antoine and Leapers Hill. In addition to discovering the island, participants were also given the opportunity to discover themselves in a daily team building and self-reflection exercise.
Reflecting on her time spent in Grenada, Krystal Teemul admitted: “My initial expectations were nothing in comparison to what I experienced.” Summarising the impact of the experience she said: “Not only was it an opportunity to travel and explore a different culture but I was able to learn skills that are necessary to me reaching my full potential as a productive individual in society.” Moving forward, Lewis and Phillanders expressed their desire to have the programme include students of the university’s Mona and Cave Hill campuses, to foster greater regional co-operation.
They also expressed hope that similar programmes would become much more available in TT to help students become more well-rounded individuals and realise, that their impact does not just make a difference in their immediate space but that it also transcends boundaries.