Alumni, benefactors, friends and well-wishers of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, will gather at month-end for an historic ceremony intended to give impetus to new financing mechanisms to support the academy.
Geared towards engendering a greater spirit of philanthropy across the region and global awareness of the need to strengthen the UWI’s operational finances, the ceremony will yield a central message of the need to revolutionize the funding structures of the regional campus as it is weaned off an over-reliance on state financing.
The ceremony will also facilitate the UWI, Cave Hill Campus’ roll-out of a planned UWI Global Giving Week, scheduled for August 1 to 7. This international event, which coincides with annual Caribbean celebrations of West Indian emancipation from slavery, will be held under the theme Emancipate, Educate, Donate.
The innovative fundraising initiative was launched at UWI, Mona, on April 8 and rolled out at St Augustine Campus on April 29.
May 27 is the scheduled roll-out date for Cave Hill when UWI executives are expected to further sensitize the public to the financial plight of the institution.
Initiated by the Office of the Vice Chancellor, through its Institutional Advancement Division, the UWI Global Giving Week will mark the beginning of an annual tradition to connect with friends and cultivate support to strengthen the UWI’s capacity to drive regional development. The university has traditionally relied on regional governments for financial support; this campaign targets alumni, public and private sector organizations, donor agencies and members of the public with an objective of bringing them closer to the university.
Proceeds of the campaign will go towards research, facilities and equipment, construction and maintenance of residence halls, as well as faculty and sport programmes.
Since assuming office in May, 2015, principal of the UWI Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau, has been lobbying for infrastructural renewal of the physical plant at the Barbadian-based campus, especially the Faculty of Science and Technology, which she sees as a critical campus requirement. Barriteau has noted the plant is aging and not befitting of a modern academy aiming to attract students and fulfil its mission of bolstering economic development.
She has been urging benefactors who cannot make substantial sums towards capital development to consider contributing towards the provision of scholarships for students, especially in the wake of recently imposed tuition payments for Barbadians which has caused student enrolment at Cave Hill to decline sharply.
The UWI Global Giving Week campaign is endorsed by global patron UWI Chancellor Sir George Alleyne and other regional patrons, including Antigua’s Governor General Dr Sir Rodney Williams, The Bahamas’ former governor general Dame Ivy Dumont, former Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados, Belize’s Governor General Sir Colville Young, Jamaica’s former prime minister P.J. Patterson, St Lucia’s Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy and Trinidad and Tobago’s President Anthony Carmona.
At the launch in Jamaica, the UWI’s vice chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said: “As we approach yet another Emancipation Day in the region, the UWI is calling upon you, its community of graduates and supporters, to please give generously. Your support will strengthen and expand the emancipation mission we all imagine for our youth. As you donate we will collectively educate and emancipate.
“Your contribution will give life and offer hope to those deserving an opportunity to fulfil their potential.”
Demonstrating the kind of giving in action the campaign aims to achieve, in March, alumnus Professor Sir Woodville Marshall presented a cheque of nearly BDS$10,000 on behalf of a group of alumni who had attended University College of the West Indies (UCWI), the precursor to the University of the West Indies.
According to Professor Marshall, who is a former pro-vice-chancellor of the UWI, the donors were motivated by the keen sense of regional awareness and camaraderie which they had developed during the years they attended the UCWI, located at what is now the UWI Mona Campus.
He stated: “We know that there was a UWI project to encourage greater student mobility and interaction across the campuses and this harmonized with our own experience of attending the University College.”
In accepting the donation, vice chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles commented: “The depth of love and loyalty, added to the breadth of care and concern, coming from our founding academics and administrators of the UWI seem to have no obvious boundaries. It is remarkable that after more than 60 years these stalwarts continue to empower the university they created as an indispensable regional enterprise.”