UWI alumni/student platform can now ‘Connect’ on new app
Members of The University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus community—past and present—now have access to a new communications tool developed to facilitate networking, information sharing, and a stronger sense of university identity. UWI Connect, a website and app alumni platform, was officially launched at a virtual ceremony on March 8.
“The goal of this platform,” said Ms Carol Ayoung, Acting Director of The UWI St Augustine’s Office of Institutional Advancement and Internationalisation (OIAI), “is to engage our alumni, students, colleagues, family and friends, and to give them a space to gather online while providing interesting information to the largest constituent group at The UWI.”
UWI Connect, an initiative of OIAI’s Fundraising and Alumni Affairs Unit, allows users to create customised personal and corporate profiles, reconnect with friends and colleagues, network with thousands of students and graduates, share opportunities for internships and jobs, and stay informed about events and activities taking place at the St Augustine Campus.
The website and app was developed by a cross-functional campus project team, comprising representatives from the UWI Development and Endowment Fund, the Office of the Campus Principal, Campus Legal, Campus IT Services, the Division of Student Services and Development and the Marketing and Communications Office.
Speaking at the virtual launch, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal Professor Brian Copeland tied UWI Connect to the university’s objective of technological advancement, saying “digital transformation has long been a goal of The UWI”.
Through this new alumni platform, he told those in attendance, “we can successfully and seamlessly bring our alumni together in a space that helps its users to remember their roots and allows them to leverage their immense experience and expertise that reside in their fellow alumni while networking with connections old and new, to mutual benefit.”
UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, described the new app and website as a “portal to prosperity” and emphasised the importance of alumni to the university and all institutions of higher education.
“A fine university is one in which its alumni stand solidly behind it,” said Sir Hilary.
Mrs Elizabeth Buchanan-Hind, Executive Director of The UWI Institutional Advancement Division (IAD), spoke on the data protection policy for UWI Connect. Saying, “The university is committed to maintaining confidence and trust with respect to our alums’ privacy.”
The UWI, she said, would follow specific principles in their approach: “we will be transparent about what data we are collecting, the source of that data, and how we use the information we are privileged to have in our possession.”
Giving the student/alumni perspective, UWI St Augustine Guild of Students Council President Mr Warren Anderson focused on how the platform enhanced their ability to network and find opportunities.
“UWI Connect offers you a way to seek advice, seek mentorship — even offer mentorship.
Most of all, it allows us to align our personnel vision, mission and goals with people like us,” he said.
Speaking from both personal and experience and in his capacity as President of the UWI Alumni Association Trinidad and Tobago Chapter (UWIAATT) Mr Jerry Medford viewed UWI Connect as an evolutionary step in communication between past students and the institution.
“Over the years of my involvement with UWIAATT, it has not been uncommon to hear complaints from UWI alumni about the lack of connectivity and feedback from their alma mater,” said Mr Medford. “Today, though we are scattered throughout the diaspora and beyond, 117 of us are in constant daily communication and exchanges since 2016 via existing media platforms (and that is not Facebook).”
He added, “I fully understand and can identify with the change in networking and versatility that the launch of an app such as UWI Connect can bring to bear on the alumni fraternity.”
Information on UWI Connect is available online at uwiconnect.com and the app can be downloaded at both the Apple Store and Google Play Store.