March 17, 2015
President of Student Guild outlines plans for first 30 days in office

Tue, Mar 17, 2015

Within the first 30 days of taking up the presidency of the Guild of Students at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus, Dalano DaSouza is hoping to achieve a number of things.

The 25-year old Vincentian was recently elected president of the Guild and will officially take up his post on April 1.{{more}}

“I’m happy that I’m being given the opportunity to serve the students at the highest level,” DaSouza, who is pursuing a Master of Philosophy degree in economic development policy with a focus on the Education Revolution in SVG and its socio-economic impacts, told SEARCHLIGHT last weekend.

“I’m elated to have won the elections. Myself and the campaign team; we put a lot of effort into the campaign and we have a clear path for the progress of the students and for the amelioration of the issues that are currently confronting the students.”

DaSouza competed among three Barbadians, a Jamaican and a Trinidadian for the position. The outgoing Vincentian Students’ Association (VINSA) president told SEARCHLIGHT that a considerable amount of effort and investment was channelled into his campaign, because he realized that students seemed to be losing interest in the Guild.

“The response was favourable. I think primarily what caught the eyes of the electorate was my qualifications at first, because everybody else who was contesting were undergraduate students. I was lucky enough thus far to have a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s Degree and currently pursuing what I hope would be a PhD in the end,” he said.

As president, some of the things he hopes to tackle are bursaries for students, an upgrade of the campus shuttle system and the recent introduction of a student GPA scheme.

Following the advice of his favourite quote, “Dream Big, Work Furiously,” DaSouza told SEARCHLIGHT that in his first 30 days in office, he wants to achieve “certain things.”

“One of the first things that I’m going to implement is a bursary scheme, a bursary fund. So, we’re going to give out about 20 bursaries in September in the beginning of the first semester and the beginning of the second semester; $10, 000 each semester, so $20,000 of our budget this year is going to go directly back to the students in bursaries. I’m actually planning to release the application forms the week that I take office,” he said.

“The university is cash strapped right now, but I want to work with them in relation to seeing how we can make the bus system better and working more for the students. The campus recently introduced a GPA scheme, which has, for the most part, been going along smoothly, but there are some niggling issues that I want to tackle and I want to make sure that it is continued to be implemented for the benefit of the students and not to their detriment.”

The Manchester City football fan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management and a Master’s degree in Banking and Finance. He hopes to use his qualifications to improve the efficiency of the student guild.

“We want to cut costs and I think my background allows me to do just that. I want to make sure our events are properly planned and executed and that we do it efficiently, so we save resources that we can direct elsewhere. You can get your UWI degree at any of the campuses and we want your choice to be Cave Hill because of the added value that the Guild brings to the campus,” he said.

Once he is finished with his postgraduate studies, DaSouza hopes to serve his country either in the Ministry of Finance or at Central Planning, before pursuing a career with organizations like the United Nations or the Caribbean Development Bank.

“I’m really focused now on my development in terms of my education, but I do definitely want to contribute in a meaningful manner to the development of St Vincent and the Grenadines, especially in respect to economic development and rural development. I just hope that the presence of the Vincentian students continues at the university and that we continue to realize the importance of tertiary education for the development of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” the ambitious young man said.

Senator Luke Browne was the last Vincentian to hold post as president of the Guild of Students of the UWI, Cave Hill.(BK)