By Christopher Tobutt
The University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) is bringing back sport as a regular campus-based extra curricula activity, because there is nothing better to refresh the mind, after long periods of study, than some vigorous physical exercise. So now the campus is inviting the students to sign up for a weekly game of basketball, netball, or volleyball in the Sir Vassel Johnson Hall.
It’s a development which has really come about because of requests from the students: “Our student representative Council has taken the lead in bringing that new vision to light, which is a holistic co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunity for students to grow as leaders and make life-long friendships; so we are really excited,” said UCCI President, Dr. Stacy McAfee. “Part of what we are building here is a rich student life, both in the classroom and outside, we realise that learning happens; and we are actively creating a variety of experiences for our students to engage in. When I first came here as President, there were a lot of young men who were saying, ‘Madam President, is there any way that we can get sports back at UCCI?’ and so I said, ‘Well, let’s figure out how we can do that. You guys send me a plan.’ Within a day I had a plan from one of those young men and so we turned it over to our student leaders to figure out how we could do this well.
One of those student leaders, Phillip Bartholomew, President of the Student Representative Council of the UCCI said: “This sports exhibition is basically to bring Campus life to the UCCI, for getting students more engaged in fitness and wellness,” he explained. Volleyball, football and basketball were the main sports being shown off during the session, although there is the possibility of others being added later, too, and the students were signing up for the sport of their choice at the doorway, during the session. Some knew exactly what they wanted; others who might not have had much exposure to sports at school, sat and watched and ate a complimentary slice of pizza, watched, and then made their mind up. Then they will then have the chance to take part in the sport of their choice once a week, as the inter-campus leagues kick off.
Present at the sports demonstration were UCCI Board Chair, Mr. Mark Scotland, as well as Deputy Chief Officer of the Ministry of Education Sports Agriculture and Lands, Joel Francis, and the UCCI’s new Associate Director for Student Life, William Doran.
“Sports is an important part of student life. It’s good to play games together, and then come together afterwards as teammates,” Mr. Scotland said. Mr. Francis said that the new sports programme was a part of the overall improvement plans for the UCCI: “Sport is a key component of a young person’s development and it’s a natural progression I think, for the University to want to operate sports within its programming. We expect that natural benefits that flow from participation in sports will accrue to those students who participate.