News Releases

UWI Open Campus Mobilises Hurricane Relief for Hard-Hit Sites- Dominica, Tortola (BVI) and Anguilla

For Release Upon Receipt - October 11, 2017


Recovery and disaster relief efforts are well underway at the University of the West Indies Open Campus Country Sites in Dominica, Anguilla and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Site in Dominica was the hardest-hit with 90% of the physical facility severely damaged and a near total loss of equipment.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Open Campus, Dr. Luz Longsworth joined the work teams in Dominica over the weekend to support the clean-up and rebuilding efforts, and to provide moral support to the staff and students who have been dislocated.

“We are thankful that there was no loss of life among our staff and students, but the needs are great and we are prioritizing and channeling our efforts into delivering support to where it is needed most”, said PVC Longsworth.

“Understandably, many of our students will have to defer their education, and we have teams on spot here in Dominica, Tortola and Anguilla to provide advice to our students on the way forward”, added Dr. Longsworth.

Although physical damage to the sites in Anguilla and the BVI has been minimal, normal operations will not resume until electricity and Internet access are restored to these countries and Dominica.

Dr. Longsworth pointed out that an Open Campus Relief Fund has been set up to raise funds to aid the recovery efforts in the three countries, as part of the UWI’s ‘Our Neighbour’s Keeper’ Response to the disaster in collaboration with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the CARICOM Heads of Government.

In making an appeal for support of the relief efforts, the Open Campus Principal commended the Heads and staff in the affected countries, and Dr. Cheryl McDonald-Sloley, the Coordinator of the Open Campus' Hurricane Relief Committee for going above and beyond to secure the welfare of their students and the physical facilities of the Open Campus Sites.

Dr. Longsworth also acknowledged the efforts of Canadian businessman and site design consultant, Nick St. Georges, who initiated a Canadian GoFundMe account and arranged for the purchase and shipping of relief supplies to affected staff and students.

“As one region and One UWI we have joined hands and hearts to assist and respond rapidly to the growing humanitarian crisis in all our affected countries. For the Open Campus each one of these countries is home to us and to our students so we are trying to restore our homes, better and stronger than before. I appeal to you to assist our students and our staff, and by extension all the people of the affected countries through your generous donations. We may be down but we are NOT out. We will rebuild stronger!”, said PVC Longsworth.


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About the UWI Open Campus

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus is one of the four campuses of The UWI committed to opening doors to life-changing learning wherever you are, in keeping with the vision to be globally recognised as a regionally integrated, innovative, internationally competitive university, deeply rooted in all aspects of Caribbean development and committed to serving the diverse people of the region and beyond.


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in BarbadosJamaicaTrinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)