July 2018

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It’s not every day you get a chance to go to Russia. But this came true for UWI student Reynaldo Christie, whose activism in helping to organize campus sports got him selected as a sports ambassador to participate in this year’s FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy in the city of Kazan, the Sports Capital of Russia, from June 11-24. He was one of several representatives from the Tertiary Sport Association of T&T to represent this country at the event in Kazan, where 96 countries were expected to be represented.

FISU stands for Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (International University Sports Federation). It is an organization which formed in 1949, but its origin goes back to the 1920s when Frenchman Jean Petitjean organised the first World Student Games in Paris in May 1923. FISU organizes both a summer and a winter Universiade, which are large international sporting and cultural festivals held every two years in a different city.

Reynaldo Christie is delighted at the opportunity to participate in the 2018 FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy, which aims to develop skills and exposure for student sports ambassadors, and to promote the value of sports and a healthy lifestyle. It is the second such Academy to take place, and all participants are 18-27-year-old university students with experience in volunteering and organizing sports in their universities.

Reynaldo Christie’s passions are diverse: he loves animals and plants, which is why he is pursuing an undergraduate double major degree in Agriculture and Tropical Landscaping at UWI. He is now in year three of that degree. From the age of 13, he was also a huge fan of boxing and mixed martial arts, and he won a gold medal in January 2014 as the Youth Welterweight Boxing Champion at that sport’s National Championship event. When he was in high school, he even won King of Calypso two years in a row at the Trillium International School Calypso Contest.

Since coming to UWI, he has worked hard to earn the Head of Department prize (2015/2016) for best performance in Tropical Landscaping (Level 1). And although he gave martial arts a rest to focus on his studies, he found himself involved in organizing sports events on campus in his role as Games Committee Chairman for UWI’s Guild of Students during 2017/2018. In that role, he liaised between the Student Guild and the University Sports Department, and coordinated all campus games and sporting activities. It gave him invaluable experience in a wide variety of practical matters: from organising logistics for sports events to marketing, budgets, sourcing sports sponsorship, and liaising with vendors, students, and administrators.

Christie says he is especially interested in issues of accountability in sports funding, as well as in generating more enthusiasm for sports and general fitness activities among university students. He’s also keen on helping to develop better systems and programmes for sports training.

So what is Christie’s personal motto? That’s simple: he says: “Be the change you want to see.”

(Shereen Ann Ali)