December 2017

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When the UWI TODAY paper migrated from the Office of the Campus Principal to the Marketing and Communications Office in 2008, it became even more focused on reaching an external audience. The hope was that since it was circulated monthly within the pages of the Sunday Guardian and available online (, it was naturally reaching that market anyway and it was a good opportunity to let the public know more about the work being done at the University, and the people behind it.

Anna Walcott-Hardy edited the first four issues published in 2008, kicking off with an interview with Professor Dan Ramdath, who warned that we are getting fatter as a nation, and reminded us that “Healthy eating is defined as eating small amounts of a variety of foods.” Still relevant today.

I remember seeing those first issues and being really impressed by the high quality of the production, design and the writing. It was a publication that stood out. Later that year, when I saw an advertisement for the position of editor, I was surprised, but interested – so I applied.

Nearly ten years later, here I am, producing this, the 100th issue of the paper, and reflecting on the times it has seen as it draws close to its tenth anniversary.

The paper has served pretty much as the biographer of the St. Augustine campus, as it records almost everything of note that takes place, and the major work going on by both staff and students. Its archives are really the best place to find accounts of the last decade of St. Augustine life. As the covers featured will show, the range has been diverse.

We’ve featured the remarkable biodiversity of the region, and highlighted the work of our three premier sites exploring it: the Cocoa Research Centre (custodian of the world renowned International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad (ICG,T), the National Herbarium, a regional repository of botanical life, and the Zoology Museum, with thousands of specimens. We’ve looked at arts, science, and sport and shared fascinating stories of journeys of discovery.

But we have also struggled to raise public consciousness of the real life throbbing away inside the heartland of the campus. So, as we mark the 100th issue, we are working on ways to make the paper more accessible – to change its format somewhat so that you are more likely to bump into it as you go about your business.

We know that the majority of communications is channeled across various online and social media platforms, so the plan is to bolster our presence online. We want to move towards something that is more interactive and dynamic, updating content as often as we can, and enabling more interface with our readers.

The Director of Marketing and Communications at the St. Augustine Campus, Dr. Dawn-Marie De Four-Gill, has said that as the paper reaches the milestone of ten years in 2018, she is very keen for the paper to be recalibrated to meet contemporary demands.

Of course, even as we reconstruct the way we present the paper, we will still do our best to ferret out the remarkable explorations going on at the St. Augustine campus (and that is no simple task because most researchers don’t like to talk about their work!) and to bring you the same high quality writing, production and design that caught my eye ten years ago.

Along the way, we have been assisted by Joel Henry, Maria Rivas-McMillan and Rebecca Robinson, who acted as editor during my various periods of leave. Shayam Karim has been a consistent feature over the 100 issues as he designed them all and he has been largely responsible for giving UWI TODAY its distinctive look – one that is unmatched in any regional publication of this nature. Staff at the Marketing and Communications Office have been helpful in many ways and of course, we could not have done it without the generous support of staff and students who have shared their work and their stories unstintingly. And, of course Imraan Nasir who puts us online every month. Thanks to everyone.

(Vaneisa Baksh)