At its meeting Saturday on St. Croix, the University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees approved the university’s fiscal year 2020 budget of $47.1 million. The board also set its annual fundraising goal at $3 million and the Alumni Giving rate at 20 percent.
Chairman Henry Smock welcomed three new members to the board of trustees. Trustee Nisha Clavier will serve as the alumni representative; Trustee Adam Parr will be the faculty representative; and Trustee Raven Phillips will be the student representative.
UVI President David Hall reported that 21 UVI students participated in research this summer at institutions or companies across the nation. Hall said that, through programs like these, students can go away and stay at home.
“It is an outstanding opportunity for our students especially those in science and math to get their foundation here – use their summers working in labs doing research with cutting-edge faculty members in some very outstanding environments.” Places students conducted research included: Yale University, Boston University School of Medicine, University of Tennessee, University of Minnesota, Center for Aquatic Chemistry and Environment, Texas A&M University and Norfolk State University.
Also, 13 students traveled to the Washington Center in D.C. from May to August. These students engaged in experimental learning, professional development and interned at several agencies.
Through the support of the Foundation for the University of the Virgin Islands and various UVI Research and Technology Park companies, Hall said, the university established what they are calling its first “Innovation Fund” in the amount of $1 million. The fund’s investment grant is intended to support approaches to new or existing interventions that advance the innovative spirit of the university while generating revenue or saving money, according to a statement from UVI.
Some of the winning projects were:
– STEM Education Opportunities in the Tourism Sector at the Etelman Observatory: A $99,000 project that will, according to the university, transform the observatory’s astronomy viewings into a fully educational tour for visitors and residents. They expect the project to produce about $250,000 in net annual revenues in two years.
– Developing a Regional Mariculture Facility for the United States and the Caribbean at UVI: A $100,000 project that will use advanced research and the pristine marine environment to increase economic and ecological resiliency to produce Lion Paw Scallops adaptable to the region. The project hopes to produce about $1 million in net annual revenue in five years.
– Creativity and Innovation Lab: A $100,000 project that will train UVI faculty, staff and students in the principles and practice of creative thinking and make available the services of the lab to businesses and agencies for a fee. The project is hoped to generate about $260,000 in gross revenues in two years.
While in executive session, the board heard a presentation from Bamboo LLC, approved the June 22 executive session minutes, approved candidates for honorary doctoral degrees, ratified actions taken by the Executive Committee regarding presidential goals, approved a matter concerning property on the university campus, had a discussion with the president regarding personnel issues, received an update on legal matters from legal counsel and approved an amendment regarding V.I. Housing Finance.
The next scheduled meeting of the board of trustees will be March 7.