NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The University of The Bahamas (UB) has established a special emergency fund to assist students struggling to continue virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
UB noted the crisis has caused additional challenges for some of the approximately 5,000 students who attend the institution, many of whom are scholarship recipients.
In a statement, the university noted students who resided in the University’s residential facilities were advised to return home, leaving some to grapple with the challenge of insufficient access to technology and devices needed to continue their classes remotely.
“The #UBCOVID-19ReliefFund is for the benefit of students, faculty and staff impacted by the pandemic,” the statement read.
“Contributions to this fund will be made available to those in need with a special focus on Family Island students who, as a result of the disaster have had to return to home.”
UB President Dr Rodney D. Smith invited support from donors in order to help UB students meet their academic goals.
“We have learned many lessons as a result of the pandemic,” Smith said.
“We have learned that some of our students do not have access to technology, which has become yet another “essential” in today’s world.”
Smith said: “For many, attending and graduating from University of The Bahamas represents an opportunity, a new beginning, a means to change their lives and the lives of their families. Education represents the way to escape poverty. A way to change the past. We are obligated, therefore, to do whatever we can to ensure the success of all of our students.”
COVID-19 has compounded previous challenges, the statement continued.
Grand Bahama native, Student Government Association President Alexis Lightbourne underscored the need to support UB students.
“Since the pandemic, we’ve come to realize the vital role technology plays and the impact it has on the learning process,” Lightbourne said.
“Supporting our faculty, students and especially Family Islanders by equipping them with the tools they need for online classes is vital. As SGA President, I am deeply appreciative of the support of alumni and friends of UB.”
To date, approximately 4,600 students, 210 faculty and 438 staff are working remotely. Many are in need of technology equipment to efficiently deliver class content and fulfill daily work demands.
In addition to the #UBCOVID-19ReliefFund, the UB CARES pantry provides students in need with basic hygiene and food items. Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Dino Hernandez lauds UB alumni, friends and corporate Bahamas for their continued generosity in times of great trial to serve the student population.
“Former U.S. President Barack Obama once stated that, ‘the best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something,” said Hernandez.
“If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.’ As partners of this great institution, your gift of any amount makes a difference in the day-to-day lives of our students. Whether providing cans of food for our student pantry, making an outright gift or donating a used laptop, it does make a difference and fills our students with hope.”
Information on contributions to the emergency relief fund or other charitable giving is available at www.ub.edu.bs/covid-19.