MIAMI – The 37th annual Conference of the Florida Caribbean Students Association (FCSA) will begin on Friday, April 1 at the University of Florida in Gainesville, with more than 600 Caribbean students from tertiary institutions across Florida in attendance.
Under the theme ‘Inform, Inspire and Impact: Enhancing the Beauty of the Caribbean’, the three-day event will focus on sustainability of the Caribbean environment and will provide an opportunity for the students to network and interact with alumni and professional groups, as well as raise awareness about local and regional issues, particularly as it relates to the student bodies and activities.
They will convene at professional development group sessions, workshops, celebrations, exchanges, and recreational activities.
Conference Chair, Ms. Karla Clarke, graduating senior at the University of Florida, has stressed that this year, participants are eager to begin discussions on environmental concerns across the Caribbean and in the United States, with an emphasis on how they can help to make changes.
The students will also join in discussions with invited officials of the Caribbean Consular Corp in Florida, community leaders, and the various Caribbean Diaspora groups, to share knowledge about areas of topical interests, while providing updated information about the region.
According to Jamaican Diaspora Board advisory representative to the United States, Attorney-at-Law, Marlon Hill, the 2011 conference will also explore ways in which the students of the burgeoning Caribbean community in Florida can maintain the integrity of their cultural identity and stay connected with the region.
The forum will also provide tools and resources to allow students to find meaningful ways to get involved in issues and projects in the Caribbean, giving them a vehicle stay connected with their homeland, while pursuing their education. The areas of involvement include professional bodies, and charitable and volunteer groups.
In an effort to broaden the activities and scope of the FCSA, the organizing body has also invited students of neighbouring states to incorporate the activities of other Caribbean student bodies. Last year, the invitation was extended to students of tertiary institutions in the state of Georgia.
With a membership of nearly 3,600 students, the FCSA is the leading Caribbean student body encompassing some 28 Caribbean member organisations representing universities throughout the state of Florida.
By CHERYL WYNTER