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Story Highlights

  • UTech students have given more than one million hours of service to the nation.
  • Initiated by the Students’ Union in 1950 to raise funds for needy institutions, Tag Drive has continued uninterrupted since that time.
  • Department of Community Service and Development to quantify what those hours of service mean for social development.

Students of the University of Technology (UTech) have given more than one million hours of service to the nation through community programmes over the past 20 years, and have donated millions of dollars to selected needy institutions.

This year, the students have again committed to the decades-old tradition of assisting various national charity organizations through the staging of the annual fund-raising project – Tag Drive.

Initiated by the Students’ Union in 1950 to raise funds for needy institutions, Tag Drive has continued uninterrupted since that time. The target this year is $3 million.

Underscoring the university’s commitment to service, President of UTech, Professor Errol Morrison, cited the man-hours given to the projects.

“Calculated roughly, 2,000 new students a year (giving) 40 hours, that’s already 80,000 hours per year for 20 years. You’re talking about 1.6 million hours of service that our student body, in particular, has been contributing to society and its development.  It is humungous,” he said.

Speaking to students, faculty members and sponsors at the recent launch of the 53-year-old Tag Drive at the Papine campus, Professor Morrison noted that the work of the Students’ Union over the years has impacted the society.

He outlined the genesis of the service ethos of the university over the years, informing that for more than 20 years, first year students have been required to give 40 hours of community service, following completion of which they are awarded an academic credit.

Professor Morrison said he has challenged the Department of Community Service and Development to begin to quantify what those hours of service mean for social development in Jamaica.

He said that the experiences garnered by the students in community projects will prepare them for social and civic responsibilities.

“This kind of training that you are undergoing in your student body, where you have developed this society consciousness, is an important beginning for many of you who are going into the world. I really feel proud to be associated with your Tag Drive,” the President said.

Meanwhile, commendations have come from other sections of the university’s administration for the dynamism and vision displayed by the students in the programme.

“This effort indeed is a noble one and the university’s administration sincerely hopes that the venture in 2013 will be the most successful, and as a result the Students’ Union will receive more than enough funds to give to as many organizations as it desires this year. Congratulations on your tenacity and drive to continue this proud tradition,” Students’ Relations Officer, Mrs. Denise Brown Bell, said.

UTech’s Director of Community Service and Development, Seymour Riley, is also elated that the students have maintained the strong tradition of the university, and expressed  the hope that the students will continue with the spirit of volunteerism as they go out into the wider world.

For his part, Director of Community Service in the Students’ Union, Jerome Graham, is seized with the group’s mission of making an impact on Jamaica.

“We at UTech Students’ Union are trying to make a national mark, when it comes to giving back to the nation, and building our nation. That is why we see it fit to channel our resources and our hearts to organizations that are in dire need,” he said.

Tag Drive, which runs from November 10 to 16 will involve 3,000 students from the Papine and Montego Bay campuses. The activities include Toll Day, Tag Fashion and Dutch Auction, Car Wash and Jerk Day, Corporate (Area) Drive, and Rural Drive.

Among the institutions that will benefit are the Salvation Army School for the Blind and the Jamaican Association on Intellectual Disabilities (JAID).

Tag Drive is sponsored by the Jamaica Information Service, Wray and Nephew, Reggae Jammin, Supreme Ventures, Pepsi, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Zip 103FM and Crown Packaging.