USM SURE Forum Inspires Scholars
By: Katrich Walker
Mandeville, Jamaica – The United Student Movement (USM) in collaboration with Caribbean Maritime University Student Union (CMUSU) presented its first monthly virtual forum, Wednesday, November 3, 2020, geared towards assisting students in activating their best selves.
The Student Upliftment Through Robust Engagement (SURE) kicked off its first online forum under the theme, ‘Mastering Youth Involvement While Maintaining Academic Achievement’, hosted by USM’s VP of Academic Administration, Marleen Campbell and CMUSU Vice President of Academics, Nahjae Nunes.
The eventful and interactive session hosted a vibrant, young audience of scholars as well as two inspirational and energetic speakers, Chevening Scholar 2020-2021, Paris-Michell Barrett-Powell and Acting Deputy Chair at the Youth Advisory Council of Jamaica (YACJ), Anabelle Jones.
Discussions involved ‘benefits of being a student leader’ and ‘how to maintain good academic performance while in a leadership position.’
Speakers including Anabelle Jones gave insights on how to be actively involved in leadership programs as well as the relevance of the involvement. She started off with a quote from Ghanaian education activist, Edem Agbana:
“Young people must have their voices heard at all times. We cannot be passive participants in the conversations about our future. We must get active and create the future the way we want it.”
Jones shared the importance of youths engaging in leadership activities in Jamaica as they make up more than a quarter of the country, and will have a strong impact on its development.
“As students, you want to ensure that your G.P.A. remains high while your participation remains high. You don’t want to be compromising one for the other,” Jones commented.
Barrett-Powell also touched on those tips as well as providing the perks of being a student leader, selling the idea extremely well. She spoke about the value of youth involvement as excelling in academics, rethinking and manifesting what it means to be a student, as well as gave lessons shared by other youth leaders and some avenues that one can look to for leadership roles.
“There has to be a conscious interest in the balancing of both academics and being involved in advocacy and activism around youth, societal issues and development. We’re at a very critical time in our lives in the world, Coronavirus and the US elections, amongst other topics, so there isn’t a better time for young people to get involved in youth development,” shared Powell.
The host of the forum, NCUUSM Vice President of Academics, Marleen Campbell says the SURE forum will be held every month during the first week. The next episode is slated for December, with new hosts and similar excitements such as phone card giveaways, and question and answer sections.