The University of the West Indies, St Augustine (UWI) held its annual First Year Experience orientation programme yesterday at the university's Sports and Physical Education Centre.
The programme was geared towards incoming first-year students and gave them an opportunity to get information on the school, the deans and various faculties.
The theme of the programme was Dare To Be.
Campus principal Prof Brian Copeland, who went by his stage DJ name Party Heat Incorporated, challenged the students to rise to their fullest potential.
He said, "I dare you to let your voice be heard. I dare you to want more for your family, your country, your region and yourself."
He told the students the university held great promise for them if they rose to the challenge.
"This is not high school. This is not the place where you sit inside your knowledge comfort zone and don't even bother to pelt a brick against the boundaries of current knowledge. Here, you'll get to engage your lecturers."
The programme featured a panel discussion with Lion's Den Seafood founder Riesa Sumair, founder of Annex Group Ajala Pilgrim, founder of InSeason Tours Afiya Francis and co-founder of Allegori Innovations Ltd Kheston Walkins, all of whom are UWI alumni.
Sumair dared the students to be unconventional. She said UWI is a great place not only to build a career but to build oneself as a holistic person.
Francis dared the students to be responsible for themselves and their experiences on campus.
"Manage your time wisely. Have your ears to the ground and build your brand. Talk to people, share your story."
She told the students to be confident at all times.
"Sometimes you have to fake it till you make it. But you have to form bonds and increase your cultural intelligence. Get to know each other, 'cause you'll need to help each other.
"UWI has produced so many members of public office, so we really have to connect with each other. We're one Caribbean and one UWI."
Research assistant at UWI's Institute of Gender and Development Studies Amilcar Sanatan served as the event's MC. He encouraged the students to appreciate this new stage in their academicl life. He said, "Before we walk on that big stage for graduation, we have to walk on these smaller stages."
Soca artiste Preedy opened the event with a medley that included his songs Pray and Say Yeah. He told the students to embrace the boldness of UWI.
"Be bold, be brave, be UWI. Be yourself. I am myself and I real weird, so just be yourself."
The orientation programme is followed by UWI's Freshers' Week from September 2-6.