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Chairman of the UG 40th Anniversary Planning Committee, Mr. Donald Sinclair told a news conference yesterday at the Hotel Tower in Georgetown that the official launching will take place at the George Walcott Lecture Theatre at the University's Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara campus. It is expected to be declared open by President Bharrat Jagdeo.
"We thought that seeing this is the launching week, that it would be very important for us to involve the media not only because we recognise that so many of the UG alumni are in fact members of the media, and some very illustrious members of the media, but it is also very important to have the media on board very early in an activity of this stature," he told reporters.
The theme chosen for the observance of the milestone is 'A Time To Reconnect' and Sinclair said this reconnection is important on two levels:
"Firstly, we are talking about reconnecting with people. There are thousands of university alumni - some are still in Guyana, others are everywhere. So we see this year's activities as a time to bring about that reconnection with our former graduates and our former members of staff. It is also reconnecting in terms of the university reconnecting with some of the values and principles which we feel should really inspire tertiary education," he stated.
He noted, too, that apart from the planning committee, several faculties on campus have convened their private anniversary committees to plan faculty events.
Sinclair indicated that the key objectives of the celebrations are to plan a series of activities and events that would result in significant material improvement and upgrading of the physical appearance, services and operations of the university.
The events/activities, he said, are also aimed at serving as a stimulus for the pursuit of research activity relevant to the life of the institution and the society at large; promoting and enhancing its public and international image and imbuing students, staff and alumni with such pride in the university as would promote a passion for excellence.
Some of the special events planned are a fund-raising dinner, unveiling of Scroll of Valedictorians and Scroll of Deans, launching of Alumni websites, Easter Monday fun day at the Turkeyen campus, installation of a plaque for the university's Chemistry Department, a 40-over cricket match, the UG International Conference on 'Technology and Development', an exhibition in honour of Phillip Moore and the Miss UG Student Society 2003 Pageant.
In terms of promotional activities, the anniversary celebrations will feature on the cover of the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) 2003-2004 directory; weekly press releases would be forthcoming; a metal sign would be erected at the Railway Embankment and Turkeyen junction and another on the seawall; and an anniversary arch constructed.
Managing Director of Guyenterprise Advertising Agency and member of the UG 40th Anniversary Planning Committee, Mr. Vic Insanally noted that the university has over the years "taken a lot of knocks - ups and downs - and their status in Guyana generally has been open to some negative things".
Insanally feels this occasion of the anniversary celebration is an excellent opportunity to rectify that negativity and enhance the overall image of the institution.
He noted, too, that it has ambitiously marked out some 40 events to commemorate the 1963-2003 milestone.
Insanally also said that in spite of the negative things that are being said about the university, he is very impressed with the current state of its Turkeyen campus.
He also appealed to "each member of corporate Guyana" to be associated, in whatever way, with the promotion and participation of the upcoming activities and events.
President of the University of Guyana Student Society (UGSS), Mr. Robert Bourne told reporters that the body is very pleased to be involved in the programme.
"We hope that at the end of the celebrations we would have made an impact," he said.
According to him, the student society wants to take a closer look at the theme of the celebrations - 'A Time To Reconnect' - and to use that "to connect the present students of the university to the past students of the university in more ways than one".
Bourne also noted that the UGSS would be involved in a number of activities during the anniversary celebrations which run from February 21 to mid-November.
It was noted, too, that the launching of the celebrations would culminate with the Open-Day (Career Day) at the university on Friday when students are given an opportunity to showcase their talents and some of their work and accomplishments.
The university also uses the opportunity to advertise some of its programmes and activities.
Bourne also stressed the importance of students becoming closely involved in what is taking place.
Member of the Planning Committee, Ms. Stacy Peters used the opportunity at yesterday's news conference to call on past students to submit their names, addresses, telephone numbers or other contact information, particularly their email addresses, so that an alumni database can be set up.
In this regard, she urged past students to check out these two websites -www.ugalumni.org and www.ug40thanniversary.org for further information.