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Annual Florida Caribbean Students Association summit focuses on environment

GAINESVILLE – The 37th annual Conference of the Florida Caribbean Students Association (FCSA) begins next Friday (April 1) at the University of Florida in Gainesville, when more than 600 Caribbean students from tertiary institutions across Florida State 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 and raise awareness about local and regional issues, especially 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 region and here in the United States of America, with an emphasis on how they can help to make changes. Ms. Clarke, a Jamaican national, is currently pursuing studies in anthropology.

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 the areas of topical interests while providing updated information about the region. 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 Caribbean region, according to Jamaican Diaspora Board advisory representative to the United States, attorney, Marlon Hill, also a founding member of the FCSA.

The conference activities will also provide tools and resources to allow students to find meaningful ways to get involved in issues and projects in the Caribbean, giving the students vehicles to 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 neighboring States to incorporate the activities of other Caribbean student bodies, according to Rommel Beckels, public relations chair of the FCSA. Last year, the invitation was extended to students of tertiary institutions in Georgia State who were in attendance. This year, we expect more of the same, he added.

The Florida Caribbean Students’ Association with a membership of nearly 3,600 students is the leading Caribbean student body encompassing some 28 Caribbean member organizations representing universities throughout the State of Florida.

To obtain registration and information for the Conference, persons may contact the FCSA conference team at pro@fcsainc.org for further information, or visit the conference website at www.fcsainc.org/conference

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