Thursday, July 28, 2016

27th Afternoon on the Green Raises Funds & Friends for International Peace

Two UVI Students receive $4,000 in Scholarships

           This spring, the 27th Annual Afternoon on the Green offered something for everyone, from tantalizing food to lively entertainment, a boisterous children’s play area, and a tent brimming with information on UVI’s academic programs. 
Parachute Ball Bounce for Children Splashes Color Across the Green
This year’s theme was “International Peace is the Scene for Afternoon on the Green 2016.”  The event promoted goodwill and better relationships, and all proceeds supported the Edward E. Thomas Volunteer Scholarship Awards.  “Two scholarships were funded by this year’s Afternoon on the Green,” said special events coordinator, Liza Margolis.  “One was for $2,500 and one was for $1,500.  Our hope for 2017 is to raise enough money for three scholarships.” 
The scholarships were presented to Charlotte Amalie High School student McKim Colaire and UVI junior, Duane Hyatt.
Moko Jumbies Flank
            UVI Homecoming Queen
In addition to being a fundraiser, Afternoon on the Green is a major “friendraiser” for the University, which reaches out to dozens of cooks and restaurants with the hope that some will donate their best dishes.  This year’s event saw the largest response in years as volunteer cooks brought more than 200 dishes to the green.  People turned out in droves to sample food from some of the finest chefs on the island while colorful flags from a variety of countries flapped in the breeze.
“Afternoon on the Green continues to be UVI’s primary community engagement event, exceeded only by commencement,” said Mitchell Neaves, vice president of Institutional Advancement.  “The AOG Planning Committee developed an outstanding event this year with the purpose of embracing the entire Virgin Islands community.” 
He continued, “A heartfelt thank you to the cooks, vendors and hundreds of volunteers who helped to make this event such a success.  Most of all, we appreciate the community members who spent the entire day on campus listening to music, learning about the University and celebrating the great food and drinks created by Virgin Islanders.”
Some volunteer cooks donate a dish every year, while others were newcomers.  One such newcomer was Dr. James Maddirala, UVI associate provost for Graduate, Global and Academic Affairs. He submitted five dishes and watched in awe as each one disappeared quickly. “I never thought it would happen, but I am happy,” said Dr. Maddirala.  “Maybe it’s because I am vegetarian, and a lot of people want a vegetarian alternative.”
A Clown Entertains Children with
    Play Parachute
Dr. Maddirala’s curried vegetable soup won third place in the Overall People’s Choice Award. His fragrant and colorful Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potato casserole) also took third place honors in the Vegetables and Casseroles category.
Gloria Gumbs, a returning chef, was excited about her and husband James Gumbs’ culinary contributions this year.  “We had the best, best salad,” Gumbs said. “It’s a combination of kale, romaine lettuce, tomatoes and other good stuff.  It’s a real robust salad.”  She added, “Our mango chicken was a hit. And people liked our rice succotash.”
Lending another international flavor was Chef Taj of Buddha Sushi with his California rolls, Philly rolls and Pad Thai. He drew one of the largest crowds.  Even MC Tony T. took a break from his duties onstage to sample the sushi. “This is the best thing you can eat,” he exclaimed.  “It’s light and it tastes good.  Taj always brings it.”
Linda Meadows and Roger Londberg, who reside on a boat off St. Thomas, were attending their first ever Afternoon on the Green. “We wanted to do something special and looked online for activities,” said Meadows.  “We were attracted by the theme of promoting peace and wanted to try the many food dishes.”  Londberg  meanwhile, was enjoying a sample of vegetarian penne.  “It’s really good,” he said. “I also had some delicious curry basmati rice.” 
Members of Steel Pan Orchestra from Bertha Boschulte Jr High School
The Academic Tent, filled with information about UVI degree programs, clubs and activities saw a steady stream of visitors.
Hubert Brumant, general manager of the Magen’s Bay Authority, knows a thing or two about ocean life, so he was eager to participate in an interactive exercise presented by the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies (CMES).  CMES had displayed 20 pictures of various sea urchins, coral, sea grass and other marine organisms. The challenge? Match the name of the tropical fauna with the correct picture.  Brumant got all 20 matches correct. “With my background it wasn’t that difficult, but it was challenging,” he said.
P'Your Passion Band Plays to an Appreciative Crowd
Many other events were similarly interactive. The UVI Hospitality and Tourism Organization set up a colorful dining table complete with plates, forks, knives, napkins and a centerpiece.  “We are teaching the proper table set-up for dining and where you place the knives, forks and spoons,” said Caliya Paul, a member of the organization.
While adults sampled food and browsed the academic programs, children climbed in and out of the three bounce houses in the kids’ tent area as parents kept a watchful eye.  Liz Gumbs enjoyed her lasagna as she watched her young son remove his tennis shoes and dive into a bounce house. “This is so nice to have for the children, Gumbs said.  “They really have fun.”
Norma Samuel brought her five grandchildren to the kids play area where they made a bee-line for the face painting station. Their faces were quickly transformed to reflect a rose, a Spiderman mask, and a crown.  Afterward, they lined up for airbrush tattoos.
Contestants for VI Carnival Princess Show Parade Across the Green
“They love it and I love it,” Samuel said, laughing. “I get a little breather when they go into the bounce houses.”
Adults were entertained throughout the day as well with spirited performances by the EBO Steel Owls, Mungo Niles Cultural Dancers, and the All Xccess Band. 
By the end of the day a mass of people, bellies full, danced and swayed to the sounds of the Cool Session Brass Band as the sun set over another successful Afternoon on the Green.

                                       Afternoon on the Green 2016 Winners

Overall People’s Choice
1st Prize – Jerk Chicken, Elbert A. Petersen
Community Members Sampling International
       Cuisine Under the Food Tent

Main Dishes/Meats/Poultry
1st Prize – Jerk Chicken, Elbert A. Petersen 

Side Dishes
1st Prize – Prudy’s Bake Macaroni and Cheese, Prudencia Freeman 

Vegetables and Casseroles 
1st Prize – Veggie Lasagna, Office of Senator Marvin A. Blyden 

1st Prize -  Pick-Up Saltfish, Edna Pole 

1st Prize -  Goat Water, Nalinie Ramnaraine 

1st Prize – Vanilla Cupcakes,  Dorian J. Hairston

1st Prize - Pumpkin Spice Bread, Vivian St. Juste 
1st Prize - Josie’s Banana Bread, Josephine Humphreys 

Native Drinks 
1st Prize -     Popeye’s Revenge, Marquis Aubain

For more information about Afternoon on the Green and photos, visit