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Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine Welcomes Taxi Drivers & Tour Operators to Celebrate Tourism Awareness Month

11/18/11

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Dr. Jane Rose, assistant professor of Small Animal Medicine, and Mr. Josh Moore, research associate, lead a tour of the RUSVM campus.

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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) opened its doors on Tuesday to the Taxi Drivers and Tour Operators of St. Kitts for an Open House. This event was held in support of the St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Tourism’s Awareness Month. More than 70 members of the tourism industry including the taxi associations, independent tour guides, media representatives and members of faculty and staff of the school attended the Open House, which was specially organized to provide its visitors the opportunity to better understand the operations of the university. Visitors were able to tour the campus, learn about what it means to be a veterinarian and gain an inside look at the student experience. The Honorable Richard Skerritt, Minister of Tourism and International Trade, was a special guest at the event.

Gilbert Burns, DVM, PhD, RUSVM interim dean, was the first to welcome the taxi drivers and tour operators to the campus after which he provided background on the study of veterinary medicine, the university and the school’s mission to improve the well-being of animals through community service, teaching and research.

“Veterinarians play an important role in society – from taking care of our pets; to ensuring the safety of the food we eat; to helping establish healthy productive agricultural systems. It is with great pleasure that I have the opportunity to share our passion for veterinary medicine with those present today,” said Burns.

The 2011 Celebration of Tourism Awareness Month is significant as it is first year that RUSVM has been a part of the organizing committee responsible for designing and implementing its activities.

“This Open House is a part of a larger program of activities which has been created to highlight the invaluable impact of tourism on the economic, social and cultural well-being of St. Kitts and Nevis, enabling us to create a friendly and safe environment for our visitors.” remarked Minister Skerritt.

Minister Skerritt continued, “Ross University has been a part of the landscape of St. Kitts for over twenty five years. But as we move forward in our efforts to strengthen local awareness of the value of tourism to our national economy, we must also recognize that the faculty and students of Ross University are also tourists who, not only become part of our communities, but also welcome friends and family during their stay on the island.”

Nam Kim, president, RUSVM Student Government Association, applauded the service that taxi drivers and tour operators provide for the students. In most cases, taxi drivers are the first persons that students interact with when arriving for RUSVM Orientation at the airport.

“It can be very intimidating to leave the comforts and familiarities of home to come to a strange country for the first time. Many of you introduce us to the island, provide directions when we need it and this gives us added reassurance. Back in the U.S., the taxis look alike and it is difficult to determine one from the other. In St. Kitts, each taxi is distinctive and so it’s not unusual for students to develop friendships with a trusted taxi driver. It is for this reason, that on behalf of the students of Ross University, I would like to thank you for your personable service,” said Kim.

Faculty and staff volunteered as tour guides providing visitors the opportunity to see inside classrooms and laboratories as well as to experience the overall layout of the grounds. During the tour, participants were able to view the anatomy laboratory, where examples of animal skeletons, were on display; the veterinary teaching hospital, where pet patients are examined and treated; as well as visit various other locations on campus where classes in the study of veterinary medicine are taught.

“It was a wonderful experience. I thoroughly appreciated the presentations and I particularly enjoyed the campus tour,” declared Calvin Leader, president, St. Kitts Taxi Association.

At the end of the event each visitor was given an informative brochure designed to equip taxi drivers and tour operators with interesting facts about the school for their island tours.

About Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine
Ross University is a provider of medical and veterinary education, offering Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree programs. Founded in 1982 and located in St. Kitts, West Indies, the School of Veterinary Medicine is accredited by the St. Christopher & Nevis Accreditation Board (www.gov.kn) and the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education to offer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program (AVMA COE, 1931 North Meacham Road, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173, 847-925-8070). The School of Veterinary Medicine is affiliated with 22 AVMA-accredited U.S. veterinary schools where students complete their clinical year. The University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital is the only facility outside the U.S. and Canada accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association. Ross University’s administrative offices are located in North Brunswick, NJ. For more information about Ross University, visit www.RossU.edu.