Walk into the main building of the university and peace will take over. Their ecosystem of flora and fauna enchants_ including a patio with a huge mango tree, beautiful flowers and plants, several gardens with seats and tables for students to study in all this tranquility, a fish pound, house cats completed by the heart of this all: the historical La Salle Building. The ambitious Giovanni Lew Jen Tai is taking care of the facilities owned by the university and enlightens us with the university’s protocol of the COVID-19 lifestyle.
He is passionate about his job as Facility Manager which he has been doing for five years. “Currently we hold three branches that I oversee: the Boulevard building, the small building on the side of the main university building called Centro Educativo Cristian and the university building itself.” His department sources out facilities for four faculties: Economics, Hospitality & Tourism, Arts & Science and Law. Besides that, they have custom-made programs for tax lawyers or partitions in law. “We started in 2016 with the Academic Foundation Year, a kind of orientation year for students. I was supervising the construction of two model units and a garden building and made sure these facilities are healthy, safe, pleasant and inspiring for the users.” He says people become relaxed when they come here and some students stay from early morning until late in the evening.
Into deep waters
“The class rooms and study rooms are open from 6am to 5pm but the garden until 10pm. In this new times we urge students to come for study, not to hang out and have fun.” In the ‘new normal’ Lew Jen Tai will offer some of the smaller class rooms as study rooms that can be reserved by students. Class rooms have 1.5 meters between chairs meaning the max capacity all of a sudden is 10 instead of 30 students. “I needed to create more space and at the same time, I have no storage for the left over tables and seats so we put crosses on them and informed all students and teachers of the protocol. “Teachers will rotate according to a schedule and students stay in the room. Distancing applies when waiting and communication is essential. We provide Lysol spray, hand sanitizer, apply cleaning the rooms before and after use and have face masks available.”
Lew Jen Tai states that even though they managed to survive during the lockdown with 100% online learning it is confirmed by students and teachers that face-to-face contact is needed. “It is an urge of the human race and it is important to mental health. We want to cater to everyone but we cannot do that for all in the same proportion.” Therefore the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students will have less time on the premises, the priority is to give more face-to-face opportunity to freshman students because all is new to them. “We are going into deep waters that we do not know as yet how deep it will be. But we will make it work.” He is happy to say that the university reacted very strongly to this new situation and adapted to it immediately. “My satisfaction is to see that students and teachers are happy in their environment. You got to do things with passion or don’t do it. I got your back, I make you feel good. That is what I like.”
Registration for the University of Aruba is now open until July 15th, more information is to be found at https://www.ua.aw.