By Holly Foster for Hamilton College News,
The Hamilton community this week welcomed Dr. Everson Hull, ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to the Organization of American States, to meet with the students and faculty involved with the upcoming spring break service trip to the island of Nevis, birthplace of Alexander Hamilton. The trip will be led by the student organization Global Volunteers with support from Amy James and the Community Outreach and Opportunity Project (COOP).
Ambassador Hull had a full day on the Hill, also visiting Hamilton’s Special Collections room to see the Caribbean collection, touring the Wellin Museum and stopping by the Alexander Hamilton statue.
Hull’s visit came about through a connection College Chaplain Jeff McArn had with Hamilton, N.Y. friend Chuck Fox who has himself volunteered in Nevis. Fox had inquired about the possibility of Hamilton students volunteering there, given the College’s Nevis connection as the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton. Fox in turn connected Amy James and McArn with the Nevis organization Operation Future with whom the students will be working.
Hull began his visit to Hamilton by dining with students and Hamilton faculty and staff members and President Joan Hinde Stewart.
Director and Curator of Special Collections and Archives Christian Goodwillie then took Hull on a tour of Hamilton’s Beinecke Lesser Antilles Collection which was a gift to the college by life trustee Walter Beinecke. Among the documents he viewed was a memorandum of the Stapleton Family, a parchment document recording the births of six Stapleton in children in Nevis, after 1681, and a lease, Andrew Hamilton to Benjamin Vaughn, Jr. of Walkers, or the Wind Mill Plantation, in St. John Parish, Nevis, dated August 30, 1784 that includes inventory of slaves by name and also farm animals.
Later that afternoon, Hull spoke with the nine students and two faculty members who will be going to Nevis over spring break. Hull discussed a wide range of topics including current politics of St. Kitts and Nevis, education on the islands, the economy of the islands and his own childhood on Nevis. The ambassador showed genuine enthusiasm for the Global Volunteers project and its potential to bring important knowledge and experience to the youth of Nevis.
Emily Rubinstein ’16, one of the trip’s student leaders, remarked, “The immense support for this project from so many important people has revealed the true potential of what we are doing. The goal of the Global Volunteers project to Nevis is to form a long-lasting, sustainable connection between the college the island with mutual benefits for the students of Hamilton and the youth of Nevis.
“With people like Ambassador Hull on board,” she added, “we hope to integrate these interpersonal connections in ways that are much larger than the individual, and the relationship between Nevis and Hamilton College can persist as volunteers come and go.
“As one of the student leaders for this trip, I’m blown away by the support for this project, and I now have confidence that this first trip will lay a strong foundation for a beautiful relationship,” said Rubinstein. “Although Alexander himself never made it back to his birthplace, we now have the opportunity to give back to the tiny island from which Hamilton came.”