Christine Savino said she will run for the student trustee seat on the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees in order to do away with the lack of clarity, political antagonism and the disregard for needy students she sees among the board.
The fourth semester economics major said the board continues to raise tuition and fees without adequately informing students of why or how their bills will go up.
“Most students don’t know what the Board of Trustees is,” she said. “Most don’t even know it exists.”
If elected, Savino said she will work to increase communication between the students and board of trustees by putting the agendas and notes in “plain English” for student viewing as well as make recordings of the meetings and any presentation material available for easy viewing.
Presentations are publicly available already but Savino said she will work to increase their visibility.
The Associated Press reported that the Board of Trustees violated Freedom of Information laws when reviewing UConn’s $1.3 billion budget in June.
Savino said she spoke to students already about the tuition hikes approved by the board and continued communication is a key part of her platform. A tuition increase of over 30 percent was approved in December.
“It hurts to hear about how students have to take on another job or how their siblings won’t be able to come here because of the tuition increase,” she said.
Savino said the decisions the board is making are thought of on a macroeconomic level, not at the level of the individual students who will be required to pay them. She hopes to bring those student concerns to their attention as student trustee.
Savino said that, while she has not held any leadership positions on campus, her extra-curricular, non-profit leadership and academic performance as an economics and former political science student have prepared her well for the role. She is an active participant in Next-Step Ministries and Americorps and works to help underprivileged students gain an education.
She said she will work with students and the Board of Trustees to unburden students from what she sees as excessive and inefficient spending.
“What I want to bring to this office is empathy. What I want to do is represent people who can’t help themselves. A lot of them are graduating 20 thousand in debt and all they can do is complain because they don’t know how to change it,” Savino said. “That’s what I want to do, I want to challenge student debt.”
Nicholas Shigo is associate news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.