USG presidential candidate Daniel Byrd said he would prioritize securing state funding should he be elected. Byrd is a junior studying political science.
“I’ve always had an interest in serving UConn as a whole,” Byrd said. “Holding the office would allow me to implement my visions for the campus.”
Byrd is currently chair of USG’s External Affairs committee. He has previously worked on the organization’s funding board and as its national liaison.
“I’ve held many different positions and know how USG works,” Byrd said.
Byrd’s most prominent work within USG has been the open-source textbook initiative. Byrd was appointed by UConn President Susan Herbst to work with the Connecticut General Assembly on the issue.
“The average cost of textbooks for students is $1,200 per year, and I think that needs to change,” Byrd said.
Byrd wrote legislation to create a committee of faculty, students and university staff designed to work towards more affordable educational resources.
Byrd also wrote legislation to fund the creation of an open-source chemistry textbook by Professor Edward Neth. This textbook could save students over $400,000 once it is implemented in the class next semester, Byrd said.
Byrd said working with the state government will be essential for resisting budget cuts to UConn and further tuition increases.
Byrd said he would not give a direct answer regarding the ongoing Co-op bid process, citing the fact that USG has not taken a position. He did however say that the Co-op has been supportive on the open-source project in ways that a for-profit bookstore might not.
Byrd’s running mate is Irma Valverde, currently Student Development Chair. Byrd said he chose Valverde because she is hardworking and the two compliment each others’ strengths.
They have the only ticket of two members of USG’s Executive Board, Byrd said. He noted that Valverde has done important work in making the newly created SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner) nurses available to students.
Byrd said he supports the university in their effort to create a new Office of Diversity and Multiculturalism, but in light of proposed budget cuts at the state level, the university has the obligation to tell the student body where the funds for the office will come from.
Christopher McDermott is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.