University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst will hold open office hours in her Gulley Hall office on Monday, Oct. 9, from 1 to 3 p.m.
UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said in an email last Friday that Herbst is “inviting students to visit her office and share their ideas, suggestions and questions with her.”
Students do not need to make reservations, but the session is only for students, Rietz said.
“(Herbst) said (open office hours have) been a valuable chance for her to learn what’s on students’ minds, and to hear their suggestions and questions,” Reitz said.
Sara Islam, a seventh-semester molecular and cell biology major, said it is a nice idea for Herbst to connect with students. Islam said she feels it makes Herbst likeable and accessible.
“I think that the president should be more than just this figurehead of the university,” Islam said. “I think it makes her more personable and then students can voice concerns to her.”
Islam said she has no complaints about how the school is being run and would praise Herbst if she met with her.
“I think I’d like to tell her that she’s doing a good job,” Islam said. “People put a lot of pressure on her with the hashtag ‘Thanks Susan’ and complaining about her salary, but it’s hard being the president of a large university.”
Reitz said Herbst has been holding office hours for students every semester for the last six years. Students meet with Herbst behind closed doors for privacy and are free to discuss whatever they would like.
“It is important to her that they feel comfortable and welcome,” Reitz said.
Reitz said that Herbst takes student concerns very seriously. When a concern came up repeatedly about students getting into required courses, Herbst took a plan to the Board of Trustees that got approved and balanced the amount of students per professor, making it easier to enroll in required courses.
Reitz said that sometimes students go to Herbst with issues better-suited for people outside the President’s office.
“(Herbst) and her assistant can help the student navigate the process and get to the right people to help them,” Reitz said. “(Herbst) wants to know what’s on (students’) minds.”
Nicholas Hampton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.