The current student trustee on the UConn Board of Trustees recently spoke to The Daily Campus about the upcoming election for a new undergraduate student trustee, issues he’s worked on as a trustee and the importance of having student representation on the board.
Kevin Braghirol is the current graduate student trustee on the board. Braghirol said he hopes the next undergradate student trustee will be sincere, hardworking, diligent and responsive, with a love for UConn.
The biggest initiative Braghirol has been involved with, along with current undergrad student trustee Adam Kuegler, is making mental health services more accessible on campus.
“We wanted to hopefully ensure stability in the mental health department here and to ensure that they had the funding they needed to make sure services were adequately provided,” Braghirol said.
Student mental health is particularly important to Braghirol because he said many students don’t seek the help they could benefit from.
“I think there is the viewpoint from a lot of people that it’s going to take a long time to get seen if you don’t have a serious, serious problem, so we kind of want to destigmatize that,” Braghirol said.
Braghirol said UConn administration has been responsive to the issue, with President Susan Herbst attending a summit this week on student mental health with other presidents, provosts and vice presidents from universities around the country.
“They’re really bought into it,” Braghirol said.”That’s one of the top things on their agenda.”
Braghirol said now is particularly important to promote mental health services as the university faces budget cuts from the state.
Prior to being elected student trustee, Braghirol didn’t have any experience with student government. While he said having previous experience with organizations like Undergraduate Student Government could help with establishing connections, they aren’t necessary to serve in an elected student position.
“People warm up to you pretty quickly. It’s a fairly important role and I think people within the university are pretty responsive,” Braghirol said.
Braghirol, as a medical student, also attends UConn Health Board of Directors meetings as a non-voting member. He said the board of directors shows a lot of concern and response to student needs, including minor issues like parking.
“I think they’re very responsive to student needs and concerns, a lot more than I thought before I got involved in it,” Braghirol said. “I’ve been very pleasantly surprised to be wrong.”
Braghirol said student trustee is an important position because it’s one of the few opportunities students get to have their concerns brought directly to administration.
“The point of it is to bring that student mindset to the Board,” Braghirol said. “You have to have somebody who you know is genuine… and represents your values.”
Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.