Former USG Sen. Christine Savino is running for undergraduate representative on the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees. Savino described herself as a broadly connected and active student with experience around trustee meetings.
Savino said she would make efforts to protect students’ interests and services in a difficult budget era, work to increase transparency, push to expand student parking and advocate for social justice and diversity issues on the board.
Savino is a junior majoring in business and political science. She tutors through the “Let’s Get Ready” program, serves on the Honors Board and Honors Council, University Senate and is an active member of current undergraduate trustee Adam Kuegler’s Trustee Advisory Committee.
Savino was a senator of Undergraduate Student Government until Feb. 16, when she resigned amid allegations that an early draft of her platform for trustee was plagiarized from another candidate who dropped out of the race. Savino maintains the case was baseless, and she was given permission to use the other candidate’s content. Her platform has since been completely rid of the questioned content.
Savino said she would push to reduce raises and salaries for higher-level administrators and redirect the money to mental health services and student development.
Savino said she would work to establish personal and professional relationships with other administrators, which she said was essential to earning their respect.
“At one of his early meetings, Adam (Kuegler) asked a question and (Board Chair) Larry (McHugh) looked at him look he was an alien,” Savino said. “They view us (students) as inferior by default, and in order to get their respect… we need to have viable ideas, work on them ahead of time and keep close relationships with (administrators) and present ourselves as maturely as possible.”
To increase transparency, Savino said she wanted to add more members to the trustee advisory committee, including specific representatives from the cultural centers and the regional campuses.
“I’m very for diversity and I want more students to know that (the Trustee Advisory) meetings are happening and to see a bigger showing,” Savino said.
She added that she would hold biweekly office hours for students to meet and speak with her.
In describing her qualifications, Savino stressed her past involvement with the board from attending meetings and the Trustee Advisory Committee. She said she has started developing personal relationships with UConn’s administrators, read through the board’s monthly agendas and attended its meetings.
“I’ve gone through that binder full of items on the agenda every month,” Savino said.
She said the trustee can act as a bridge between the student body and higher-level administration to make UConn’s leaders more accessible to student concerns.
Savino said women have been underrepresented before in the position she’s running for, so she hopes to pave the way for female students to take on more leadership roles in the future.
“I want to know that I’m advocating positively for students, working for students and leaving behind a positive precedent,” Savino said. “I heard another young female in USG say that she might want to run for trustee her junior year and I was so happy; I was like ‘yes!’ The whole plan is that I want to set a positive precedent for students and increase student involvement in elections, the board and UConn overall.”
Her favorite Dairy Bar flavor is pumpkin, but when that seasonal option isn’t available she also likes Husky Tracks.
“The pumpkin doesn’t even really taste like pumpkin; it’s just this fantastic thing that’s seasonal and that’s special,” Savino said.
Christopher McDermott is the news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.