USG Speaker George P. Wang is running for undergraduate representative on the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees. As a leader and three-year member of USG, Wang said he’s an experienced candidate with expansive knowledge of how UConn operates.
Wang is a junior studying political science with a minor in computer science. As Speaker of the Undergraduate Student Government, he’s responsible for “acting as a resource for senators and connecting them with that they need to achieve their goals,” Wang said.
Wang has served on the Title IX Task Force, contributed to university initiatives on spreading air conditioning in dormitories, and contributed to an initiative for bystander intervention training (BIT), which he said focuses on changing campus culture about sexual assault and intervention.
“I always believed peer-to-peer interactions are more powerful than some campus authority telling you what to do, and to that end I’ve done my best to ensure the program is largely student driven,” Wang said. “(BIT) has student leaders, students develop the process and reach out to students for feedback.”
Wang said his time on multiple USG committees and as speaker have given him an expansive understanding of how organizations at UConn operate.
“One of the great things about USG is working with administrators to figure out what is possible and then to get that done,” Wang said.
Wang’s platform focuses on representing students’ interests in a difficult financial time, increasing understanding of the board’s work and reaching out directly to student groups.
“I think we need to do everything we can to move the university from relying on state money, which accounts for about 28 percent of the income that the university has and also reducing the university’s reliance on tuition and fees,” Wang said. “Together these all account for about 65 percent of the income that the university has.”
Wang said he would work to increase university’s endowment and financial aid plans to shift the burden of paying for operation of UConn’s students.
“I know the facts. I’ve done my homework over my three years here, and I think that some of the other candidates have good ideas but they’re not the right solutions,” Wang said.
Wang said a plan to cut administrative salaries, proposed by his opponent Christine Savino, could have unintended effects.
“There are a lot of administrator positions that are necessary now because of different federal and state regulations, and positions that benefit the student body.”
Salaries for the highest administrators account for only about two percent of UConn’s budget, and even cutting administrators’ salaries by half couldn’t make up for the seven percent reductions in state funding UConn is facing.
Wang said he would strive to increase “two-way transparency” with student groups to inform them of the board’s work and what it can do to help them.
“You can’t meet with all 23,000 undergraduates at the university across all the campuses all the time. You need to look for ways to make that information easily accessible to as many students as possible, and I think the best way to do that is a web-based platform.”
Wang said the platform should make it easier for students to reach out to their representative and that it should explain the board’s ongoing work in clear, simple terms, because most students don’t have time to work through an “inch-thick” agenda.
Wang said his favorite Dairy Bar flavor is vanilla.
“This is going to make me sound boring, but vanilla is a classic,” Wang said.
Christopher McDermott is the news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.