Stephanie Sponzo is a sophomore studying political science and economics. She counts diversity outreach and training, funding reform and transparency as her top priorities should she be elected USG President.
Sponzo is currently the vice chair for USG’s student development committee and sits on the university senate.
Her most prominent work within USG to date has been on Celeron Path, known sometimes as “The Rape Trail.” She has collaborated with architects and gardeners on the renovation and is now a part of the signage committee attempting to rebrand it. Sponzo said she is happy with the progress on the trail and said that it was an example of UConn students standing together to accomplish positive good.
She was also a part of a recent initiative to better publicize the university’s Title IX website detailing on-campus resources related to sexual assault and harassment.
“As a woman in USG, I want the campus to be safer and more inclusive to woman,” Sponzo said.
Sponzo has a history of leniency with students who come before USG for problems in funding their club due to filing errors or similar issues. She hopes to simplify the funding process if elected.
“It’s not my place to chastise them for not knowing the specific filing process,” Sponzo said. “I’d rather USG be a supportive entity than a punitive one.”
Sponzo’s running mate is Haddiyyah Ali, a sophomore political science and Africana studies major. Ali is a commuter senator and current member of the university’s Diversity Task Force.
Sponzo said she chose Ali because she has a strong record in USG, myriad connections across campus, involvement with the cultural centers and “unparalleled” knowledge on issues related to diversity.
Sponzo supported giving voting rights to ex officio senators from the cultural centers but added that issues of diversity and inclusion are going to be naturally complicated. In particular, she said that it might be overly simplistic to expect any one individual to accurately represent a large, diverse group of people.
“I see it as a multifaceted issue and would like them to have voting rights but I think that’s not the entirety of the problem,” Sponzo said.
Her thoughts on the creation of the Chief Diversity Officer position were similar. It might be difficult for one person to handle the entire issue of diversity, but “the effort says a lot and it’s a step in the right direction,” Sponzo said.
Sponzo was reluctant to give her views regarding the ongoing Co-op bid process, adding that she does not like to answer questions for which she does not have all the information.
She thought it might save money if the Co-op were to be privatized but noted that the Co-op played an important role in community outreach.
“I can’t say that I want it either way, but in the long run, in terms of school pride it would be sad to see it go,” Sponzo said.
Sponzo said that she hopes to rebrand USG and make it more accessible if elected. She said that her style of leadership would focus on listening.
“I see the president as someone walks into the room and listens,” Sponzo said. “I see the role as one of facilitating interactions.”
Sponzo is the only sophomore running for president. She described herself as someone able to mediate conflicts, which she thought was more important than timed experience.
“In USG, I don’t see it as a matter of years but as a matter of communicating with people,” Sponzo said.
Sponzo is also a member of the UConn Chordials, an all-female a cappella group.
Chris McDermott is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.