Students met with their state and local government representatives Monday night, as Undergraduate Student Government External Affairs Committee hosted its annual Government Reception in the Student Union. Students were able to chat and network with the representatives in a conversational setting.
Representatives included Mansfield mayor Paul Shapiro, town council members Terry Berthelot and Ronald Schurin, as well as Deputy Mayor and council member Tony Moran. State representatives Gregg Haddad of the Mansfield District, Kevin Ryan of Bozrah, Montville and Norwich and Michael Winkler of Vernon attended. State senator Mae Flexer was also present amongst other representatives, as well as members of USG.
The External Affairs Committee is among one of the four main committees in USG, and works with government bodies such as the Connecticut General Assembly to promote student interests and develop the relationship between students at UConn and the greater community.
Damon Reynolds, chairman of the External Affairs Committee, gave a presentation to the students and representatives on the different chambers of USG, the committees and their recent goals and successes.
“It has been a real growth year for our organization in terms of communicating with students and including new members into our organization,” Reynolds said. “We’ve been spearheading different advocacy initiatives, things like mental health, early voting and working to get more students on the board of trustees. Being able to focus our energy and getting a lot of new members has been a real success for us this year.”
Mayor Shapiro had discussed with a group of students how Reynolds reached out to him last year to form an active connection with the town council and start events where students could communicate with their representatives. Both Shapiro and Deputy Mayor Moran mentioned how town council members are willing to meet with students if they reach out.
“Students may have interest in one of our current issues, [such as] school consolidation. Mansfield is trying to build a net zero [energy intake] school,” Moran said.
Several students attended and there were a variety of majors and focuses, which prompted a diverse range of discussion.
“I think it was a great opportunity to get to talk to these representatives, especially since many of the issues they work with are local issues that we as UConn students are a part of,” Amy Chen, a fourth semester allied health major, said.
Mansfield Town council meeting times and representative contacts are listed on the Mansfield CT website. The External Affairs Committee meets Fridays 3-4 p.m. in the Student Organization Center Conference Room.
Alyssa Pagan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.