During an Undergraduate Student Government Senate meeting Wednesday night, USG President Priyanka Thakkar highlighted the importance of student voices on campus in her State of the Campus address to the USG Senate.
Thakkar, a seventh semester management information systems major, began her speech by reflecting on her journey to becoming president.
“My first three years of UConn I was just your average student,” Thakkar said. “Now, I’m evaluating and seeing campus as a leader in the community.”
Thakkar then moved on to the body of her speech, which focused on the necessity of students speaking up at UConn. Thakkar celebrated recent student activism movements, especially those involved with climate justice and race relations on campus.
“Our fellow students have shown how important it is to hold administrators accountable,” Thakkar said. “The climate strike, the rec center controversies and the backlash against racism have shown all of us how important it is to have a voice on campus.”
In addition, Thakkar recognized the progress USG has made so far this year. She emphasized USG’s work during Mental Illness Awareness Week, its Tampon Time campaign, its expansion of access to Halal food and its collaboration with the Rec Center to better represent students.
Throughout her speech, Thakkar alluded to USG’s work promoting diversity and making the UConn campus safe for all students. She discussed the creation of USG’s hate speech task force in response to a racist incident at Charter Oak Apartments as an example.
However, she acknowledged the work that still needs to be done on campus, specifically relating to inclusivity.
“There needs to be additional work to ensure that all students are respected and taken care of by this university,” said Thakkar.
The speech is the first of two State of the Campus addresses outlined in USG bylaws. Wednesday night’s was addressed to the USG senate and the second will be addressed to the whole student body.
Thakkar wrapped up her speech by calling on the USG Senate to continue listening to student voices on campus.
“To be the most successful organization we can be, we have to put students at the forefront of our actions. For every action we take, it is imperative that we consider: How will this help our students? How will students feel about what we’re doing? And, most importantly, how would you want to be represented?” Thakkar said. “When representing students, remember: Their worries are our worries. Their struggles are our struggles. And an attack against one student is an attack against all of us.”
Grace McFadden is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.