“A Conversation with CT Lawmakers” will give University of Connecticut students the ability to engage with state lawmakers regarding any questions or concerns they may have.
Students will be able to submit any questions they have for the Connecticut lawmakers by April 1 through a public Google form found on USG’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. USG will then send these questions out to lawmakers who have confirmed their participation, and responses will be posted and sent out on April 12.
This event, designed by USG External Affairs Committee Chairperson Zoe Jensen and USG Senator Michael Cerulli, was originally supposed to be an in-person discussion between student leaders, the public and Connecticut lawmakers, but due to UConn’s movement to online learning for the rest of the semester, they had to change the format of the event, Jensen said. She said the two spent much time deliberating how best to transfer the event to an online format.
“There were lots of questions Michael and I had to consider, especially when the title of the event is ‘A Conversation with CT Lawmakers,’” Jensen said. “How do we get public participation? Do we only focus on COVID-19? Would video chat suffice?”
In the end, Jensen and Cerulli decided that students submitting questions would be best. They recognize that Connecticut lawmakers are facing large amounts of stress at the present time, but they feel the UConn community still deserves to have their questions answered, Jensen said.
“UConn students are dealing with various statuses of housing. Our generation feels an ongoing existential dread with our climate crisis. We still deserve answers,” Jensen said. “Our lawmakers have the chance to not only consider what is currently on their constituents’ minds right now, but also what they can address in the future.”
Jensen hopes this event helps students recognize the power of their voices. She hopes that this event encourages students to continue to have a dialogue with their local government.
“I hope that people realize that their voice is important, whether it be their vote for these representatives, their right to question the government’s role in their lives, their ability to connect with lawmakers on issues that are pertinent to our communities … I hope that students who participate will reach out to these representatives after the event, continue being engaged in our state government and recognize that their voice is powerful,” Jensen said.
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Thomas Alvarez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.