Currently, all of us are facing a major crisis that could kill us or someone we know. Many of us are struggling with the magnitude of our situation, not knowing what will happen next and feeling powerless to stop it. Fortunately, the UConn administration may have the means to help flatten the curve and keep people safe.
The University of Connecticut owns several homes that they use for renting. According to the website, “It is strategically important for UConn to provide and manage short- and long-term housing options for the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, visiting scholars and other UConn guests.” Also, the university is no longer inviting exchange visitors until June 1, which means many of those houses are likely not being used.
Some may say that using the properties for this purpose is risky, because they may not be ready in the fall for visiting scholars, but I believe the best way to attract the most accomplished and courageous people to this university is by showing courage ourselves, and using whatever resources we have in order to save as many lives as we can. This will bring great pride to our college and our state.
The UConn administration has been doing a good job protecting us from COVID-19, but unfortunately many people, including vulnerable people, are at risk of getting the disease because of crowded homeless shelters and lack of proper space for social distancing. They have converted residence halls, but the houses could also be useful for those who don’t need hospital care but still need to avoid getting the disease.
Governor Ned Lamont has said “Stay safe, stay home”, and as the flagship university of this state, we have a responsibility to the people who work to keep this institution running, to be there for them in their time of need and to give as many people as we can safe homes to stay in.
The dining hall is already making take-out containers of food, and the program could be expanded to provide deliveries to the people staying in these houses, so they don’t have to go to stores where they could be infected or infect others. The UConn Forest and Horsebarn Hill provide a non-crowded area for exercise and other solitary recreation.
I understand that the administration is asking for money from the state, but I believe that using its resources to help those in need will prove that UConn is a worthy asset to the taxpayers, and could potentially even save people’s lives. I would be willing to help clean the homes after the situation is resolved, and I assume many other students, faculty, administrators and staff would be too.
To bring the people to these houses, the HuskyGO buses could be used, with proper social distancing by keeping each person the right number of rows apart, because they are already on a reduced schedule due to the students moving off-campus. They also have ventilation systems that will further reduce the risk of infection.
We are in a battle with the coronavirus, and all of us must do our part to defeat it. Now is not the time for passing the buck, or for fighting each other over finances; it is the time for bringing the maximum effort and our full resources to destroy the virus before it destroys us.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual writers in the opinion section do not reflect the views and opinions of The Daily Campus or other staff members. Only articles labeled “Editorial” are the official opinions of The Daily Campus.
Ben Gladstone is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.