Vice Provost Michael Bradford, along with Amanda Pitts, the executive assistant to the Office of the Provost, hosted a virtual meet and greet on Wednesday, Oct. 21 with University of Connecticut students to discuss student ideas and topics for the university administration.
Brianna Chance, a fifth-semester fine arts major specializing in opera singing and vocal training, explained the struggle some low income students at UConn face. She told administration a community housing program for these students is the best solution for this issue.
“It’s extremely expensive to stay in the residence halls over break,” Chance said. “There’s no discount for homeless students, who often tend to be financially insecure. I speak from experience, unfortunately.”
Chance said the COVID-19 pandemic increases the difficulty of finding a place to live. Some students might not be able to stay on a friend’s couch or sign a co-lease in an apartment due to the fear of contracting COVID-19 in a crowded living space.
“It’s frustrating to be a homeless student and pay the same rate as typical students over breaks. Oftentimes, we have no other option but to pay the housing rate, which many homeless students cannot afford, or we’re back to sleeping on couches and in public areas,” Chance said. “Many homeless and housing insecure students also classify as independent. There needs to be a department or program on campus that caters to this population in addition to a community house for homeless students.”
Bradford thanked Chance for her bravery in sharing her story, and Pitt noted she was unaware of the flat rate all students, regardless of financial security, face for on-campus housing.
The same general principles apply to faculty & staff working on campus. pic.twitter.com/tYBbuQWBOP— UConn (@UConn) October 21, 2020
Madelyn Pickett, a fifth-semester biomedical engineering student, explained her proposal for a more eco-friendly UConn.
“The earth is dealing with the ramifications of climate change. Encouraging a vegan diet is beneficial to both student health and is a sustainable plan,” Pickett said. “The University of Massachusetts Amherst has a student-led co-opt vegan cafe that provides an example that UConn should follow.”
Brandon Emerick, a former UConn student who recently transferred, explained why the university did not provide an ideal learning environment for him.
“I learn best from a self-paced education,” Emerick said. “I want the university to offer online, self-paced, competency-based programs, especially bachelor’s degrees.”
2020 is Bradford’s first year at UConn. He said he is excited to see how student ideas could turn into reality.
“Y’all are putting me to work,” Bradford said at the end of the meeting. “And I love my job.”