2020 brought new challenges and required new adjustments for everyone around the world. People were forced to completely shift their lives in a plethora of ways. With this, mistakes were bound to be made. The University of Connecticut’s Student Leadership Board’s Student Voice project team held a Zoom call on Monday for students to join and express their concerns, thoughts and overall feelings about the semester so far.
Eighth-semester women’s, gender, and sexuality studies major and sociology minor Le’Asia Gaskin gave insight on exactly what the goals and purpose of the Student Voice project is.
“We are doing things like this to get information from students about different topics that are going on, so we can go back and talk to the dean about it,” Gaskin said. “We’re a liaison between the students and the dean, and tell them about the hot topics students are currently talking about.”
Throughout the Zoom call, topics ranging from money and mental health to the difficulties of online learning were discussed.
While UConn was able to shift its teaching method within several months to prepare for the fall semester, there are still concerns. Sixth-semester molecular and cell biology major Pooja Prasad said she had one professor who was never responsive to any of his students.
Prasad emailed one of her professors at the beginning of the semester to clarify different elements of the syllabus, but received no response, she said. She also reached out to different classmates and her TA, who all said they had not been able to contact him either.
Gaskin had a similar experience when she received no response from a few professors after emailing them about a loss in her family.
Not only do regular life events still happen and students still have to navigate them, a minor issue such as unstable service can become detrimental.
Sixth-semester political science major and communication minor Sarah Cusano has firsthand experience with the impact of a faulty Wi-Fi connection during class.
“I’ve had issues with my connection before where it would kick me out of the class and then I would have to decide if it was worth it to rejoin,” Cusano said. “But then you get worried about if you’re going to miss information that’s super important.”
Not only has COVID-19 shifted classes; it has also greatly impacted student life on campus.
Cusano planned to return to campus for the spring semester, but then changed her mind when UConn announced their dormitory regulations.
“When they announced that you couldn’t really hang out with anyone in the dorms, because that’s where I would have been living, I decided it wasn’t worth it,” Cusano said. “I was going to live in the single which is already super isolating, and then couple that with COVID and not being able to see anyone, it just didn’t sound good for my mental health.”
COVID-19 and mental health seem to go hand in hand.
According to Gaskin, UConn needs to do better when it comes to overall representation within their mental health department. She believes more people would be willing to reach out to mental health services if there were people who looked like them were employed there.
“Inclusion across the board: sex, gender, White, Black, Hispanic, anything,” Gaskin said.
Prasad had similar thoughts when it came to the dean for diversity and inclusion.
“I think positive change would be not just how you respond to those harmful incidents, but how you are instating people in positions of power who are racially and culturally diverse,” she said.
If you would like to voice your opinions regarding anything that is happening on UConn’s campus, feel free to reach out to SLB. The Student Voice project is interested in hearing about students’ experiences and thoughts, so they then can pass it on to people in power who can create positive change.