Justice for Regional Campuses 

UConn has numerous other campuses besides Storrs, such as the Hartford campus pictured above. UConn’s other campuses often see significantly fewer changes and amenities each year when compared to the main campus at Storrs. Photo by Connor Sharp/The Daily Campus.

As the University of Connecticut settles in for the fall 2023 semester, thousands of new and returning students will adjust to the quirks of the main campus in Storrs, Connecticut. And while for many, navigating the large and bustling Storrs campus is their sole association with UConn, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a “quintessential experience” for our statewide community — and that experience certainly isn’t exclusive to the 06268 and 06269 zip codes. Furthermore, the prestige and accolades of a UConn education shouldn’t be exclusive to Storrs, Connecticut.  

In addition to its main campus in Storrs, UConn also has four regional campuses at Avery Point, Hartford, Stamford and Waterbury. The admissions website suggests that this means “The presence of Connecticut’s flagship university is felt throughout the entire state,” but can this be true if all of UConn’s campuses are not treated equally?  

A recent UConn Today article highlights some of the new offerings as of fall 2023 at each regional campus. At Avery Point, a group of 12 U.S. Coast Guard Academy Scholars will join the student population on campus as part of a new partnership being launched between UConn and the academy. At Hartford, students had their second annual Welcome Back Block Party on Wednesday, Aug. 30 and new undergraduate research opportunities will also be available starting this fall through the Research on Resilient Cities, Racism, and Equity initiative. UConn Stamford students will have more options for food with a new dining program and will also see the launch of two new learning communities. Finally, the Waterbury campus is opening its new Academic Achievement Center, making it the third campus with an AAC after Storrs and Hartford.  

The Daily Campus Editorial Board would like to acknowledge that these are great opportunities for students at regional campuses; their development and distribution should be encouraged by the administration and student body alike. However, if these campuses are truly “the dynamic academic home to more than 5,100 undergraduate students,” shouldn’t they receive the same opportunities that students at Storrs do?  

For example, not all majors can be fully completed at every campus, and on-campus housing is not available at every campus. If a regional campus student wants to pursue an opportunity only available at the Storrs campus, they must complete a campus change.  

According to the admissions website,“Students beginning their college careers at a regional campus can select from virtually all of UConn’s 115+ majors, then seamlessly transition to UConn’s main campus in Storrs to complete a bachelor’s degree after completing approximately 54 credits.”  

However, this process “is not automatic,” according to the university webpage on campus changes. Rather, “there are specific deadlines a student must meet to successfully campus change. In addition, each regional campus holds an informational meeting for students eligible to campus change.” Additionally, students without accessible transportation options between their homes and Storrs — or those who cannot afford onerous housing fees, as previously discussed by the Editorial Board — face unique challenges from residential students. 

Commuting in itself presents numerous problems, such as the 13,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide — or 1.5 million gallons of gasoline — that the UConn Office of Sustainability Carbon Neutral Commuter Program webpage attributes to commuting students, faculty and staff. Although the program promises to offset a portion of these emissions using voluntary $5 donations supplied by commuters, it begs the question of whether the climate impact of commuting could be better solved by simply offering equal courseloads between all campuses. 

And while students at regional campuses may benefit from smaller class sizes and lower fees, do they really receive all the benefits of a UConn education if every opportunity is not available to them? And is it fair to ask students to choose between cost and opportunities within the same institution? The university should do more overall to equalize the playing field among campuses and make sure the opportunities available to some students are available to all students. 

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