On Sept. 28, UConn’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and Public Interest Research Group (UConnPIRG) will co-host the on-campus HuskyEngage Summit in McHugh Hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Amid skyrocketing textbook prices, members of UConnPIRG, University of Connecticut’s chapter of the Public Interest Research Group, are working to convince the university to take measures to reduce student spending on essential course materials. In search of up-to-date data on student textbook spending, several UConnPIRG members set up a tent and canopy outside of the Homer Babbidge Library on Tuesday to encourage students to take their textbook affordability survey.
UConnPIRG, the University of Connecticut’s chapter of the Public Interest Research Group, wants to make the world better one change at a time, said Emily O'Hara, UConnPIRG chapter chair, UConnPIRG students board of directors vice chair, New Voters Project coordinator and seventh-semester political science and English double major.
Since 1896, The Daily Campus has delivered news independently to UConn students and faculty each weekday. Its ability to produce physical and online content is rare among student-run campus news publications today, illustrating its members’ incredible dedication and newspapers’ sustained relevance in the modern era.
A fresh semester can seem great to students until they see what textbooks they need, especially if the course is required.
On the first day of my required Organic Chemistry class, my professor presented the syllabus and told the class that we were required to purchase a course package priced at $400. This is a problem countless students face without a choice in the matter. Students can either excel in class and burden themselves financially or risk poor performance.
Another common problem students face is bundled class materials. The only way to get the workbook or access code included in bundled class materials is by buying a brand new textbook. This eliminates student options of used or rented books and was created by publishing companies to harm those markets. Enter open textbooks.
Open textbooks are published under an open license, and are accessible online for free and in print at a lower cost than traditionally published textbooks. Open textbooks can be remixed by professors or combined with other open textbooks to create a custom book.
The result of adopting open textbooks is students can learn with high quality peer-reviewed materials without the barriers of cost and professors can create the perfect book for their class. Additionally, students will not be placed in the uncomfortable position of choosing between their grades and their finances.
The cost of textbooks is increasing at over three times the rate of inflation, contributing to the rising cost of attending college. We need to take course materials costs seriously to keep college affordable.
Student activist group UConnPIRG had its largest kick-off in chapter history last night with 174 students in attendance, passing the previous record of 168 students set in 2003. The large turnout correlates to goals set by certain campaigns within the group, such as the voter registration campaign, which is this year’s lead campaign.
The Problem: A common problem faced by voters is feeling that their pick for office, whether it be local, state or federal, goes unnoticed and has little effect on the outcome of the election. This is due in part by the traditional style of voting where people have a single vote to choose who they believe to be the best candidate to fill the position. This style however can fail to accurately convey the choice of voters. Many times voters will be wary of casting their one and only ballot for a candidate who they assume won’t have enough votes to secure the office. This causes voters to go for a more mainstream candidate, instead of their ideal choice for fear of “wasting” their vote.
The Solution: The solution to this is a different system for voting is called “Rank Choice Voting.” This style of voting allows for voters to rank the candidates running for office. Voters essentially have picks for their first, second, third, etc. choice. The first choice votes are counted up for each candidate, if no candidate gets over half the votes then whichever candidate has the fewest votes is taken out of the running and those voters have their second choice votes added to the respective candidate. This continues until a candidate has majority and ultimately wins the election. Here there are no wasted votes, even if the first choice candidate is eliminated in the first round your second choice vote still can impact the results of the race. The great thing about Rank Choice Voting is that it more accurately represents the voters’ choices and can be implemented in all levels of government.
UConnPIRG is looking to bring Rank Choice Voting to campus and promote it throughout Connecticut to allow Connecticut voters the ability to have a stronger say in their elections. Visit UConnPIRG Democracy campaign in SU 214 or email noah.o’firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to get involved. For more information of Rank Choice Voting visit fairvote.org.