UConn students expect transparency and the opportunity to be heard by their governing board, and Undergraduate Student Body President Ama Appiah says this year, USG delivered.

Appiah shared the achievements of the student body and USG from this academic year at the State of the Campus Address on Wednesday, April 17.

Standing on the Student Union Terrace, Appiah announced major strides made by the undergraduate student government, such as mental health.

“Mental health has been a prominent part of the conversation regarding wellness this year. USG has been at the forefront of these discussions, ensuring students had a seat at the table, increase accessibility to resources and the opportunity to critically assess the nature of our mental health services on campus,” Appiah says.

With this initiative, Appiah says mental health and wellness campaigns and training opportunities have been brought to campus and welcomed by students.

Academic policy is another major topic on student minds, and Appiah says this year, USG has been more involved in it than ever before.

“After three years of deliberation and construction with administration through university senate committees, it is my pleasure to announce that the updated general education requirements will be rolled out in fall 2019 for the incoming freshman class.”

The updated requirements will include a new environmental literacy component. USG has also been working with students in redefining general education requirements and expanding the focus on experiential learning.

On the other side of the coin, Appiah says students have voiced their desire for a better transition out of college. By working with the Center for Career Development, Appiah says the help for post-graduate success is on its way.

“I’m happy to announce that the UNIV 4800 course, also known as senior year experience, will be returning to active status in the near future,” Appiah says.

The 1-credit course will focus on a transition to post-grad life including financial planning, living a healthy lifestyle, pre-professional development and graduate school preparation.

Appiah also started a conversation with the university about dual degree and double major requirements and adjusting them, so it is more financially feasible for students to complete a dual degree or a double major in four years.

Appiah also touched on other important topics for students such as transportation and parking on campus and efficiency with the funding process for student organizations, always focusing on facilitating the communication with the UConn student and the administration.

“The best part of this job is being able to talk to students and have them be comfortable with telling you their concerns and being able to use those concerns and convey that to the university is so amazing, and I love being able to take the time to get to know students and create those relationships,” Appiah says.

President-elect Priyanka Thakkar, a management information systems major, says Appiah and the governing board have left a solid foundation of success at UConn.

“I’m very excited that Manny and I get to continue with that foundation and have a very excellent governing board to help us do that,” Thakkar says.

Vice President-elect Emmanuel Chinyumba, a political science major with a real estate minor, says he is looking forward to creating close relationships with those on the governing board next year as well as being able to connect with students.

“Everyone’s been so supportive post the election about expressing their ideas to both Priyanka and I, so I think we definitely set a tone of not only transparency but also just keeping students accountable and aware that they come to us in any kind of situation to really get their goals across,” Chinyumba says.

First-year student Zoe Butchen was among the crowd of students listening to Appiah’s address.

“I think that it was very well put together and really addressed all the issues happening around campus and all the work USG has done throughout the year to make the undergraduate student experience better,” Butchen says.

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Daniela Doncel

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