Running for UCONN Graduate Student Trustee

Every two years graduate students at the University of Connecticut are given the opportunity to vote for someone to represent them on the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is the governing body of our university and the last word on university policies, procedures, and tuition.

I want to serve as an advocate for graduate students across Connecticut. As an undergraduate I spent four years advocating for students as the founder of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute College Democrats. As President of the College Democrats of Massachusetts, I was responsible for fund raising, building relationships with other organizations, getting students resources, and successfully obtained representation for our group on the Democratic State Committee — the “board of trustees” for the state Democratic Party. In one year I transformed our group into a well respected political organization in the state of Massachusetts.

I will work to build a community of engagement. I pledge to hold office hours on all the graduate student campuses across Connecticut. I also pledge to work with all graduate student governments. I will provide you with updates regularly and remain accessible via phone, e-mail, facebook, and yes, even twitter.

I am concerned with ensuring that all the campuses across the state have their interests represented equally. I am concerned about tuition increases that outpace inflation. I am concerned when I see our state taking $23 Million from our operating reserve account to cover a budget gap. Some of these issues are bigger than what happens in the boardroom – to that end, I promise to advocate for our schools both at Storrs and the state capital.

Please feel free to share your ideas and concerns with me. You can e-mail me or contact me via facebook.

I respectfully ask for your vote next week ( If I am elected I promise that I will do my best to ensure that UCONN remains an institution we are all proud of.



Government 2.0 Next Door

The New York State Senate has been doing a lot to increase engagement with its citizens. The Director of Technology Innovation Noel Hidaldo recently gave a presentation (below) at the IgniteNYC event. Some of the stuff is procedural such as assigning their content a Creative Commons license. Other he touches on are much more substantive such as holding a digital town hall. Connecticut should start thinking about adopting some of these ideas.

For example, one idea they might adopt is allowing citizens to comment on the legislation using a web form. It’s a really basic thing but currently the state website does not allow you to do this. A quick and easy way to submit written testimony that goes along with public hearings might encourage more people to submit their testimony and ideas.

Having worked with some state agencies when doing some academic research I know they are willing and able to share data. The Yankee Institute recently put up a large amount of data from the comptrollers office. I do not believe they are unwilling to change, they just need some help from the next generation of nutmeggers.

My Guy Announces his Candidacy

Over the summer I was fortunate enough to get to work for Dan Malloy’s exploratory committee. Today I got to see him announce his candidacy in Hartford. Dan’s pitch is simple and compelling: he successfully ran Stamford and therefore has the experience needed to be successful in running Connecticut.

Dan is also participating in the Citizens’ Election Program. This program requires candidates to collect small donations from a large number of donors in order to get a grant to run their campaign with. This allows candidates to not feel indebted to large donors and spend more time talking to people instead of raising money. As a result the field of candidates for governor this year is larger than 2006.

To learn more about Dan check out his website or just ask me.


Sometimes it's the Little Things

Today I got the 4GB of RAM I ordered to upgrade my 13" MacBook Pro. Installing the upgrade was quick and painless procedure. However after I successfully installed the RAM the backlight on my keyboard stopped functioning. I called up AppleCare support and after a few prompts I was connected to Megan. The first surprise was that Megan did not seem to be from a foreign country. Second was the manner in which she counseled me through my new problem. She was pleasant and after informing me I was out of phone support she advised me of all my options. I was lucky because when I tried to reinstall the old RAM and I discovered I had knocked a ribbon cable that supplied power to the backlight out of its place. After replacing it my backlight came to life. This is the type of issue that likely would not have been noticed or solved over the phone. However I will never forget how painless and helpful my experience with AppleCare support was.

Theme Change and Update

I know I've neglected this blog quite a bit lately. I pulled a new theme for it from the Drupal theme gallery which I believe looks a bit cleaner than the previous one. I also cleaned up the spam. I hope to update this blog a little more frequently over the coming year. If you have suggestions on issues to write about or for a better theme please feel free to let me know.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.