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Conference call unattended by UConn students, university worries

By Julia Werth
On March 27, 2014

The Council on Foreign Relations, offered by the University of Connecticut Honors Program, provided a modern day look at violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo via a conference call, but not one UConn student was present.
UConn Honors has been partnering with The Council on Foreign Relations to offer conference calls more than five times each semester for the past several years. This semester the six conference topics range from China's search for resources, to gender inequality that still exists today.
"These are great opportunities, I wish more students would take advantage of them," said Devin Opotzner, the honors program assistant.
Although students from the University of New Mexico to Pitzer College are partaking in the CFR conference calls, UConn students are not taking advantage of this great opportunity to expand their knowledge of events and situations around the world.
According to Opotzner, the honors program advertises these events on the Daily Digest, Updates in Honors, and the UConn events calendar, however, students still do not know these events are even taking place.
"If I knew I would definitely go," said Liz Fiechter, a 2nd-semester animal science major in the honors program. "I don't watch the news cause I don't have time, but I would really enjoy taking part in a discussion about the Congo, it's important and interesting."
Although today's students are much more tech savvy than their predecessors and they spend much of their time on the internet, according to Fiechter, most of them aren't reading the many emails they are continually barraged with.
"Paper the place," said Fiechter, "that is the most effective way to get people to know about events."
Fiechter suggests that fliers and banners in the hallways, stairwells and common areas of the honors dormitories are the best way to get students' attention and get them interested in going to academically enriching events like the CFR conference calls.
"It's not that I'm not interested, it's that I just don't know when these events happen," Fiechter said.

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