WNPR

UConn Students Look To Partner With Businesses At Downtown Hartford Campus

Aug 28, 2017

Classes started on Monday at UConn's new campus in downtown Hartford. 

As freshman Chanel John Charles toured the campus during orientation, she said she likes what she sees.

"I'm lovin' it this far," she said.

The economics major lives in the capital city, and she could even walk to school if she wanted to. That might not have been the case if the campus was still in West Hartford.

"This one is actually better for me," she said. "I love the location, there are a lot of places to go to, to hang  out, so it's great."

One of the reasons the city sought the $140 million project -- which is the largest of its kind in over a decade -- was to offer opportunities for students to collaborate with local organizations.

Several businesses nearby are excited about the prospect of having another 2,300 students and 300 UConn staffers as potential customers. Some are even accepting Husky Bucks, which is UConn's student debit card.

Orientation leader Hannah Nguyen said the urban campus offers many opportunities for students.

"We have internships right at our doorstep. We have community partners. We're kind of like reinvigorating the community with our campus being here," she said. 

Some undergraduate majors can be completed in Hartford, but others are only two-year programs. Those students would have to eventually transfer to the main campus at Storrs if they wanted to complete their bachelor's degrees, though the university does offer transportation.

State-funded costs roughly doubled from the original $70 million estimate, and the project took over two years to complete.

The town of West Hartford now owns the old UConn property, though it's unclear what the town will do with the land and its five buildings.