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The Daily Tar Heel

Winston Howes embraces technological solutions

Andrew, Emilio, Winston, Nikita
Andrew, Emilio, Winston, Nikita

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized Information Technology Services’s relationship with Winston Howes. ITS has not collaborated with Howes in producing a technological application. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

Stuart Howes, younger brother of student body presidential hopeful Winston Howes, smiled sheepishly when ConnectCarolina 2.0 was mentioned.

“You know ‘The Minor’ article where it profiles all the candidates?” Stuart Howes said, referencing the satirical, UNC-focused blog. “(We) had a good laugh when it said both his strength and his weakness were ConnectCarolina 2.0.”

Winston Howes’ candidacy is based off much more than the now-disabled ConnectCarolina 2.0; his platform calls for a more united and efficient UNC.

“One of the big things we are doing is trying to connect students across campus and pool resources,” Winston Howes said.

The junior from Chapel Hill has proposed three programs aimed at increasing students’ conversation and efficiency in allocating campus resources.

“Dinner for 8” is one of these programs, which would aim to get students to meet people outside of their social groups.

“You sign up and once a month, you have dinner with seven other people on campus,” Howes said. “The goal is to spread a social cause outside of a student’s normal social group, and create a more unified Carolina.”

Other programs proposed in his platform, “Kindergarten Lab” and “openUNC,” echo another theme of Howes’ message: If students have ideas, there will be easy-to-access resources available to them.

Kindergarten Lab would be a place on campus where students could use tools such as computers, Legos and Photoshop to develop their ideas.

“Instead of students coming to student government and saying, ‘Here is what we want to do,’ and then student government chooses one or two of those ideas, we are able to say, ‘Here is how to do that,’ and we will give you the resources and the knowledge to accomplish those ideas,” he said.

“openUNC” is a website proposed by Howes, similar to the infamous ConnectCarolina 2.0, that he said will allow any student to add on to any part of UNC’s online infrastructure.

The platform also mentions how “openUNC” would allow a practical payment method for student start-ups and secure various security issues within the UNC system.

Howes has said he also thinks some on-campus processes could be made more cost-effective via technology.

“Students complain about advising not being able to provide insight to their situations,” he said. “By automating that, and analyzing the data, we could cut costs within academic advising.”

Howes said he plans on collaborating with Information Technology Services on his proposed technological advancements.

Stan Waddell, chief technology officer at ITS, said his department has had discussion with Howes about the development of technology.

“ITS has worked with student body presidents on a number of technology initiatives, and we would continue this relationship with whomever wins the election, but we will make sure our work aligns with the mission of the University and is within the information security set forth by the University,” Waddell said.

Howes’ platform revolves around numerous changes to the technological infrastructure of UNC, but the end goal is pushing UNC to the next level.

“The goal is to make UNC more flexible to handle change because there are a lot of new technologies out there, and the higher education landscape is shifting quickly,” he said. “I don’t know why we want to be content with being level with our peers; one of the goals here is to distinguish UNC … and make it a leader in this coming time.”

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