Beginning at noon on Monday, Princeton’s Undergraduate Student Government will be holding elections through Wednesday in order to elect its leadership for the coming calendar year. USG has the potential to improve students’ experiences on campus, but it requires strong leadership in order to do so. This year there are three candidates for president: Aleksandra Czulak ’17, Grant Golub ’17, and Simon Wu ’17; and two for vice president: Jeremy Burton ’18 and Shobhit Kumar ’18. Every year, this Board endorses one candidate for the office of president and one for vice president. This year, we endorse Czulak for president and Burton for vice president.
While all three candidates for USG President have experience and good ideas, the Editorial Board believes the current USG vice president, Aleksandra Czulak, is the best among them for the job. The role of the president is to represent and lead the student body, something we believe Czulak is most suited to do. In her role as vice president, she presided over the USG senate and oversaw the many project groups and committees that make up USG. This administrative experience uniquely qualifies her to be an effective President. Additionally, during her tenure as vice president she took part in many meetings with current president Ella Cheng ’16 and administrators, giving her the chance to develop relationships she can leverage in her time as president. Further, her detailed campaign platform that spans issues ranging from mental health policy to eating clubs reflects the depth of her vision for the undergraduate student community.
While the campaign promises of all the candidates were compelling, Czulak’s experience and commitment to working with the Interclub Council and other student groups to explore major issues affecting campus is unique. She has evidenced her capacity to work with these groups by spearheading the recently-released report on club accessibility. The Board has written about the responsibilities that we have to one another as students in issues of mental health and sexual assault, and Czulak’s desire to work with groups on these issues represents a keen understanding of USG’s limitations and the value that input from these groups will provide. Her willingness to seek out input from student communities across campus — through focus groups and task forces — represents a level of forward-thinking that the Board believes will make her an effective president.
The role of the vice president in the USG is primarily internal. Vice presidential duties include overseeing the structure and operation of the USG Senate. These duties require working closely with the individuals in charge of USG’s many committees and projects. Given his experience as USG’s executive secretary, Burton seems particularly well-suited for the position of vice president. Burton’s current position requires compiling and publishing the agenda of all USG senate and executive committee meetings, which means that he has been exposed to the work of the many project groups in USG and has developed a working relationship with them. This gives him a significant advantage stepping into the role of the vice president.
Burton complements his experience with ideas for improving USG’s operation. A driving theme in his platform is making USG more efficient through collaboration between USG committees and other student groups on campus. He has worked very closely with the current president and vice president. Consequently, he has seen what parts of USG work best and what parts are less effective. Burton also expresses a commitment to internal feedback and criticism, which the Board sees as an important element in any plan seeking to improve USG operations.
We encourage you to examine each candidate’s platform and participate in the process of selecting the next USG administration. The individuals we elect will surely face complex and demanding challenges, and we believe Czulak and Burton are the best candidates for the job. We urge you to vote for them.
The Editorial Board is an independent body and decides its opinions separately from the regular staff and editors of The Daily Princetonian. The Board answers only to its Chair, the Opinion Editor and the Editor-in-Chief.
Cydney Kim ’17, Allison Berger ’18, Paul Draper ’18, and James Haynes ’18 were recused from the presidential endorsement due to conflicts of interest.
Aditya Trivedi ’16, Paul Draper ’18, Theodore Furchgott ’18, and Ashley Reed ’18 were recused from the vice presidential endorsement due to conflicts of interest.