Class of 2018 Senator Myesha Jemison ’18 and former Class of 2018 vice president Rachel Yee ’19 have entered the race for USG president.
Yee said she wants to improve student perception and awareness of USG's policies and activities. She explained that while the current USG has passed important policies, it has not been effective at communicating the results to the student body.
"I think that they have a disconnect between what they actually do, and how they communicate that. People do so much behind the scenes work, but it doesn't get publicized very well," Yee said.
Yee further explained that because of the general lack of communication, many students are not aware of USG's work beyond certain "feel-good" events such as Lawnparties or free class gear. This, in turn, hurts both students' perceptions of the student government's efficacy as well as USG's own ability to achieve its goals.
"I really see this as a self-perpetuating cycle where people don't think USG does anything, then they don't want to invest their time into USG because they don't think it's a meaningful use of their time. Then if more people don't invest their time, the same couple of people are bogged down all the time, which makes USG less efficient," Yee said.
Similarly, Jemison said she wants to increase USG's involvement with student groups as well as more far-reaching social issues.
Jemison said she planned to add a committee to USG that would focus on current social issues. The committee would be comprised of students with a diverse set of backgrounds, and it would provide an environment where students could discuss important topics regardless of their viewpoint. She added that she hoped to expand the scope of conversation provided by USG to beyond topics only relevant on campus.
"USG is just a small contingent within the wider Princeton area, within New Jersey, within the United States, within the world... We should be engaging in issues that aren't just specific to our campus, but also apply to the wider communities that many students come from," Jemison said.
"I want to really branch out USG to not be just this smaller body of 30 to 100 voting members, but a much larger part of the population that is really engaged policy-wise," Jemison added.
Yee also said she wants to address the overcrowding and lack of availability of counselors at Counseling and Psychological Services by adding satellite offices in each of the residential colleges. She noted that such changes would reduce the stigma many students feel when making an appointment with CPS, as well as increase the accessibility of CPS services for those who live farther from their offices.
Yee also added that she hopes to install a current student onto the Board of Trustees, which supervises nearly all policy changes on campus.
"In terms of having real USG power, that's having representation directly to the people who are going to make these decisions," Yee said.
Jemison said an initiative she hopes to undertake is ingdiversify the participation in USG. Jemison said that while USG is currently composed of a diverse group of students in regards to gender, major, and race, she hopes to recruit more student groups who are under-represented, such as athletes.
"I think there's still strong contingency of students that still wants to be involved in the policy that this university is implementing, whether that be through an institution like USG, or through conversation with faculty and administration," Jemison said.
She also stated that she hoped to bridge the communication gap between the USG and students by instituting another committee within USG designed to gather feedback. The committee would serve as a liaison between USG and the student body, providing a clear consensus of student opinion towards various campus issues.
Jemison explained that her experiences as a Class of 2018 Senator has allowed her to spend time with the leaders of student groups representing many backgrounds, including the Hidden Minority Council. Her work gave the USG a better understanding of difficulties current groups encounter when starting or running their programming. She hopes to use this information to help future student group leaders manage and provide events for their group.
"[That] has allowed me to see what students want out of their Princeton experience as a whole, because student groups are what we do in our leisure time, but also represent what specific things are important to us... It has given me insight as an elected official as to what I can be doing to ensure that when students think back on their Princeton experiences, they think back on them with a smile," Jemison said.
Similarly, Yee said that her experiences as the state president of the New Jersey Association of Student Councils, in which she oversaw many students from schools across the state, makes her well-prepared for the position of USG president.
"The [New Jersey Association of Student Councils] has even more moving parts than USG, so I feel confident in terms of my ability to manage people. I feel the [USG president] position would be a lot easier in terms of communication because we are all physically on campus," Yee said.
Jemison is a Spanish and Portuguese major from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Aside from her position in USG, she works for the Community House, which provides tutoring to students from elementary to high school, Princeton's Caribbean Connection, and the Office of International Programs.
Yee is a Wilson School major from Mount Holly, New Jersey. Aside from her positions in USG, she is involved in the Asian American Students Association, Princeton Faith and Action, and the Dining and Housing Committee, among other activities.