In its weekly meeting on Mar. 5, the Undergraduate Student Government confirmed new committee members, recapped a meeting on student health care and Mental Health Week, and deliberated future steps for the student room guide.
Vice President Daniel Qian ’19 called the meeting to order and called for a simple majority to vote to approve minutes from the USG meeting two weeks ago. The simple majority vote was confirmed.
President Myesha Jemison ’18 then gave the President’s Report. She debriefed two recent meetings. In the first, Jemison met with Deputy Dean of Undergraduate Students Thomas Dunne and discussed social action at the University and improving campus accessibility, noting that Nassau Hall is not handicap-accessible. With Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun, Jemison discussed improving the relationships between USG and the Carl A. Fields Center, Davis Center, LGBT Center, Office of Disability Services, and Women*s Center as well as improving student accessibility to USG. She proposed possibly moving the USG meeting locations each week to increase student exposure.
U-Councilors Olivia Grah ’19 and Miranda Rosen ’18 raised the question of whether moving locations would truly lead to more non-USG members attending meetings.
University Student Life Committee Chair Tania Bore ’20 asked if the days of the week and time of the meetings could be varied.
Class of 2018 Senator Eli Schechner ’18 argued that the lack of attendance at meetings was not because of problems with the location.
“We should update our website first — it still says our meetings are at 3 p.m.,” said Schechner.
Qian asserted that more thematic meetings focused in-depth on one topic might be effective in drawing attendance.
Jemison then announced the two new members of President’s Advisory Committee on Architecture, Jack Lohmann ’19 and Anna Marsh ’20. Jemison concluded her report with a reminder of Monday’s Day of Action and the Graduate Student Government meeting on Wednesday, March 8, and urged all USG members to be familiar with the University’s Campus Plan Overview. The Day of Action is a “campus-wide day of conversation and action” at the University where a series of teach-ins and town halls will be conducted, according to its official website.
Following these announcements, Social Committee Chair Lavinia Liang ’18 announced committee updates. The social committee had its first meeting Feb. 27 and, due to its large, 16-person size, is breaking into project teams of Lawnparties, publicities and promotions, arts, and concerts. Twelve students applied to be on the committee. Liang interviewed seven, and chose four: Ojima Agada ’18, Camilla Zecker ’19, Thomas Hoopes ’20, and Apria Pinkett ’20. USG then confirmed the candidates, with 22 members voting to confirm, and none abstaining or voting against. Liang emphasized the social committee’s new logo, and Qian encouraged all committees to develop logos.
Diversity and Equity Committee chair Jeremy Burton ’18 then introduced his new team members. Burton noted there were 11 completed applications, from which four applicants were chosen: Jaylin Lugardo ’20, Irma Qavolli ’20, Sydney Jordan ’19, and Avanthi Cole ’18. There are three returning members.
Grah pointed out all members were majoring in humanities. “Where does diversity come in?” she asked. Burton pointed out that current committee member William Pugh ’20 is undecided.
The new committee members were confirmed with 22 votes in favor, and none abstaining or opposed.
Director of Communications David Lopera ’19 submitted his pick for new chief website manager, Ikaia Chu ’20. Chu was confirmed with 22 votes, and Lopera noted the communications team is now full.
U-Councilor Nick Wu ’19 provided a debriefing of a meeting about how the student health plan may change with the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He emphasized that Princeton is self-insured and can choose what to cover, so may continue to cover birth control and IUDs no matter how the policy changes nationwide.
Wu also announced that students are now allowed unlimited University Health Services visits for mental health reasons, and repeated that Calhoun was very interested in enabling health plans to account for the impact on students if the ACA was repealed.
Mental Health Initiative Co-Chair Tobi Jegede ’18 provided a recap of Mental Health Week, which was Feb. 20–26.
Jegede highlighted the week’s successes, such as a “Show your stripes” display.
“Events when we were giving away things they were more well-attended because Princeton students like free stuff,” said Jegede.
She also noted that talk-backs after Me Too Monologues and Smile events were very effective, while a meditation event led by Vivek Dinodia ’17 was not well-attended, likely because it was on a Friday afternoon.
Schechner asked how the committee planned to measure the initiative’s impact.
“What’s the plan on collecting metrics on the impact of Mental Health Week? What’s the next step?” he asked.
Jegede announced they had not specifically thought about that, but noted that “Tell Me About Your Day” stickers given out at Frist Campus Center tabling during Mental Health Week were becoming pervasive.
Jegede also noted that next year, the committee would advertise more and find better times.
“We should do specific advertising for events and fix the times of events, fewer afternoon events, more late evening events,” she said.
Lastly, Class of 2019 Senator Andrew Ma announced the status of Student Room Guide on TigerApps. Ma spoke about his meeting with outgoing IT Chief Developer Benjamin Parks ’17 and Director of Housing Angela Hodgeman. They are trying to make the app update, to reinstate room reviews, and to ensure the sustainability of TigerApps.
The administration has two concerns: making sure the app complies with University policy, and ensuring accuracy of information, as last year students complained about inaccuracies and wanted priority room draw this year.
Public Engagement chair Alison Shim ’19 noted the possibility of creating some sort of incentive for doing room reviews.
The meeting ended with Qian urging USG members to come to next week’s meeting, promising a guest presenter who would give an early look at the University’s new website.
This reporter is a committee member of the Mental Health Initiative.