Hey, Princeton! My name’s Matt Miller, and I’m running for Undergraduate Student Group president because I see a whole host of problems with easy fixes. I’m the only candidate that has been on USG this past year (I worked in communications), and while I was on USG, I saw some problems that I wanted to fix but couldn’t. You can read my whole platform on my website , but here are some highlights:
One of the things that make Princeton such a great place is the diversity of social circles on this campus. One problem is that large segments of the student body aren't represented on USG. I’m involved in a really diverse array of circles on campus that aren't involved in USG. I hope to give everybody a voice on campus and bring social groups together, no matter who they are.
Approachability is the key to having a USG president who can fight for campus inclusivity. Nobody can be in every social group. If elected president, I’d open up direct lines of communication to any group on campus that wants to talk to me. I will also reach out specifically to affinity groups on campus and establish constant, direct, and open lines of communication so I’ll be able to fight for any issues immediately. I’d also spend a couple hours every week at a table in Frist Campus Center for anyone to come up and talk to me. I’ll publicize the hours and be there to hear anything anybody has to say to me. If I’m told of a problem, I’ll fight for it, and fight for it loudly.
Mental health initiatives
Counseling and Psychological Services is overstretched in its current state. There’s no room to expand in the McCosh Health Center, which makes wait times up to five weeks. One way to help with this is expanding CPS to have additional offices in high-stress and underserved locations, like Jadwin Gymnasium and the E-Quad.
This helps in two ways. First, it helps decrease wait times. More counselors mean more appointments available. Second, it helps to bring mental health services to the student body as a whole. I’m a former athlete, and it’s tough to schedule an appointment around practice. Having counselors in Jadwin Gym means that they’ll have a better understanding of athletes and athlete problems, as well as athletes’ schedules and can help schedule appointments around practice. Same goes with engineers. Having counselors in the E-Quad means they’ll better understand engineers, engineer problems, and engineer schedules. This lowers wait times for all students, while simultaneously helping underserved communities.
I’ll also be a vocal advocate on campus for mental health. One reason I’m running for USG president is because being president gives you a mouthpiece to fight for all students. I’d be loud and proud fighting for students to take advantage of mental health services, and I hope to destigmatize the process.
A detailed plan on better Lawnparties acts
Rihanna and Maroon 5 have headlined Lawnparties in the past. I spend way too much time following the music charts, and I can bring back big rising acts like them that get us excited about the Lawnparties headliner again.
My strategy to have better acts for Lawnparties is threefold: hire rising stars, increase funding, and look to other genres.
I would try to hire acts that are on the way up. When we had Rihanna and Maroon 5, they had multiple hits under their belts, but were early in their careers. We knew their music and knew they would be stars, but they didn't command the same price tags caused by years of being established.
The Chainsmokers could have headlined Lawnparties in spring 2016, for example. At that point they had hits in songs like “Roses,” and were starting to blow up with “Don't Let Me Down.” It was easy to see that they had a good chance to become the stars they are today, yet they were still within our budget. Instead of looking back at spring 2016 Lawnparties and forgetting who headlined, how cool would it have been to be able to say you saw The Chainsmokers put on an awesome Lawnparties show six months later when “Closer” was blowing up and they were the biggest act in America.
Also, to get us to the next tier of acts, we should have increased funding by making aspects of USG more efficient. Eliminating opening acts and reallocating funds will give us the ability to get us back to the acts we used to have.
I’m an ex-athlete, and want to make the opportunities of Princeton better available to everyone. I not only would have a strong voice to advocate on behalf of athletes, but I have three concrete reforms I’d enact to improve athlete opportunities.
First, I’d fight to allow athletes to attend events on campus. Most events are scheduled at 4:30 p.m., when almost a third of the student body is at practice. This creates a vicious cycle — athletes don’t attend events because they’re scheduled at 4:30 p.m., organizers think athletes don’t want to attend because none show up, so they continue to schedule events at 4:30 p.m. when athletes can’t attend. I’d fight to break that cycle.
Second, I’d reform summer study abroad financial aid. Athletes can’t study abroad during the school year. To make study abroad more accessible, summer study abroad should receive financial aid no differently than semester study abroad programs.
Finally, I have two reforms to late meal that help athletes as well as the student body. First, increased hours — late lunch should go to 4:30 p.m. so that you can get a bite before practice and late dinner should start at 8 p.m. in case a late practice makes you miss dining hall dinner. Also, there should be healthier options — chicken fingers are great, but they aren't the best recovery food. Late meal needs healthier alternatives.
We already run buses for Thanksgiving to and from east-coast cities. Why not expand this program to run shuttles to and from JFK and Newark Airports at the beginning and end of breaks? This’ll save students the hassle of navigating the multiple lines of public transit or from coordinating Ubers — and would save students money. It’s an easy expansion of something that already exists — let’s make it happen!
I have other detailed plans for sustainability initiatives, work opportunities, referendum reform, summer financial aid, and more at my website . I also go into more explicit detail on how I’ll accomplish this all!
I’m just a guy who saw problems at Princeton with easy solutions and I want to make them happen. I’m the only candidate with both experience and outside ideas — and I’d be really thankful if you vote Matt Miller so I can spend the next year working and fighting my butt off for all you guys.
Matt Miller is a junior in the Wilson School from Philadelphia, Pa. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.