After only 30 percent of undergraduates participated in last week’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) runoff elections, Zarnab Virk ’20 was elected USG president, and Heavyn Jennings ’20 was elected USG social chairperson.
Virk continues a trend of female USG presidents, and will represent the fifth female president in as many years. She will serve the Class of 2019.
Virk received 64.3 percent of the vote in the presidential election, with 1023 votes, whereas Nate Lambert ’20 received 568.
In the first-round election, Virk received only four more votes than Lambert.
In an email to the The Daily Princetonian, Virk wrote that she learned a lot from her campaign experience and plans to continue working hard to execute her platform and represent University students.
“I feel honored to have this ability to serve the student body, and I’m so thankful for everyone that helped make it happen,” she wrote.
Virk plans on connecting with current USG members and her new team over winter break “to outline priorities and craft a plan to tackle issues on campus.”
Lambert told the ‘Prince’ that he is proud of the campaign he ran, thankful to everyone who supported him, and excited to explore new things on campus beyond USG.
“Having worked closely with the many members of USG who will be returning next year, I’m confident that they will continue to produce great work for the undergraduate community,” he wrote in an email.
Current USG president Rachel Yee ’19 said she is proud of all of the candidates for “taking a step in being civically engaged.”
“Obviously, elections are a very public process, and you’re putting yourself out there for public scrutiny,” Yee said. “So every single person, regardless of the outcome of the election, I am very thankful that they stepped up to run.”
Yee declined to comment on the specific outcome of the USG presidential election.
In the runoff election for social chairperson, Jennings received 65.7 percent of votes.
In the first-round election, Jennings received 47.8 percent of the vote, just 2.2 percent short of an outright victory.
“While I wasn’t particularly nervous, I was anxious to find out the results,” Jennings wrote in an email statement to the ‘Prince.’
Jennings added that she is excited to take on the position and “can’t wait to start brainstorming with everyone on the upcoming social events.”
In the runoff, she received 1057 total votes. Ans Nawaz ’21 received 551.
Nawaz did not respond to request for comment. Nawaz is a former photographer for the ‘Prince.’
In total, 1,622 ballots were cast. Thirty percent of undergraduate students voted, a decrease from the 38 percent turnout in the first round.
Yee said she was disappointed in the turnout.
“We were really aiming for over 50 [percent]. That’s always been the goal,” she said. “I really do believe that if we are encouraging people to be civically engaged, that also means being civically engaged in our own elections.”
Yee said that she agreed in part with a recent ‘Prince’ editorial in which the Editorial Board refrained from endorsing a candidate in the USG presidential election because “none of the candidates’ platforms contend with one another.” The Board also expressed regret for the fact that six of the 10 USG first-round races were uncontested.
“I do hear what they were saying in terms of the lack of engagement, and this is not just something that is unique to this election,” Yee said. “If you look back historically, there are so many positions that are unopposed, and I want to understand why and what we can do to change that.”
Voting was open from Monday, Dec. 10, at noon to Wednesday, Dec. 12, at noon for the winter runoff elections.