Last night, in a call to arms for his new administration, USG President David Ascher '99 challenged those involved in student government to exhibit "passion" in their public service this year.
At the new administration's first senate meeting, Ascher said USG members should risk being called "tools" or "nerds" to be dedicated to the issues that affect students.
"Passion and levelheadedness can go hand in hand," Ascher said, adding, "What concerns me is that you don't hear a lot about passion. There's a stigma, you might even say a taboo, attached to that word."
"I think it's time we changed the definition of what's cool and what's not cool," Ascher said. "We don't have to hold a sit-in to captivate administrators' attention."
Referring to the Yale student government's discussion of land mines and other international issues, Ascher said the USG should focus on topics that pertain exclusively to the Princeton campus.
To ensure that the new USG has the people needed to fulfill his promise, Ascher infused his administration with five new members last night.
The senate approved Sas Silver '00 as executive secretary; Rebecca Choi '00 as co-chair of the Projects Board; Chi Soo Kim '99 as student groups advocate; and Caroline Coleman '00, Teddy Nemeroff '01 and Roy Eakin '01 as U-Councilors.
Additionally, Mark Mahan '98 announced that he was resigning from the U-Council after two and a half years of service.
Finally, Ascher announced that T.J. Mather '99 and Mike Craig '00 – the new USG "Web team" – have formed an online calendar that will include all University events and student group events.
In other news, the USG embarked upon preliminary discussions to elongate Winter Break, which will be only 16 days for each of the next two academic years.
"There is a discrepancy in the formula the registrar uses to calculate the Winter Break," said Academics Chair Todd Rich '00, adding that University regulations stipulate the break must be between 17 and 24 days.
Treasurer Luis Guzman '99 presented the Spring '98 USG budget, which the senate approved. However, there was confusion about the amount allotted for the Projects Board, which was granted $25,000 last semester and only $20,000 for this semester.
Ascher said that spring budgets often grant less to the Projects Board than fall budgets because there are fewer applications from student groups in the spring. In addition, Guzman added that some reserve funds could be used if Projects Board grants exceed $20,000 this semester.
Projects Board co-chair Bianca Toness '99 submitted this week's Projects Board grants, including $3,075 for Black History Month events, $550 for the upcoming intramural college bowl and $1,220 for International Consortium concerts.