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Yaroshefsky ’12: Incumbent eager to build on record

After defeating two juniors to win last year’s election as a sophomore, Yaroshefsky is now in the ironic position of facing a sophomore in order to retain his position. Running a classic reelection campaign, Yaroshefsky’s platform builds on his present work to address issues affecting students’ academic and social lives.

Asked why he wants to serve again as president, Yaroshefsky responded, “It’s just such a wonderful experience” to bring ideas to fruition.

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“Most importantly, there are still ideas that I have ... from last year that didn’t make the cut yet, because of other ideas that were more important or more timely,” he added.

Yaroshefsky said that his personality fits his leadership role. As an engineering student, he explained that he enjoys the challenges he faces in weekly problem sets, tackling similar challenges in student government.

Yaroshefsky has been running for office since he arrived on campus. Just weeks into his freshman year, he lost a runoff race for Class of 2012 president to Ashton Miller, who left campus halfway through his freshman year.

Two months later, Yaroshefsky ran for USG senator. Though he received the most votes, a glitch in the elections software resulted in the original election results listing him as losing.

In May, when the error was discovered in an audit, Yaroshefsky was offered the seat vacated by Becca Lee ’12. He declined.

Staying in his appointed position as chair of the USG Information technology committee, Yaroshefsky instead revamped the online voting system, among other projects.

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One year later, Yaroshefsky became the first president elected using this system, defeating USG executive secretary Jack Altman ’11 by a margin of 785 votes to 744 in a runoff.

Taking over for Connor Diemand-Yauman ’10, Yaroshefsky faced a student body that was somewhat skeptical of his ability to lead as a sophomore. While endorsing him, The Daily Princetonian Editorial Board had written that it expected Yaroshefsky to “face growing pains” if elected, citing concern with “his ability to delegate as a leader and provide a long-term vision to unify many of his goals.”

Over the first nine months of his term, Yaroshefsky has continued his focus on technology — overseeing the launch of a replacement to the online Student Course Guide and a new student events calendar, among other projects — while staying involved in the Chapel Choir and the club cycling team.

He has also won the endorsement of USG vice president Sam Dorison ’11, who initially endorsed Altman over Yaroshefsky last year but then remained neutral in the runoff race.

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“Yaro has done a great job running the USG this year. He coordinates the efforts of the USG incredibly effectively and channels the USG’s resources toward initiatives that improve the lives of students,” Dorison said in an e-mail.

Yaroshefsky said his experience in the USG would help him to begin a second term in stride. “The most important thing is probably the quickness at which I’ll be able to respond to ideas when we’re starting on a project,” he said, adding, “I’m familiar with the constraints of actually executing a project.”

Yaroshefsky also said his already-established working relationship with administrators would help him implement new plans and policies. “It’s nice to be in the loop already, and then build on that,” he said.

The drawback of running as an incumbent is that voters can scrutinize Yaroshefsky’s stated goals for his term, noting where he came up short.

As a first-time candidate last year, Yaroshefsky listed 24 goals for the USG, including some on which he has made little to no progress.

While the USG’s mid-term report cites accomplishments ranging from Yaroshefsky’s “Firestone Video Chats” to expanded free movie offerings at the Princeton Garden Theatre, many other projects are classified as ongoing or tabled.

On one goal — providing an online database with information about different institutions’ knowledge of Princeton’s grade deflation policy — Yaroshefsky admitted, “We hit a dead end,” explaining that Career Services refuses to disclose this list, though he still hopes to gain student access.

For his second year, Yaroshefsky said he would focus less on individual projects and more on core academic issues.

“We have a new dean of the college coming in; it’s a perfect time to take a step back and reevaluate everything in terms of academics,” he said, adding that the USG provides an excellent vehicle for expressing students’ concerns.

Specifically, Yaroshefsky wants the administration to address disparities among the quality of precepts by having “weaker preceptors emulate stronger preceptors” and improve the quality of feedback on written work.

Other specific academic reforms include making official course reviews more accessible to students and expanding academic discussions between undergraduates and their professors outside the classroom.

Yaroshefsky, a member of Charter Club, also said he hopes to improve residential life, through such initiatives as revamping event offerings at Campus Club. “[I want to] take what the eating clubs do well and put it in a format that would work with Campus Club,” Yaroshefsky said, explaining that this might involve holding social events, like dances, and creating an e-mail list to keep students informed about events.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Ashton Miller is currently a member of the Class of 2013 when, in fact, he is no longer at the University.

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