Sunday, September 27

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USG senate addresses Mental Health Initiative Board, Firefighters and Yik Yak

Members of the Undergraduate Student Government senate gathered for their weekly meeting this Sunday to address the opening of Mental Health Initiative Board applications and explore counter-Yik Yak initiatives.

U-Councilor and chair of the Mental Health Initiative Board Zhan Okuda-Lim ’15 presented an update on the board, whose applications are due by 5 p.m. on Thursday. The Mental Health Initiative Board is composed of three subcommittees, including programming, policy and Mental Health Week 2015.

Inquiries from senate members revolved around potential issues to be covered by the board, including whether students who have taken a year off due to mental health problems are allowed to walk with their graduating classes.

Additionally, USG social chair Logan Roth ’15 noted the USG’s need to “[look] at continuing the conversation on the withdrawal policy.”

Okuda-Lim said he hopes to meet with administrators this week to continue to discuss programming collaboration and policy issues.

Student representatives of the Princeton Student Firefighters Association and the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad attended the meeting to outline the growth of its membership quota. Robert Keown ’17 said that PSFA is hoping to expand by accepting 20 to 30 new members this year.

Campus and Community Affairs Committee chair Paul Riley ’15 will help organize a benefit cocktail party for the fire department and the first aid rescue squad on Oct. 17 to commemorate the student group’s achievement. The cocktail party will be organized by Princeton Merchants Association and McCaffrey's grocery store.

“It’s a great way to respond from the student’s side, the administration’s side, to appreciate the work they do,” Riley said.

The resolution for this event passed with a unanimous vote.

Members further discussed USG involvement in the anti-cyberbullying culture on campus, especially in light of the popularity of Yik Yak on campus.

Yik Yak is a location-based and anonymous Twitter-like application.

Undergraduate Student Life Committee chair Ella Cheng ’16 said it is important to counter the “Yik Yak culture” that has formed on campus and the cyberbullying that takes place within the application.

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Cheng is a former staff writer for The Daily Princetonian.

Further issues on Sunday’s agenda included Wintersession updates, Global Opportunities and an air mattress pilot program.

U-Councilor Katherine Clifton ’15 presented the long-term goals forWintersession, a week-long educational program for undergraduates during Intersession. The goals include continuing to provide student enrichment programs focused on leadership and community development, and having a target student enrollment of around 1,000 students.

Last year’s attendance was great, Clifton said, with more than 600 students taking part in the program.

Global Opportunities, a project seeking to centralize study abroad opportunities at Princeton, is still in its initial phases. Class of 2016 senator Yoni Benjamoni said that the committee is currently collecting data to outline the project’s central goals, but that the committee is beginning to reach out to establish communications with faculty and academic departments.

Finally, Class of 2016 senator Michael Cho said that he hopes to revive the air mattress rental project that former Class of 2016 senator Eduardo Lima had attempted to implement.

The project would facilitate a system in which students could rent air mattresses from the USG.

Cho said he has heard positive student reactions, with more than 30 to 40 sign-ups in preliminary interest surveys. Central questions revolved around holding renters accountable and creating an effective system with which to monitor the borrowing program.

Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misstated the role that Paul Riley '17 will have in organizing a benefit cocktail for the local fire department. He will help organize it. The 'Prince' regrets the error.