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Why Rachel Yee is my friend – and why she should be your next USG president

I first met Rachel Yee ’19 exactly one year and five days ago. I was getting late meal with a friend after a particularly unhappy meeting with a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services. I have bipolar disorder and despite CPS’s best, if limited, efforts, I was depressed as all hell. Rachel was going around talking to everyone. She was campaigning, I suppose, but I didn’t know that until later, and by then, I didn’t care. I didn’t care because Rachel did something that is unfortunately rare now. She asked me, a total stranger, how I was doing, and I unloaded onto her entirely too much personal information about how pointless my life was and how stupid I felt on a campus that was so smart and talented.

In response, she just hugged me. This girl, a good foot shorter than me, hugged me, a total stranger. To someone walking by, it would have seemed ridiculous — like a child wrapping her arms around a human-tree thing. But for me, it was one of the most touching moments of my time at Princeton — of my life, to be perfectly honest. To Rachel, asking me how I was doing wasn’t just a thing we do for civility’s sake — it was worth doing because, to her, people are worth caring about. It didn’t matter that hugging a stranger might seem positively uncivil. She just did what she promised — and still promises — to do. She saw a need, so she filled it.


The point of sharing this with you is not to convince you how wonderful a person Rachel is — she’ll do that herself when she turns up at your door, or meets you in a dining hall, or, like me, seeks you out at late meal. My point is to convince you that not only does Rachel care, but she’s also an incredibly smart, almost overqualified candidate with an incredibly well-thought-out policy agenda that is both relevant and within her powers to accomplish. My point is to convince you that, come the elections for Undergraduate Student Government president next week, you should vote for the candidate who is most worthy of your support and can be best entrusted to honor it. By the end of this article, I hope you’ll agree that that candidate is Rachel Yee.

The focus of Rachel’s campaign is on mental health and working with the administration and CPS to provide more and better mental health care for everyone. As someone who has been through his own series of mental health issues, it means the world to me that someone is so focused on helping people like me. I can’t help but think that maybe if someone like Rachel had been around, I’d have had the frequent and focused mental health care I would have needed to prevent my suicide attempt my freshman fall. And I really do think it might have. Even if it wouldn’t have, at least I would have had the comfort of knowing that someone had been fighting for me, even if they didn't succeed.

While mental health reform is Rachel’s most important issue, it is by no means her only important issue. She’s interested in reforming the USG to make it more accessible, so that people like me and you have some connection to the USG other than weekly emails and (bi)annual elections, so that the USG can be our USG. She’s not interested in running the USG for herself — she’s interested in making it about you. If you don’t believe me, just wait till she comes to your door, to ask you what you want her to do. 

But don’t take my word for this either — go see for yourself how many concrete ideas Rachel has on her website. You’ll have to go to her website to see all of them — I have only so much space, and Rachel has much more to contribute than can be put in them. Suffice it to say that whether you’re an independent, a freshman, a student on financial aid, someone who believes in the importance of mental health care, some of those things, all of those things, or none of those things, Rachel has thought of your needs and she’s going to fight for you. And if there’s anything else you need, she’ll try and get you that too.

I’m not asking you to vote for Rachel (much less campaign for her, as I am) — though I do sincerely hope you will. I’m asking you to give her a fair hearing. She may not have the glitziest platform or make the extravagant promises, but she is the kind of tirelessly dedicated, unfailingly honorable, and deeply compassionate person that we only come across a few times in our lives. If you give her a fair hearing, I am sure you will see the Rachel I see. And that Rachel is worth voting for. 

Asad Haider is a junior in philosophy from Lahore, Pakistan. He can be reached at