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Photo Courtesy of Zarnab Virk

During its last weekly meeting of 2019, held on Sunday, Dec. 8, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) approved funding to bring a speaker to campus, eight new clubs, and a resolution to the Executive Committee. They also discussed incubator feedback and an Indigenous Studies letter.

Projects Board Co-Chair Rachel Hazan ’21 introduced the Chinese Student Association’s (CSA) request for $1,500 for the event titled “A Conversation with Steven Lim” on Feb. 13, 2020, in Richardson Auditorium. Lim, of Chinese-Malaysian American descent, is an executive video producer at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. CSA hopes this event will help undergraduate students learn more about different cultures and spark discussions about cultural identity and diversity.

“The contract has already been approved on the ODUS [Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students] side, Steven Lim just needs to sign the contract,” Victoria Pan ’21, a CSA student leader, said.

The funding request was passed, with only Hazan abstaining from the vote.

Eight new clubs were approved in the most recent Student Groups Recognition Committee (SGRC) meeting and approved unanimously by USG.

One of the new clubs, the Princeton Sea Shanty Club (Shantopia), “is a musical comedy performance group that will provide an unconventional artistic outlet and a welcoming, energizing, and judgment-free space through the performance of sea shanties,” SGRC member Lutfah Subair ’21 said.

Other approved clubs included the Princeton Inter-Communal Arts Students Service Organization (PICASSO), Nepali Society of Princeton, Non-Traditional Students of Princeton (NTSP), TigerReport, Princeton Vegan Society, Fine Foods and Fermentation Club, and Kurdish Society.

A new USG initiative led by Isabella Faccone ’21 inspired much discussion. An incubator, modeled after those for startups, would help students advance their ideas for business or other endeavors. Such a program would “[refer students] to the right person, but help them workshop their application or whatever they’re trying to pitch, [to give them] referrals to appropriate points of contact,” Senator Tania Bore ’20 said.

Members discussed appointing an incubator coordinator, assigning a task force for the project, and designating the vice president as a coordinator. The incubator will be further brainstormed in future meetings.

“This initiative is still in the very initial planning conversations,” USG Vice President Chitra Parikh ’21 said.

Along with David Esterlit ’21, Parikh is a candidate for the next USG presidency.

Gabriel Duguay ’22, a USG U-Councillor and Indigeneity at Princeton Task Force chair, introduced a letter to dean of admission Karen Richardson ’93 on behalf of USG to develop strategies to increase the Native American and Indigenous student population on campus.

Duguay explained that geographic profiles impact student admissions, as it is very hard for individual admission officers to reach out and work with tribal governments in their respective regions. Princeton’s peer institutions, including Stanford University, Dartmouth College, and Yale University all have a separate admissions officer who focuses on Native American students. He called Princeton to follow their footsteps and work towards a more diverse student body.

“The letter will be sent, but it will be far more powerful if USG sends the letter together,” Duguay said.

The letter was further discussed in an Executive Committee session, which lasted for the rest of the meeting.

The Executive Committee Accountability Resolution was introduced by Treasurer Brad Spicher ’20. This resolution establishes that Executive Committee minutes will be transmitted online to all voting members of the Senate prior to the Senate meeting.

“This was to address some concerns between Executive Committee members and non-Executive Committee members,” said Spicher.

If any personal discussion happens within the Executive Committee meetings, members can request information be withheld. The resolution was passed unanimously.

General updates given by USG President Zarnab Virk ’20 included information about transparency initiatives and the upcoming USG elections.

There will be one more USG meeting during reading period in January 2020.

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