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USG approves budget, two new task forces in first spring semester meeting

<h6><strong>Andrew Somerville / The Daily Princetonian</strong></h6>
Andrew Somerville / The Daily Princetonian

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Senate approved its semester budget, several task forces, and the appointment of 22 non-voting members at its first meeting of the spring semester.

The budget was approved unanimously but may be altered at any point in the semester with the approval of three quarters of the Senate vote.

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“There is a lot of leeway in terms of where funding can go, so I expect [the budget] to change over the spring semester,” USG Treasurer Turquoise Brewington ’22 said during the meeting.

The budget currently allocates $97,800 to be used during the semester with a surplus of $214,481.77. Brewington and other members of the Senate expressed the intention to allocate the rest of the surplus throughout the semester.

In the fall, USG received backlash after allocating $80,000 to a virtual concert. USG Social Chair William Gu ’23 suggested excess funds this semester be donated to relevant charities rather than spent on a concert, but Deputy Dean of Undergraduate Students Thomas Dunne questioned the feasibility of such donations.

“There are certain tax implications and other complications for USG to take money that was intended to do one thing and allocate it to something else,” Dunne explained to those in attendance. “The idea of taking these funds and redirecting them to non-profits is complicated from the University’s end.”

The Senate workshopped and re-approved the Disability, Sexual Misconduct, Mental Health, and Transparency task forces in addition to hearing proposals for and approving two new task forces.

The Technology Task Force, proposed at the meeting by Ayush Alag ’23 and Sahil Jain ’23, will “act as a liaison between pressing issues in the Princeton community and potential student technologies/software applications that can remedy such problems,” according to the proposal.

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The Dining and Nutrition Task Force is also an inaugural task force and was proposed by Reade Ben ’22, Muskan Effendi ’24, and Mayu Takeuchi ’23. Their proposal outlined goals in categories of sustainability, dietary awareness and education, and food accessibility.

Twenty-two new members of the Senate were voted to be approved in their appointed seats, including a newly created position regarding athletic representation titled “athletics liaison.” The athletics liaison is a non-voting member of the Senate.

“About 18 percent of Princeton undergraduates are varsity athletes and their issues and concerns are often unique, so it was crucial to [USG] that they have a voice,” USG President Christian Potter ’22 said.

After the meeting, Potter clarified that the constitution does not grant him power to create voting positions in the Senate.

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Five of the appointed members hold voting power in the Senate, including three core committee chairs and two Senators for the Class of 2023. 

Alisha Somani ’23, Lehman Montgomery ’22, and Gu were appointed to the positions of Undergraduate Student Life Committee (USLC) Chair, Campus and Community Affairs (CCA) Chair, and Social Chair respectively.

Alen Palic ’23 and Anaika Mehra ’23 will serve as Class of 2023 Senators. These seats were not filled in the recent winter election and were filled by an application and appointment process.

Palic is a staff writer for The Daily Princetonian. 

The Student Groups Recognition Committee also began the process of recognition for three new student groups and presented them before the Senate to be approved. The three student groups — the Asian Student Athletes of Princeton, the Coptic Society, and the Polyglot Society — were approved unanimously.

The meeting was held on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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