Kimberly Cross ’25, Gil Joseph ’25, Diya Kraybill ’25, Stephen Padlo ’25, and Ben Wachspress ’25 have been elected from a pool of eleven candidates as the Class of 2025’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) class councilors. Results were announced to students via email on Friday, Oct. 8.
Joseph, who is from Haiti, is a prospective concentrator in French, the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), or Sociology and attended an international boarding school in Germany. Joseph also served his senior class as student representative, during which he organized his school’s first Black Culture Week. The first-year class council elections were nevertheless a new experience for him.
“Although it was not my first time running for Student [Government], it was my first time campaigning, so I was a tiny bit nervous,” he wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian.
Joseph was initially uncertain about running but found that his background would allow him to uniquely represent the first-year class.
“As an international student from Haiti, it took a while for me to decide to apply to Class Government. I was worried about whether I was ‘qualified’ or not. I frankly do not know much about college culture, or American culture in general,” he wrote. “I then realized that it is exactly this position that makes me a valuable candidate for our class.”
Kraybill is a gap year student who is Bangladeshi-American and grew up in Singapore. She intends to concentrate in SPIA and pursue certificates in History and the Practice of Diplomacy and Values and Public Life. Like Joseph, she was also inspired to run for Class Council out of a desire to represent her fellow international students.
“Even though I’ve only been here for a little over a month,” she said, “I love Princeton so much and wanted to be in a position where I could represent Princeton and advocate for the interests of the Class of 2025.”
Her main goals include collaborating with University Health Services on issues of mental and reproductive health, bringing emotional support animals to campus, and working towards “greater representation and inclusion of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and international students on campus.”
“I want members of the Class of 2025 to know that they can always reach out to me to talk, or just to listen, and that I will do my best to always be there for everyone,” she said. “DM me @diyakraybill or just come talk to me whenever!”
Wachspress, whose supporters could be seen around campus with stickers reading “Ask me about my friend with BENefits,” is a gap year student from Bucks County, Pa. His priorities as class council representative include planning a first-year formal and designing merchandise for his classmates.
“I hope to be an accessible representative and to foster a community of inclusivity,” he wrote in his candidate statement.
In a message to the ‘Prince,’ Wachspress added: “I am super excited to represent the Class of 2025 and am so thankful they elected me.”
Padlo is a prospective molecular biology concentrator on the pre-med track and a native of Woodstown, N.J. His hobbies include golf, surfing, swimming, and metal detecting.
Padlo is eager to assist his classmates in the transition from virtual and hybrid classes to in-person learning at the University.
“Many of us are still acclimating as we reach the middle of the semester,” he said.
He hopes that by hosting fun study breaks and special events just for first-year students, he can help to ease the transition and “create an environment where everyone in our class feels comfortable and welcome.”
As student representative, Cross said that she also hopes to ease the transition to the University for her peers.
“A lot of freshmen including myself are constantly stressed as not only [are we] in a completely and drastically different environment in comparison to high school, but many of us haven’t been in person since March 2020, so we are still trying to get back into the groove of in-person schooling,” she wrote. “I want to try to work with the necessary personnel and also the other class officers, to offer more resources to help students in what is a very stressful time.”
Cross is an East Orange, N.J. resident from Jamaica who intends to concentrate in Politics on the race and identity track. Since the summer, Cross sought to forge connections across her class by creating an online community through GroupMe.
“Since we are [on] campus now, I want to continue fostering that sense of community and comfort among the students,” she wrote.
Starting their first year at the University fully in-person after one to two years of remote learning, the first-year class is navigating radical adjustments in all aspects of academics and student life, elections included. Campaigns for Class Council this year included a mixture of physical flyers and virtual outreach via Instagram.
This year’s election saw a turnout rate of 60 percent, with 803 members of the Class of 2025 submitting a ballot, a six percent decrease from last year’s first-year class government elections.
Erin Lee is a news and sports contributor for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at email@example.com.
Annie Rupertus is a news writer for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.