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USG discusses Dean’s Date programming budget and task force updates

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

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Senate met on Sunday, Oct. 31 to discuss and vote on several proposals.

The first proposal, a request for a budget allocation for the fall semester Dean’s Date celebration, was submitted by Social Chair William Gu ’23. The allocation request was initially set for $27,000, but Gu explained that this was intended to be spent at two semesters’ Dean’s Dates and clarified that only $20,000 would be used for the fall semester.

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According to Gu, $7,000 of the allocation will pay for food trucks in spring semester, and the remainder will go to food, merchandise giveaways, and miscellaneous programming in the fall semester. The Social Committee is hoping to order 1,000 pieces of merchandise — most likely to be scarves, according to Gu — costing about $13 each.

During the meeting, Senate Vice President Ashwin Mahadevan ’22 shared a budget from Spring 2019, available on the USG website, which allocated only $7,000 to the Dean’s Date social event. The allocation for previous fall semesters was $14,000.

The Senate decided to table the vote for this allocation until the next meeting so that Gu could conduct more detailed research on the cost.

“I don’t want to set a precedent [for this amount] because our budget is not going to be the same [in the future],” Treasurer Turquoise Brewington ’22 said, referring to this semester’s expanded USG budget.

Class of 2022 Senator Reade Ben and Class of 2024 Senator Mariam Latif gave a presentation on behalf of the Housing Task Force, which included details about air conditioning in dormitories, room draw, and the future residential colleges, New College East and New College West. 

While Ben explained that there is currently not a single solution for cooling older dorm buildings, he said that all newly built residential buildings will have central heating and air conditioning.

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Ben and Latif also emphasized that they would be incorporating as much feedback as possible into their reports and promoted a survey regarding matters related to housing and facilities. 

In a unanimous vote, $25,000 previously allocated to Tigers in Town was shifted to support the recently announced Off-Campus Dining Trial pilot program. The program is currently in a trial phase in which 150 students randomly selected from all those who apply will be provided a free lunch, dinner, and a snack off campus each week for four weeks.

Another proposal was made by Parliamentarian Kate Liu ’23 to formally list USG candidates on social media “in the order by which candidates submit their complete registration to the Chief Elections Manager.”

Immediate concerns were raised by members of the Senate, including assertions that this method would benefit existing members of USG running as incumbents. In one instance, U-Councilor Isabella Shutt ’24 pointed out that current members of USG would be made aware of registration deadlines before candidates who are not currently in USG.

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After an open discussion including many members of the Senate, the proposal was edited to promote the candidates in a randomized order.

Mahadevan pointed out that the order of all USG ballots are randomized individually for each voter, in accordance with the suggested revision. The edited proposal was unanimously approved.

The Senate also heard a presentation from Campus and Community Affairs Chair Lehman Montgomery ’22 regarding community services and internal resources. The Senate discussed details about institutional memory, mentorship programs, capital improvements, and performance management within USG.

Representatives from the University’s OneRespect campaign presented on the reinstatement of the campaign this semester. The program focuses on encouraging community respect and responsibility towards residential hall facilities workers using poster campaigns and student collaboration.

Facilities Communication Manager Cynthia Suter then opened the floor for discussion with the Senate, emphasizing that the program is dependent on student feedback and contribution.

USG Senate meetings are held in Robertson Hall Room 016 at 8 p.m. on Sunday evenings and are open to all.

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