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Campaigning begins for USG winter elections

<h5><strong>Mayu Takeuchi (left) and </strong>Jasman Singh (right), the two candidates for USG president.</h5>
<h6>Courtesy of Mayu Takeuchi and Jasman Singh&nbsp;</h6>
Mayu Takeuchi (left) and Jasman Singh (right), the two candidates for USG president.
Courtesy of Mayu Takeuchi and Jasman Singh 

Campaigning for the Undergraduate Student Government’s (USG) winter elections began Monday, Nov. 29, after candidates were announced via an email to the undergraduate student body the night before. Students are running for various positions within USG, including president, vice president, treasurer, and class senators, as well as chairs of the Academics, Campus and Community Affairs (CCA), Social, and Sustainability committees.

Online voting begins Monday, Dec. 6 at 12 p.m. and closes Thursday, Dec. 9 at 12 p.m.

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USG president

Jasman Singh ’23 and Mayu Takeuchi ’23 are running for USG president.

Singh, a School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) major, represented his class in his first and second years as USG senator. He intends to jump back into office after taking a gap year by running a campaign that emphasizes improving student facilities and amenities.

“I want to prioritize areas where USG is uniquely able to make a quick, valuable impact on student’s lives without the need for significant buy-in from the administration,” he wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian.

As such, his platform includes implementing bike and scooter rentals on campus, creating off-campus options for students to use their meal plan with food delivery services like Uber Eats, and opening up more gender-neutral bathrooms.

Takeuchi, also a SPIA major, aims to draw from her varied academic and life experiences to serve her student body.

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Takeuchi spent the past year working in the USG as Sustainability Committee chair. As President, Takeuchi said she hopes to foster a student-centered environment at Princeton.

“My priority is student well being. Because yes, we’re students — and we’re athletes, artists, workers, entrepreneurs — but we’re all people, first and foremost,” she wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Her platform includes improving the quality of support at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) and off-campus care, removing the student contribution requirement for financial aid, improving student-athlete representation, and supporting the student-led movement for fossil fuel divestment at Princeton.

A presidential debate will be held on Friday, Dec. 3 at 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Zoom.

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USG vice president

There are three candidates for the position of USG vice president: Stephen Daniels ’24, Will Gu ’23, and Hannah Kapoor ’23.

Daniels is a First College Council co-chair, the communications chair for Club Football, a U-Councilor, and a CPUC Executive Committee representative. As co-chair of the Community Dining Task Force, he has worked with off-campus trial programs and hopes to implement permanent in-town dining options as part of the University’s meal plan.

In addition to community dining, Daniels intends to focus on disciplinary process and Honor Code reform, housing, anxieties regarding the pandemic, and communication with the administration.

Gu is an Economics major who has served as Forbes College Council co-chair, USG social chair, and as a Forbes College RCA. Stemming from his experience working with large-scale events and ever-changing COVID-19 policies, Gu aims to improve transparency between USG and the student body.

“One of the hardest roles of USG as an extension of Princeton students, is accurately voicing the dynamic ideas and concerns of the student body in a rapidly-aging, uncompromisingly traditional education system,” he wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Kapoor, who is concentrating in SPIA, has served as the USG director of communications for the past two years, and indicated hopes to continue her work through improving the USG’s transparency and accessibility for all students.

According to her statement, she aims to specifically address mental health issues, sexual misconduct on campus, academic accommodations, and social programming.

USG Campus and Community Affairs (CCA) Committee chair

Alexandra Orbuch ’25 and Isabella Shutt ’24 are seeking election for CCA Committee chair.

Orbuch was treasurer of her high school student council and is running on a slogan of “Pop the Orange Bubble” to encourage students to engage with the broader Princeton community.

“It is very easy to fall into a routine confined to the orange bubble, so I want to help them break that routine even in small ways — like grabbing a free meal at a local restaurant on Nassau Street,” she wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Orbuch plans to organize initiatives such as trips to local landmarks and to expand the Tiger in Town and Fall Fellows Programs.

Shutt is a U-Councilor and serves on the Mental Health and Transparency, Engagement, and Community Relations Task Forces in the Senate, which she says has shaped her mindset toward improving student life.

“I see USG as a facilitator of growth. This year, we will connect students to necessary resources and advocate for their rest and well being, so that they have the space to shape and improve our home,” she wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

As part of her platform, Shutt hopes to develop a community education program through the Pace Center for Civic Engagement Community House, a community dining program with local restaurants, and form CCA partnerships with community leaders.

Shutt is a former news contributor for the ‘Prince.’

USG Social Committee chair

The two candidates for Social Committee chair are Emma Limor ’25 and Madi Linton ’24.

Limor is an Operations and Research Financial Engineering major whose “goal is to bring energy back to campus: the energy of excitement that exists the first month of every school year,” she wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

From farmers’ markets to escape rooms to pie-eating contests, Limor hopes to help students break out of the cycle of schoolwork and appointments. She is also interested in implementing policies that can facilitate breaks during the day, such as cancelling certain Monday classes and installing napping stations.

Linton, who has experience serving as a member of the Undergraduate Student Life Committee, says she aims to bring the student body together on a platform of music, responsibility, and love. She plans to organize events such as Lawnparties with more student input and also hopes to make them safer with increased security and supplies on-site.

“I want students to have a say in what University-sanctioned social events look like,” she wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Class senators

The classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 will each elect two class senators. Gisell Curbelo ’23 and Kanishkh Kanodia ’23 are on the ballot unopposed for the two 2023 senator seats.

This race is one of four that will run uncontested.

“This is an infrequent occurrence, but it does happen from time to time,” wrote Chief Elections Manager Brian Li ’24 in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “In this case, there will be no election, and the candidates win by default.”

Curbelo hopes to apply her previous experience as Student Government president at Miami Dade College, Padrón Campus.

“There has been very little representation of transfer [students in] USG, and I hope to change that,” wrote Curbelo in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Kanodia notes in his platform that he plans to prioritize improving access to healthcare facilities, as well as amplify student voices on issues like free speech, the Honor Code, and mental health.

Three students vie for the role of 2024 senator: Sean Bradley ’24, Mariam Latif ’24, and Prince Takano ’24. Bradley and Latif both currently serve as 2024 senators.

“My three main policy focuses are sustainability, mental health, and housing inequity,” wrote Bradley in an email to the ‘Prince.’ He also noted his hopes to push the University towards fossil fuel divestment and address disparities in access to air conditioning on campus.

Latif also focuses on housing in her platform, citing a desire to improve room draw as a primary concern. She aims to address the specific needs of the sophomore class as well given their unique experience, having begun their time at Princeton during the pandemic.

Takano, the newcomer to the 2024 senate scene, wrote in his candidate statement that he hopes to improve student services and allocate more funding for student activities.

With the largest senator candidate pool by far, first-year students will pick from seven aspiring senators: Braiden Aaronson ’25, Ned Dockery ’25, Brenden Garza ’25, Kalu Obasi ’25, Walker Penfield ’25, Oscar Serra ’25, and Laura Vergara ’25.

Aaronson, who currently serves on the USG Sustainability Committee, hopes to continue efforts to reduce waste and energy consumption and “increase transparency surrounding dissociation and divestment.”

He also noted a desire to improve scheduling systems for McCosh Health Center and Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS).

Dockery intends to focus on student health by implementing resources for students who are unable to attend class. He also noted academics-related goals in his campaign platform, including adding new concentrations and developing plans for a mixed concentrations program.

In an email to the ‘Prince,’ Garza cited his leadership skills learned from six years in the United States Air Force. Focuses of his campaign include expanding therapy and other health resources and pressuring the University to divest from fossil fuels to set “more ambitious net-zero emissions goals.”

Obasi, who cites his leadership experience as an Eagle Scout, aims to maintain community-building activities while keeping COVID-19 cases low, as well as prioritize issues such as student mental health and transparency between USG and the student body.

Penfield, who brings experience from student organizations including Pride Alliance and Students for Prison Education, Abolition, and Reform (SPEAR), wrote in an email to the ‘Prince’ that he hopes to “become a bridge between student organizers and USG.”

Specific goals in his platform entail implementing “more flexible academic norms — like Zooming into class if you’re sick.”

Serra’s platform notes the importance of student voices, with a specific spotlight on issues like recognizing and investing in first-generation low-income students, divesting from fossil fuels, and working towards great racial inclusivity.

Addressing the Class of 2025 in her candidate platform, Vergara wrote, “My priorities are to make YOUR voices be heard.”

USG treasurer

Adam Hoffman ’23, who is concentrating in politics, is the sole candidate for treasurer having served on the Academics Committee for the past two years. His platform prioritizes transparency regarding USG financials and including student input on important financial issues.

USG Academics Committee chair

Austin Davis ’23 is the current Academics Committee chair, running unopposed for re-election this winter. He hopes to extend his previous work with designing COVID-19 recommendations and creating models for mixed concentrations and minors for more interdisciplinary study. His platform also consists of introducing more guidelines for academics during periods of illness, mandatory midterm grades, and a summer session.

USG Sustainability Committee chair

Audrey Zhang ’25 is running unopposed for Sustainability Committee chair. She aims to introduce various events such as an Eco-Festival or an Eco-Clash of the Colleges to inform and encourage the Princeton community regarding sustainability initiatives.

“I would also like to find ways to reduce waste around campus and increase respect for our environment. Reducing food waste and single-use plastics at Princeton will be a good area in which to start,” she wrote to the ‘Prince.’

Referenda

In addition to voting on Senate representatives, undergraduates will also have the opportunity to vote on a referendum regarding grading policy.

The measure, put forward by Davis in his current role as Academics Committee chair, would mandate that professors input midterm grades for all course levels. Currently, only 100- and 200-level courses require midterm grade input. This measure would disincentivize professors from using the “no grade” designation at the mid-term mark and create a TigerHub function for professors to leave written comments.

USG does not have the power to directly implement these changes, so if the referendum were to pass, the Senate would send a resolution to the University urging the administration to enforce them.

While a mental health-related referendum was proposed for the winter ballot and initially appeared on the election directory website when it was sent to students on Sunday, Nov. 28, it did not garner the required amount of signatures (10 percent of the undergraduate student body) in the allotted time. According to Li, the proposal was originally listed on the site only because it was created prior to the deadline for student signatures, and it was subsequently removed.

“The referendum was to encourage faculty to share mental health resources and contact information on their syllabi for support systems on campus, such as Counseling and Psychological Services, the Princeton Peer Nightline, SHARE, and the Office of Disability,” wrote Preeti Chemiti ’23, the referendum sponsor, in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Some student criticism on Instagram suggested that a note in course syllabi would fail to adequately address mental health issues.

In her email, Chemiti acknowledged the need for “more drastic and structural mental health reform,” but she maintained that “sweeping mental health reform at the administrative level is a process that unfortunately takes time … This referendum is merely a snapshot of the mental health advocacy work that has been conducted by students like myself, and it symbolizes a step in the right direction towards getting administrators to listen to students’ needs.”

She questioned: “If Princeton’s administration does not see support for something as ‘small’ as a syllabi blurb, how can we expect consequential mental health reform to be passed?”

Annie Rupertus is a first-year and a News and Print Design contributor for the 'Prince.' She can be reached at arupertus@princeton.edu or @annierupertus on Instagram and Twitter.

Erin Lee is a contributing writer for News and Sports at the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at erinlee@princeton.edu.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to reflect Danielsintention to implement a permanent off-campus dining element to the University’s meal plan, rather than an expansion of Tigers in Town.

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