In the primary elections last week for Young Alumni Trustee (YAT), the Class of 2022 selected three candidates to continue to the general election: Naomi Hess, Christian Potter, and Claire Wayner.
The primary election included 21 candidates from the Class of 2022. The elected graduating senior will join the Board of Trustees and serve a four-year term. The current Young Alumni Trustees are Morgan Smith ’21, Jackson Artis ’20, Sarah Varghese ’19, and Myesha Jemison ’18.
The YAT sits on the Board and votes like any other member. They are tasked with giving the board perspective on student life and “the needs, concerns, and interests of the current generation of Princeton undergraduates,” per the Princeton University Alumni website.
The Board, citing “long-standing policy,” does not allow candidates to run an issue-based campaign because “they do not run on particular platforms or take positions on specific matters of University policy.” This process has been widely criticized as undemocratic, including by the Daily Princetonian’s 145th Editorial Board before the 2021 election.
The ‘Prince’ sat down with all three candidates to hear about their ambitions for the position and their thoughts on the election.
“My goal if elected as Young Alumni Trustee,” said Wayner, “would be to start by listening — listening to the concerns of my peers, both those who have recently graduated and those who are still here, and bring those concerns to the Board of Trustees to try to enact change that will improve the student experience here.”
“Someone in this position needs to be proactive about learning what the concerns are on the ground. Not just expecting people to come to me with concerns, but going out and doing my own research,” said Wayner, a Civil and Environmental Engineering concentrator from Baltimore, Md.
Wayner is seeking to advance the work she did as the inaugural Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Sustainability Committee Chair.
“If elected, I would bring that expertise I have from serving on USG to understand how campus works and how best to enact changes,” she said.
“The Board often thinks about the resources of the University. The primary resources that often get emphasized are the financial resources and all the physical resources of the University,” said Potter, a School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) concentrator from McLean, Va.
“I think the characteristic I would really want to bring to the Board is an emphasis on human capital ... it’s the most important form,” he added.
Potter is seeking to draw on the experiences he’s had working with the administration and the Board as former USG President and as the undergraduate representative and member of the SPIA search committee for a new dean back in 2021.
“I reflected on the experiences that I’ve had here as USG President, but also as a student,” Potter said. “In all sorts of different experiences, I really felt [that] I’d love to be a part of this group, and contribute to that same spirit of giving back to the University having seen it firsthand.”
Hess, a SPIA concentrator from Clarksville, Md., said “my experience [in] navigating this campus when it’s not ultimately built for students who look like me, has shown me the importance of making sure that all students are included in decision making efforts.”
Hess is a ‘Prince’ news editor emerita.
Hess is hoping to build on her work as editor of the ‘Prince,’ founder of the USG Disability Task Force, and as a Peer Academic Advisor (PAA) of Butler College.
“It’s so important to bring in voices from all corners of the campus,” Hess added. “I want to make Princeton the best that it can be, now and in the future. I just want to make sure that this University which has given me so many opportunities does that for other students as well.”
General election voting will be open to the classes of 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. Voting opens on April 19, when all eligible voters will receive an email with a link to the election portal. Voting closes on May 11. The results will be verified on May 17 and the Board will announce the new YAT at the Alumni Council Meeting on May 20.
Lia Opperman is an Assistant News Editor who often covers University affairs, student life, and local news. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Instagram @liamariaaaa, or on Twitter @oppermanlia.
Gabriel Robare is a staff writer, as well as a Head Puzzles Editor, for the ‘Prince.’ He can be reached at email@example.com or on social @gabrielrobare.