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USG meets ahead of school year to discuss construction updates, budget proposals

<h6>Alison Araten / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Alison Araten / The Daily Princetonian

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Senate met on Sunday, Aug. 21 via Zoom to approve several budget requests prior to the beginning of the fall semester and update members about ongoing initiatives.  

At the meeting, Director of Transportation and Parking Services Charles Tennyson informed the USG that his office is working to transition the Tiger Transit buses to fully electric vehicles. 

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“The fact that we’re going to be able to have this emissions-free service operating on campus positions Princeton as a leader among our peers,” Tennyson said. 

The Senate also heard a presentation with updates on campus construction projects, during which Director of Campus Communications Erin Firestone discussed a new opt-in text alert option where individuals can sign up to receive information by text about new road closures, water shut-offs, and other construction-related concerns. 

Firestone also described having QR codes posted near construction sites that link to a mobile landing page that provides information about all construction projects on campus and highlights the connections between each project and the overall goal of achieving sustainability on campus. Furthermore, Firestone explained that her office is working with the art museum to install posters and signage around construction zones that provide information about the projects but also help beautify the spaces. 

Project Communication Manager Karen Fanning also discussed ongoing work to frequently update signs and maps highlighting the best routes for walking and biking around campus as construction projects develop and pathways become accessible and inaccessible. 

During the meeting, USG President Mayu Takeuchi ’23 presented the Mental Health Initiative’s progress, highlighting its work to develop a wellness space in Campus Club.

Next, Ned Dockery ’25 and Walker Penfield ’25 shared their work developing a guide for first-year students as they acclimate to life on campus. 

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“The first years get so many resources thrown at them and so much information to the point where sometimes it can be overwhelming. We wanted to have this be our student perspective. You know, here are the things that would have really helped us when we were in your shoes,” Dockery said. 

Sustainability Committee Chair Audrey Zhang ’25 then discussed her committee’s goals for improving sustainability at Fall Lawnparties. 

“We’re having a two-pronged approach. One is asking students to be more mindful not to litter and the other is reducing waste as much as possible,” Zhang said. “Not necessarily zero waste, because that’s very hard to achieve at first, but I think low waste is a good way to describe what we’re trying to do here.”

Following these updates, the Senate transitioned to budget discussions. 

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Takeuchi explained, “The Constitution states that we have to vote on the budget as a Senate during the first meeting of the school year. But we have some activities that occur right at the start of this semester, which means they have to be planned before this first meeting, so we need to vote on a few budget items today before approving the total budget at the start of the semester.”  

The Senate voted to approve budgets for Fall Lawnparties, the Academic Expo, training for Senate members, and bagels and coffee for the first day of classes. 

The USG Senate will resume weekly meetings at the start of the fall semester. 

Alison Araten is a news staff writer for the ‘Prince.’  She can be reached at aaraten@princeton.edu and @alisonaraten on Instagram.

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