On Sunday, July 24, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) held a Senate meeting to update members on various ongoing projects, as well as providing a forum to discuss concerns about construction delays in Yeh College and New College West.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Housing and Facilities Task Force co-chairs Sean Bradley ’24 and Mariam Latif ’24 explained they had been in contact with members of the University administration about the construction delays, but had no more information about the delays than what was provided in the July 20 email sent to students living in the affected residential colleges.
Before opening the meeting to comments from members of the student body, Bradley addressed those on the call.
“The questions and concerns we hear today are going to inform a lot of our advocacy with administration, but we may not necessarily have answers to your questions tonight,” Bradley said.
During the following Q&A period, students raised various comments and questions, including when students given temporary housing will be able to move into their permanent room assignments within the two new colleges, suggestions that the University host a town hall to answer questions from incoming first-years, concerns surrounding the hours of construction in common spaces and its disruptions to students’ schedules, and requests that the University ensures that no students given temporary room assignments lose their housing accommodations.
Members of the Senate also contributed to the discussion, voicing additional concerns and proposing ways that the Senate can help impacted students.
U-Councilor Stephen Daniels ’24 asked whether the construction delays will impact the number of open dining halls across campus, expressing concerns that if the dining hall in the new residential colleges is not complete, the remaining dining spaces may not have the sufficient capacity to accommodate all students.
Campus and Community Affairs Chair Isabella Shutt ’24 emphasized the Senate’s role in serving the student body, and suggested that members of the Senate could offer assistance to students with temporary housing when the time comes to move to their permanent rooms. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair Braiden Aaronson ’25 added that USG could also enlist other Student Agencies to assist with the moving process.
USG President Mayu Takeuchi ’23 also expressed concerns that first-year advisee (zee) groups may be separated due to the temporary room assignments, explaining that this could detract from the sense of community provided by zee groups for first-year students.
Finally, Daniels questioned whether temporary housing assignments would be drawn from a series of rooms left vacant because they were deemed too close to construction sites.
At the conclusion of this discussion regarding the new colleges, the Senate transitioned to a conversation and update on ongoing USG projects.
Sustainability Chair Audrey Zhang ’25 highlighted her committee’s work on a Sustainability Committee Handbook, designed to serve as a guide for students on how to live sustainably on campus.
Social Chair Madison Linton ’24 announced that the Social Committee has confirmed the date of Fall Lawnparties to be Sept. 11, 2022 and has secured a headliner, which will be announced at a later date.
Finally, Chief of Staff Dillion Gallagher ’23 presented an update on the ongoing USG Reform Project. Gallagher shared the results of a survey the Reform Project group had sent to members of the Senate. He explained that the results of these internal surveys have given the Reform Project group many ideas about where to start working, but that they are still early on in the process.
“To give us some more context for the project, we’ll be expanding our outreach once we set foot on campus again so that we are involving the student body in these discussions as well,” Gallagher said.
In conjunction with the Reform Project group’s efforts to improve USG and make it more transparent to the student body, Takeuchi announced a change in the procedure of Senate meetings. At previous smaller executive committee meetings, USG committee chairs have shared updates and debated the role of each committee as well as the USG’s roles more generally.
Takeuchi explained the upcoming shifts in this process. “From now on, we want to bring that engagement of active discussion more to Senate meetings, so we’ll have these discussions take place at Senate meetings. This is to share more of what we do with the broader student body, as all of our Senate meetings are fully public and open to the student body, as well as to make more of our processes within USG visible and transparent to the full student body so that we can keep ourselves accountable.”
The meeting was held via Zoom on July 24 at 9 p.m. Another meeting of the USG Senate will be scheduled for sometime in August.
Alison Araten is a news staff writer for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at email@example.com and @alisonaraten on Instagram.