At the competitive USG debate last December, USG President Stephen Daniels ’24 touted his record of getting things done. “When I have said something will happen on USG, it has, and I hope to continue to keep my promise to focus on results over rhetoric,” he said.
“I’m not someone who will ramp up the rhetoric right before elections, with limited successful policy advocacy to show for it,” he continued. His work in USG prior to his role as president included establishing the Pay with Points program, contributing to the Mental Health Report, and working on the CPS Cares Line.
A semester into his term, Daniels spoke to the ‘Prince’ about what the administration has accomplished. The most significant change has been a more-than-doubling of the Student Activities Fee, which will enable significant increases in USG programming in the future. The group voted in its last meeting of the semester to double Student Activities fees from $45.50 to $95.50 in order to cover its shortfall and also expand their capacity to offer various programming to students. Daniels also highlighted making the mental health committee a core committee and successful events. Some of Daniels’s campaign proposals have not gone into effect, though Daniels noted a Campus Pub pilot might be run during the fall semester.
Activity fee increase takes center stage
Daniels highlighted the importance of the activity fee increase. “That’s part of where we struggle, especially in comparison to peer institutions, is that because we just have less resources, we can’t do a lot of the programming that other schools can,” he said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian.
“And that means supporting smaller scale communities like clubs in a way that maybe we haven’t been as aggressive with in the past, but also prioritizing large scale events like the March Madness, and then Lawnparties and trying to make those as strong as possible,” Daniels continued.
Daniels emphasized work regarding “the formalization and continuation of our work around mental health” as one of the USG’s biggest achievements this semester. The Mental Health Committee was established as a core committee, elevated from an ad hoc committee without an elected chair. The committee has recently been working on the “development and initialization of the LYFT programs” that enable transportation to off-campus mental health providers. The committee has hosted luncheons throughout the semester inviting students to dine at Prospect House with administrators to discuss mental health.
Daniels also said he was proud of the group’s achievements with “large-scale programming on campus.”
“We ended up wristbanding around 3,500 undergrads for Lawnparties, even with the horrible weather,” he said, adding that other events like the March Madness launch party, Farmers Market, and Tigers in Town were incredibly popular with students.
“We’re just sort of getting to the point where, post-pandemic, we have a really good sense of what students want,” said Daniels. He explained that the group was “hitting capacity at all our events, which to me indicates some sort of met demand, which is part of why we’re pursuing the budget process.”
One of the key plans of Daniels’s platform was a focus on Princeton’s social life. Building on his previous work on the Pay with Points program, he called for the initiative to be expanded to upperclassmen. He also proposed working towards expanding co-ops. One of his most significant proposals was reviving the Campus Pub, a bar formerly located in the basement of Chancellor Green.
While Daniels didn’t note any progress this semester, he highlighted plans for the fall. “The design of [the Campus Pub] is not particularly specified yet,” Daniels said, but said USG hoped to have some pilot events. “The hope would be for that to be in the fall.”
Daniels also focused on academic changes. His platform called for changing parts of the University’s academic structure, such as preventing assignments from being due right after or over breaks and raising questions about the usefulness of a 12-week semester.
Academics Chair Srista Tripathi ’25 did not mention those specific programs but noted “class preparedness for introductory courses” as one issue USG would continue working on.
Daniels also proposed holding regular office hours and increasing transparency for the Dining Pilot working group. No office hours have been publicly advertised yet.
In the committees
Elected committee chairs highlighted their progress as well.
In a statement to the ‘Prince,’ DEI Chair Uma Fox ’26 commented on the committee’s work expanding campus inclusivity through “listening sessions with affinity groups, advocacy for gender-inclusive changes to the matriculating housing form and campus bathroom policies, and student involvement in the drafting of the University’s Annual DEI report.”
“The social committee’s two main tasks this semester were planning Lawnparties and Dean’s Date,” Social Chair Avi Attar ’25 wrote. “We thought creatively about how to improve each event this semester and going forward, and we are extremely happy with how successful each one was.”
Campus and Community Affairs (CCA) Committee Chair Isabella Sibaja ’26 highlighted the “Tigers at the Market” program developed alongside the Princeton Farmers Market Committee that enabled 150 students to receive a $5 voucher to be used at the market each week.
The CCA Committee, along with the Office of Community and Regional Affairs, also “hosted a student porch as a part of Princeton Porchfest, in order to provide an opportunity for students to interact with the local community,” said Sibaja. The committee also developed a Tigers in Town event that ran in conjunction with Porchfest.
Tripathi said “the committee focused on student-faculty communication and transparency, working on minors programming as they continue to be approved, and facilitating discussions between students and deans.”
16 minors have been approved thus far.
The committee also worked on “financial aid reform for disciplinary proceedings,” perhaps referencing the loophole where a small number of students who are suspended due to an Honor Code offense in the middle of the semester are ineligible for financial aid.
One committee that has faced turnover this term is the Sustainability committee. Committee Chair Sean Bradley ’24 resigned mid-term and the new chair Isha Patel ’25 was only appointed at the last meeting of the semester.
University Student Life Committee (USLC) Chair Caitlin McNally ’24 did not respond to a request for comment from the ‘Prince’.
Plans for the fall
Daniels expanded on his future plans for USG, saying they are currently planning for a Community Care Day on a day in late October “where professors will be encouraged to cancel classes or restructure their work” thereby enabling “campus to come together as a community with a wide variety of programming.”
Looking ahead, Daniels hopes to expand programming given student feedback, particularly through Passport to the Arts and improving the experience for vegan and vegetarian students in the dining halls.
“We can’t promise to do everything. All we can promise to do is try and if you do reach out to me [or] send me an email, I will read it and I will, most times, follow up with someone,” said Daniels, emphasizing his commitment to responding to student feedback.
Discussing the work by the group so far, Daniels said. “I think we’ve been reasonably successful up to this point, but if you ask any of my friends, I am very hard on myself and I don’t think we’re close to where we can be.”
“That’s why I’m sort of excited that we're only a third of the way through this year,” he said.
Nandini Krishnan is a staff News writer for the ‘Prince’ who usually covers the USG.
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