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The contested races in the USG election, explained

Posters bearing the names "Warren Shepherd" and "William Li" decorate a bulletin board.
Almost 50 candidates are running in various USG elections this winter.
Rohit Narayanan / The Daily Princetonian

Aside from a now-essentially uncontested presidential election, Undergraduate Student Government (USG) races this winter are unusually crowded following a last-minute appeal from the current administration for more candidates.

After the Nov. 22 email to undergraduate students, candidates flooded into races for nine previously uncontested positions. There has been at least one uncontested race every year in the last 11 years of records from USG elections. 


On Monday, Nov. 27, presidential candidate Braiden Aaronson ’25 suspended his campaign, effectively making the presidential race the only uncontested election. Avi Attar ’25 is the sole remaining candidate. Voting opens on Monday, Dec. 4. 

Race for vice president takes center stage

Srista Tripathi

Srista Tripathi ’25 is notably running on a joint ticket with Attar, the presumptive president-elect. The two launched a joint Instagram account at the start of campaigning on Monday, Nov. 27 (@avi_and_srista_for_usg), and have also outlined their accomplishments and goals for the future in a joint Instagram post from their two personal accounts. The pair have also posted various flyers around campus. 

Attar and Tripathi’s social media campaign emphasizes their experiences as Social Chair and Academics Chair, respectively.

“As experienced core committee chairs, we’ve worked hard to improve student life on campus, from Lawnparties to academic minors,” their post reads. 


Additionally, they identify themselves in the bio of their joint Instagram account as “Experienced USGers running for Pres and VP.” Their page also shows ten key priorities, ranging from sponsoring tailgates and watch parties for athletic events to expanding meal exchange to independent students. 

In an interview with the ‘Prince,’ Tripathi clarified that she hadn’t initially planned on running because she “wasn’t sure what the role would look like” and how to make it meaningful, but has since gained greater clarity.

“I joined [Attar]’s campaign because we had a long conversation about our leadership styles and I felt very supported,” she added, explaining that they shared a common vision for changes to campus.

Tripathi identified improving the undergraduate experience and students’ ability to advocate for themselves as focal points for her campaign. She also emphasized the importance of changing the culture of USG leadership. “We don't roll with the punches and don't realize how to operate to be more effective and take into account criticism,” she said.

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Tripathi also said that she and Attar had discussed creating a Princeton experience “for all backgrounds and experiences” and ensuring “students can be their own activists.”

On social media, Tripathi noted that uplifting student voices would practically involve reimagining the role of USG by “engaging with students on a more proactive level through outreach and surveys.”

In regards to her campaign, Tripathi told The Daily Princetonian that she has mostly been “talking about general ideas,” rather than concrete policy goals. “The process of policy can be complicated, and Avi and I have thought a lot about policy that could actually happen and what I could achievably implement and can see taking form soon.”

That said, on her and Attar’s shared Instagram, Tripathi mentioned a number of tangible goals if she were to be elected vice president, including grade leniency for first-years and an expansion of the minors program.

Chase Magnano

Chase Magnano ’25 launched his campaign with a post on a new Instagram account (@chase4usg) on Monday, Nov. 27. The account’s bio reads that he is “running to elevate your voice, build community, and improve student life.” On the account, he particularly emphasizes his outsider status, given that he serves on a USG committee but has not worked in an elected position before. “I bring a fresh perspective to USG along with broad array of campus experiences,” he said. His instagram account had 84 followers at time of publication.

In an interview with the ‘Prince,’ Magnano said that he “always wanted to be involved,” and enjoyed making an impact as a member of the Campus and Community Affairs (CCA) committee. However, he found what he called a “lack of intersectional community” particularly pressing, especially between and across various class years. 

Magnano’s Instagram page similarly notes a focus on “intersectional community” along with an emphasis on “quality of life proposals” and elevating student voices. 

“The main three goals are to represent the views of the students — really focused on creating intersectional communities through tangible quality of life improvement,” he said in an interview. He noted that at present, USG “spends a lot of time on things that don’t have an immediate effect.” He said that expanding Pay with Points and late meal to upperclass students would be a change “that people feel everyday.”

Magnano added that he was particularly focused on community-based solutions and “bottom-up” approaches alongside “top-down” changes with regards to mental health. For example, he said he hoped to find “places to facilitate communities across different social groups,” and, as a result, improve student well-being on campus. 

He emphasized that “the most important thing is that I really love doing this, and I’ve loved getting to meet everyone.” He said he particularly appreciated “talking to people [he] wouldn’t have talked to before” as a result of his campaign. 

Warren Shepherd

In an interview with ‘The Prince,’ Warren Shepherd ’27 said his “campaign is about creating change” from the start of his time at Princeton. 

“A [first-year] is probably not going to win, but there’s a lot of important issues I want to bring up,” he told the ‘Prince.’ 

“No matter whether I win or lose, I want to be working on addressing these issues, and I would be happy to work in conjunction with the USG whether I am in it or not,” he added. 

Shepherd also clarified his answer to a question about mental health during the vice presidential debate on Tuesday Nov. 28, in which he said, “I got here without ever really dealing with many psychological issues and mental issues and which may be a special case, but I think that there’s a way to face this problem and still keep our academic rigor up.”

After the debate, he told the ‘Prince,’ “Many of us students came into Princeton with experience in dealing with extremely rigorous academic standards and workloads. In my experience, that did not result in undue mental stress. However, since I’ve been at Princeton, even with my first-year academic load being about the same as my last year of high school (which, given, was unusually heavy for a senior year), I, like many others, have dealt with mental health difficulties during my time here.”

Shepherd added that he believes the issue of student mental health is “much more complicated than simply throwing money at the problem,” emphasizing the importance of fostering relationships between students to improve mental well-being.

Shepherd is the only vice presidential candidate without a social media presence, but his campaign has many posters across campus.

He said that as a first-year student, he was able to identify issues that are “normalized” on Princeton’s campus which he has not seen at other universities, such as Frist Campus Center’s mail processing speed. “I have eight older siblings who have gone to different universities, and none of them have ever had to wait for an unknown amount of time for packages,” Shepherd added.

He also said he hoped to expand Pay with Points to upperclass students and to more businesses, particularly Wawa. He also aims to change the “academic schedule,” noting that “December 22 is far too late” to end the fall finals period. He relayed a story about a student who had trouble returning home due to travel complications and had to spend Christmas in the Newark airport.

Shepherd also noted previous experience in various student organizations and “5 years of work experience in real estate in purchasing, estimating, and land estimating,” which he said has given him a background “in logistics and dealing with bureaucracy and progress.”

He has also been particularly outspoken on creating pickleball facilities on campus. It is “the fastest growing sport in America, and it is interesting that the number one university in America has no facilities to play that sport,” he said, “We are not preparing for what is to come.” He added that “besides being an avid pickler” himself, he has a lot of experience in bringing the sport to college campuses, having helped his sister do so at the University of Georgia. 

Contested races up and down the ballot

Two candidates are running for Treasurer, a key role on the USG Executive Committee. This past academic year, current Treasurer Walker Penfield ’25 worked along with the rest of the executive team to implement an increase in student activities fees. Now, Uma Fox ’26 and Aum Dhruv ’27 are running to fill the role. 

Fox currently serves as USG Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Chair. A campaign account on Instagram, launched Wednesday, Nov. 29, advertises their accomplishments as DEI Chair and former U-Councilor. Fox notably introduced a gender-neutral bathroom referendum to the Senate during the last winter election cycle which passed a student vote with 58 percent approval by voters.

Fox’s Instagram post also describes action steps towards the goal of “fund[ing] community,” including “subsidizing New Jersey transport” and expanding Pay with Points and late meal to upperclass students. Fox and Dhruv’s platforms both emphasize accessibility of funds and transparency with students, but Dhruv’s does not specify any positions on the specific projects discussed in Fox’s post.

Dhruv was elected to the 2027 Class Council this fall, one of five representatives elected out of a field of 23. In his campaign for Class Council, Dhruv spoke about reimagining the role. “What do I bring to the table? I don’t. I aspire to be the table,” Dhruv wrote. 

In a statement to the ‘Prince,’ Dhruv noted goals such as increasing club sports funding and transparency with the student body,’ proposing that budget updates be delivered to students more frequently to help them “decide whether they think an increase in student activities fees is necessary.”

Nile White ’27, who previously successfully guided the class council campaign of Muhamary Kiherille ’27 as campaign manager, is managing campaigns for Tom Hobbs ’27 for Sustainability Chair and Luqmaan Bamba ’27 for Class of 2027 senator. Both Hobbs and Bamba posted graphics on their Instagram accounts in similar styles with personal messages from the candidates in their captions. 

Quentin Colón Roosevelt ’27 is competing against Hobbs for the Sustainability Chair position.

Bamba faces off against a 12-person pool for Class of 2027 Senator: Lina Lyssia Abtouche ’27, Oscar Barrios ’27, Olivia M. Bell ’27, Blake Brown ’27, Morgan Hoang ’27, Amanda Hugas ’27, Neha Marzan ’27, Tendekai Mawokomatanda ’27, Loreta Quarmine ’27, Sid Shah ’27, and Stanley Stoutamire ’27. Last year’s first-year class senator race included nine candidates.

Other class senator races are slightly less populated compared to the first-year group, though candidate pools for Class of 2026 and Class of 2025 senators have both increased since USG’s appeal for more candidates.

Four candidates are running for the two Class of 2026 senator positions: Samuel Licón Kligman ’26, Samiksha Gaherwar ’26, Sandy Zhang ’26, and incumbent Jack Ganley ’26.

Six candidates seek to represent the Class of 2025, none of whom have previously been elected to the Senate: Zain Ahmed ’25, Gustavo Blanco ’25, Okezie Eze ’25, Nicco Platt ’25, Bryce Springfield ’25, and Kevin Weng ’25.

Blanco and Springfield, the latter of whom formerly served as co-chair of Princeton Young Democratic Socialists of America, are running on a joint ticket with a politically progressive platform that seeks to prioritize “non-institutional routes to change that challenge the University administration in favor of students,” according to Springfield’s candidate statement. Kligman is the chair of the Whig Party, the left-leaning side of the Whig-Cliosophic debate association.

All committee chair positions are contested. Candidates for those races are as follows:

Undergraduate Student Life Committee (USLC) Chair: Jenna Elliott ’25 and William Li ’27.

Academics Chair: Vivian Bui ’26, Alex Kirk ’26, Jishnu Roychoudhury ’27, Danny Torres ’27, and Laura Zhang ’26.

Social Chair: Simone Acosta ’27, Enzo Kho ’26, Alice McCarthy ’27, and Caroline Schuckel ’25.

Sustainability Chair: Tom Hobbs ’27 and Quentin Colón Roosevelt ’27

Campus & Community Affairs (CCA) Chair: Shria Ajay ’27 and U-Councilor Genevieve Shutt ’26.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Chair: Kai Hostetter-Habib ’26, Abby Lu ’26, and Joseph Olatunji ’27.

Mental Health Committee Chair: Muhammad Elkayal ’27, Mia Jolly ’27, Meera Kochhar ’25, and U-Councilor Aishwarya Swamidurai ’26.

Shutt and Swamidurai are the only candidates for any committee chair position who were previously elected to the Senate.

Nandini Krishnan is a staff News writer and chief USG correspondent for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at nandinikrishnan[at]

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