The University’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) convened for its first meeting of the spring semester on Sunday, Feb. 11, engaging in a series of discussions surrounding upcoming initiatives after announcing an increase in the USG budget. New USG President Avi Attar ’25 set the stage with a 10-minute President’s Report, articulating his vision for a collaborative and inclusive environment that he promised would benefit all students.
All new USG members were introduced at the beginning of the meeting. They attended a retreat on Saturday, Feb. 10 during which they formed working groups that spanned athletics, campus expansion, and international student concerns, among other concerns. Attar expressed eagerness to foster robust partnerships with all facets of the Princeton community, particularly in the realm of athletics, with a focus on bolstering student attendance and encouraging community engagement between athletes and non-athletes.
To begin this engagement, Attar announced an event coinciding with the Men’s Basketball home game against Yale on Saturday, Feb. 17. The event will feature sign making, face painting, and a merch giveaway from 7 to 8 p.m. Attar did not indicate the location of this event but said more information would come over social media and USG’s weekly newsletter.
Attar prefaced the purpose of these meetings this semester, saying that “we will do our regular business, which involves taking votes on finding student group recognition, etc. But we’ll also be able to have constructive discussions about the work in USG. It’ll be a nice opportunity for members of USG throughout the semester to come up and present on projects.”
Following Attar’s speech, Treasurer Uma Fox ’26 revealed a semester budget of $656,047.21, a 12 percent increase from last semester’s budget of $585,755. This semester's budget includes rollovers from the preceding semester. Noteworthy adjustments included new committee funding for coffee chats, a rise in the trip budget to $25,000, and a $10,000 boost for athletic engagement. The budget for Lawnparties stayed the same as last year, at $220,000.
Fox elaborated on budget allocations, emphasizing flexibility and the necessity for funds to support both ongoing and new projects.
“We also have some rollover from last semester as well from unspent funds that I'm excited to really push for us to use more and do more community-facing work with," Fox said.
The budget review ended in unanimous initial approval, with an official vote slated for this upcoming Sunday. USG’s semesterly budget must be approved by majority votes in two consecutive meetings, according to the Senate Constitution.
The meeting further solidified its foundation with the confirmation of new senate members. Arman Nemati ’27 and Titus Kim ’27 assumed roles as Alumni Affairs Committee Co-Chairs, Isha Patel ’25 was confirmed as USG Chief of Staff, and Jessica Guo ’27 assumed the position of USG Graphic Design Lead.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee Chair Abby Lu ’26 praised the new DEI committee members, emphasizing their balanced representation across class years and transfer student status.
All new core committee members were approved unanimously.
Lana Utley ’24 delivered a report on the Student Groups Recognition Committee, highlighting the approval of all clubs except the Woodcarving Club, which awaits further consultations with risk management and ODUS regarding safe chisel usage before receiving official recognition. According to a Jan. 31 listserv message sent by club founder and president Luke Carroll ’26, the Woodcarving Club claims over 250 members.
Later on in the meeting, Genevieve Shutt ’26, standing in for U-Councilor Isabella Shutt ’24, presented a request for $1,750 to lead a USG-sponsored trip to see the play “Ghetto Gods in Divineland” in Trenton. The trip was proposed by the local art experiences working group and was unanimously approved. The free trip, which can accommodate 35 students, will depart from Wawa at 6:45 p.m. on Friday and return to campus around 10 p.m.
The Projects Board confirmations followed next, with the South Asian Students Association, Black Medical Society, Princeton African Students Association, Society for African Internationals at Princeton, and Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering obtaining funding allocation approvals unanimously. These groups sought funds for various events, including a welcome dinner, an annual fashion show, and a gala spotlighting African culture.
The meeting concluded with a public comment from Treasurer for the Center for Jewish Life Student Board Seth Kahn ’25. Kahn expressed his concerns about communication during transition periods for clubs with new leadership.
In his closing remarks, Attar revealed plans for the tentative assignment of members to groups based on interest areas, with a focus on establishing a point person for each working group.
USG meetings are open for all students to attend and are held on Sundays from 4 to 5 p.m. in Robertson Hall 016.
Alena Zhang is a staff News writer for the ‘Prince.’
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