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27 Young Alumni Trustee candidates announcement; represent multidimensional class

A flight of stairs, flanked by two tiger statues, oversees a distant building.
Nassau Hall.
Angel Kuo / The Daily Princetonian

A University statement shared with The Daily Princetonian released the 27 members of the Class of 2024 who are eligible for the primary elections for the Class of 2024’s Young Alumni Trustee (YAT). This year, there has been a change in the eligibility guidelines for candidates looking to run.  

Each year, one YAT is elected from the senior class. Members of the Class of 2024 will have the chance to vote in the primary election from Monday, April 1 until Tuesday, April 9. The three leading candidates will progress to the general election, where juniors, seniors, and the two youngest alumni classes (the Classes of 2022 and 2023) will have the option to vote between May 1 and May 15. 


The seniors running in this year’s election are: Shrey Addagatla, Kaleb Areda, Persis Akua Baah, Francis Barth, Kalena Blake, Ben Cai, Marlene Cardoza, Luke Chan, Aisha Chebbi, Stephen Daniels, Xander de los Reyes, Henry Erdman, Max Diallo Jakobsen, Jordan W. Johnson, Sydney S.  Johnson, Vivek Kolli, Mariam Umar Latif, Alison Lee, Julie Levey, Noah Luch, Danielle (Dani) Samake, JJ Scott, Chioma Ugwonali, Chiara von Gerlach, Torre Wilks, Matthew Wilson, and Sajan Young.

This year’s candidates represent broad swaths of Princeton life. The ‘Prince’ reached out to all candidates running in the primary election to break down the group’s demographics, on-campus activities, and post-graduation plans. Twenty-six out of the 27 candidates are represented — von Gerlach did not respond to request for comment.

This year, a change in policy required that prospective candidates attend one of two mandatory information sessions and submit an Election Candidate Form to be eligible for the primary. This is a departure from previous years in which candidates also needed 50 signatures in order to be eligible to run.

The Young Alumni Trustee Handbook for the spring of 2024 prohibits issue-based campaigning and organized campaigning. According to the handbook, this is due to the unique way in which the Board of Trustees functions. 

Issue-based campaigning refers to making statements claiming “to represent or advocate for a particular constituency, issue, or point of view.” Organized campaigning refers to engaging “in any form of organized effort to solicit votes in any medium.” It also forbids candidates from enlisting other individuals or groups to campaign on their behalf. 


“Trustees who arrive on the board having already staked out positions on issues without access to full information can undermine both the workings of the board and their own effectiveness if they are perceived as beholden to a position they took while campaigning,” the handbook explains.

The YATs are a group of recent Princeton graduates who serve a four-year term on Princeton’s Board of Trustees with equal “rights, powers, and duties” to all other trustees according to the University website. It describes this role as an opportunity for recent graduates to “serve the long-term interests of the University as a member of the board, bringing to the role an important perspective informed by their recent experience as an undergraduate student.” 

Twenty-seven members of the Class of 2024 will be on the ballot, which is up from 23 runners last year, and is just above the historical average of 25 candidates. The record high was 41 candidates running in 2012, according to University Spokesperson Jennifer Morrill.

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This year’s candidates share certain interests and activities. Many specifically mentioned passions for increasing mental health support as a focus during their time at Princeton, and noted involvement in activities that work to build Princeton’s mental health infrastructure, such as the University Mental Health Taskforce and TigerWell. Eight health-focused activities were mentioned by candidates in total, including one PHA, three members of the Student Health Advisory Committee, and four involved in various mental health committees and task forces.  

“Growing up in a community where my closest friends and family struggled so much with mental health and discrimination, achieving a world in which they may have it even slightly better has meant the world to me,” wrote Chioma Ugwonali.

Eight of the candidates specifically mentioned involvement in various affinity groups, including the Asian American Students Association, Princeton Black Student Union, Pride Alliance, and Latinx Graduation Planning Committee. Six candidates noted involvement in various religious groups, including the Center for Jewish life, Christian Union, Muslim Students’ Association, and the Religious Life Council.

Six candidates reported never joining an eating club. Meanwhile, the eating clubs with the highest number of candidates are Charter Club, Cap and Gown Club, and Tower Club.

Among the candidates, 10 have held positions in the residential colleges: six candidates served as RCAs, two as PAAs, one (A)RCA, and four as members of the residential college councils. Seven students participated in teaching or tutoring activities, and nearly all were involved in an activity where they served as an advisor. 

“Helping [first-years] from vastly different backgrounds adjust and learn to thrive here has been one of the most gratifying parts of my time at our school,” wrote JJ Scott.

The candidates have wide-ranging career goals following their graduation from Princeton, and come from a variety of academic disciplines. Just four of the candidates accounted for are in a BSE major. Business and consulting are the top two post-grad plans for the candidates.

Results from the general election — and the new YAT from the Class of 2024 — will be revealed on Friday, May 24 during Reunions, at the annual Alumni Council Meeting.

Ethan Caldwell is a staff News writer for the ‘Prince.’

Assistant News editor Meghana Veldhuis and head News editor Bridget O'Neill contributed reporting.

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