December 02, 2012
Mr. Stolzenberg: We’re going to start the meeting- we have a full agenda, so let’s get things moving. Please get your project updates to Greg!
Mr. Easop: Welcome to our first meeting since Thanksgiving Break. We have a long meeting tonight, so I’ll spare you a long introduction and just mention that the one vote we have tonight is on Dean’s Date funding. Other than that, we can have a motion to approve the minutes.
The motion passes.
Cameron Henneberg is standing in for Charissa Shen.
Greg Smith is standing in for Gavin Gook.
Our guests are Sasha Lieberman, Zack Ogle, Matt Saunders, and freshman and sophomore class councils.
Buses to Yale/Bonfire
Mr. Easop: We’re evaluating a whole series of events that were all about Princeton events and athletics, which is why I also invited the class council today. Okay, so, I briefly spoke about the Buses to Yale previously so I won’t go into too much detail. But there were 453 students who actually came on the buses, a total of 585 tickets were sold, and we also had 70 people at the Frist viewing party on campus. So, I’ll start with the buses and focus on discussion questions. The two main questions I had were about communication and organization the day of. What information can be clarified in the future? One thing was the policy about alcohol on the buses. Is there anything else about the communication that can simplify it or get additional information from?
Mr. Okuda-Lim: There was a conversation about buying a ticket for a one-way journey.
Mr. Ackerman: We should announce earlier if there are open seats the day-of the game. There were students who could’ve freed up their schedules to come.
Mr. Easop: Following up on the one-way ticket option, does anyone have any feedback? It was bit of a complicating factor.
Ms. Byrne: Did we sell tickets just to the game and not the bus seats? Was that an option?
Mr. Easop: Yes.
Mr. Wagstaff: I don’t think making a one-way list is too complicated. I think it’s something you should offer, especially considering that the people who went up to Yale beforehand were doing things to amp the environment up there. Those people were probably a little unhappy, so we should consider this for this and for thanksgiving buses (which is related.)
Mr. Ackerman: It’s important to sell those tickets, but then we should have a different bus. Because it would be too complicated to give a bus captain that sort of responsibility (to determine who goes where, etc.)
Mr. Wagstaff: I think it’s logistically more straightforward then we imagine. We’d use the last bus, etc.
Mr. Smith: But how many people are going to purchase one-way tickets? I think it’ll add to a lot more work to the bus-captain job. Also, the tablet screen turned off.
Mr. Ackerman: Greg- I think that’s what I thought initially, but if you have a separate empty bus and it has all of the returners, it’d work. We have a lot of interest, and maybe we could have people buy tickets there.
Mr. Rajagopalan: Having been a bus captain, it’s not that difficult.
Mr. Easop: Now I’m going to move over to the organization question. The two questions are: 1) do you have any recommendations to streamline the boarding of the buses? 2) What is the role of the bus captain?
Ms. Davoudiasl: When people got on buses, they got on random buses. Instead of filling up 1 full bus, they would get on random ones so we had random empty seats. We should have a strict line to fill up each bus numerically.
Mr. Ackerman: I think getting the lunches took the longest. The best thing going forward is if the lunch was automatic (not optional) and they were just waiting on the buses already.
Mr. Easop: The lunches were technically the swipe of a meal plan.
Mr. Ackerman: Why don’t we just include it in the initial costs?
Mr. Wagstaff: Great point. Also, Deana did a fantastic job dealing with drunk people on her bus. Some kind of guidelines to assist in that situation would be great for bus captains.
Ms. Javier: In response to Deana, there were those “class buses” but they weren’t labeled. But maybe a sign-system would be useful?
Mr. Ackerman: Even as a bus captain, I didn’t know which bus I was returning to.
Mr. Kugelmass: I’d like to hear more from the class governments.
Ms. Orillac: There were two different group buses. The 2016 bus overflowed into a second bus that was sort of 2016. Getting people on the bus was fairly easy, because we were standing right where they were getting their lunches.
Molly: We did make posters to direct people to the buses, which may not have been obvious to everyone. I thought it worked well.
Mr. Easop: How did you advertise the group bus?
Molly: We spammed the Facebook and emailed our listserv.
Mr. Easop: Nice job Class of 2016! You really nailed it. Any other last questions on the buses? Okay, then let’s move on to the Bonfire. As you can see, this was a collaborative effort. Huge thank you to everyone on USG, especially Adi, Deana, Charissa, Benny, Steven, and also ODUS, Campus Life, Athletics Department. Some of the differences from the 2006 Bonfire—we held this on Saturday instead of Friday. Was this good? Publicity and advertising was also very comprehensive- the Facebook event, the Twitter account, etc. We hit all the social media, which was great to get the word out under a week. In the morning building-sessions, we convinced people to get up! Class government sponsored bagels and coffee. Thanks guys! During the event itself, there were a few additions to the content of the event to increase visibility and sound: to class banners, speakers, a live webcast, etc. As you can see from the numbers, there were over 4000 visits to the ODUS webcast, including 10 people from Bulgaria. The website itself had over 4000 unique visitors. Some of the last information is the budget of the event. The bold numbers are exact, the un-bold are still being finalized. The overall budget was approximately $20,048. As you can see, some of the things that changed were the Public Safety costs since we were holding it on a Saturday night. There was some addition in the production costs of actually building a bonfire itself. And there were some additional items like the sound and live webcasts. So, that’s an overall review of a ton of numbers involved in this event. So I have a few discussion questions related to the event itself. So first is the date itself. The alumni office had great feedback, but there were some alumni who questioned why it wasn’t held on Friday as a pep-rally. So there are people on both sides of the issue, so I want to open it to the floor.
Ms. Wiley: One of the major complaints was the date change because they had made other plans. And, I think Saturday is more convenient to Alums since they don’t have to take Friday off for this. The idea of a pep rally is bizarre, because the night before you should be in your room and not stress your bonfire. Walking around at a bonfire the night before a race would not be a good idea. In terms of respecting the athletes, they should not be out the night before. That’s something that people don’t entirely understand.
Mr. Wagstaff: I think those are all valid points. Considering a lot of the Football team was at the Hoodie Allen show, it may not have been as big of a concern as we thought. We need to ask if it was worth the extra cost and who should’ve been paying the extra cost. We covered it, but maybe the Football Team or Alumni office should cover the difference. But if they think it was worth it, we should continue to propose that it be on a Saturday, but we should speak to the team and the coach about whether it had an effect on the loss on Saturday, etc. A followup discussion would be interesting.
Mr. Zhang: At the Hoodie Allen show, a women from the basketball team had a great dougie on the stage, but she had a career-low game the next day. Something to consider.
Mr. Okuda-Lim: I think moving forward, we should have a serious discussion about the costs and benefits about Friday versus Saturday. I think we really have to look at where the money is going.
Mr. Sharp: Money is a concern. Money is great and can be used for lots of things. But why did we put it on Saturday? It’s because the football team wanted it, so we should continue to do it on Saturday, but maybe look to other resources.
Mr. Ackerman: I think just knowing that it’ll be on Saturday in the future, if this is an event that happens in the future, we should plan for it earlier. I know that’s hard, but we should say “this is what we’ll do if we have a bonfire.” If we have the process planned out, it’ll be a lot smoother.
Mr. Easop: We couldn’t plan for it before…
Mr. Rajagopalan: This is a very effective in terms of class-participation event. The change to Saturday substantially changes the event- many more alumni come back, and many more athletes can be there. As a very effective event with a very small change in marginal cost per student, the enhancement to the event is very important. It’s a very high-cost event, but we’re doing fine budget wise.
Mr. Easop: The last question is: should we celebrate events that are lower-cost? Are there other ways we could emphasize other events so that we appreciate a broader range of contributions?
Ms. Kim: For academic accomplishment, we have Fullbright, Rose-Mitchell, etc. We should do something small, maybe not a big bonfire.
Mr. Ackerman: Hi! So there are two groups. The first one is Maracatu Princeton, which is a Brazilian style of drumming. They’ve had some meetings and a faculty advisor, and they want recognition to get funding because it’s not easy to get a Brazilian drum. The second one is a unique group called the Beginning, Uniting, and Fueling Fitness (BUFF)—they were doing this without recognition the previous couple of years—they have a lot of knowledge about planning fitness programs. They want to help students plan their own workouts regardless of if you want to get buff, sleep more, or feel better, etc. They incorporate this into a model so that more people can run the program in coming years. I definitely recommend both of these groups.
Mr. Dean: We got a pretty turnout to the bonfire. Next year, let’s get that many to the USG debate! The first thing is the winner of the elections. Next, you guys saw the Prince article about uncontested elections. Is this a problem? Then, we should start a discussion about whether we should change the elections rules. We won’t finish this discussion, but we should begin it. So yeah, the winners are: Shawon and Carmina as President and VP. There was only one candidate for five of the other races. Is this problematic? I surveyed the people who went to open houses who chose not to run. They had two reasons they didn’t run was 1) invisible primary, 2) didn’t want to do the job. We should structure the question in three parts. Is this a problem? What should do different? Is it a fluke?
Mr. Sharp: I’d like to think that I ran uncontested because everyone thinks I’m great, but I think this is a huge problem. I think the more people you have running for a position, it gets more publicity and discussion about how USG functions, etc. It’s not that terrible and I don’t think this year was a reflection on what happened in the past year—it’s a fluke. I think we made a conscious effort in the past year. I don’t think we did anything wrong.
Mr. Rajagopalan: It’s funny because I’ve never run against anyone… I think it’s much harder to win freshmen senator than any of the Chair positions, which is really weird to me. Freshmen only run for senator positions or class council. A lot of what we should do is to apply to other positions in which they can accomplish more. Maybe it’s not good to have freshmen apply to these positions. For example, his freshmen year, Steven Rosen was a freshman chair.
Mr. Dean: I had a freshman ask me if they could run for those positions, and they felt they weren’t “entry-level” positions.
Mr. Wagstaff: My comments come from race for the social. Definitely there was a lot of discussion about it within the committee. I think everyone discussed who’d be the strongest candidate. I think the issue is that the outsiders didn’t want to participate. I think partly it’s my fault, because looking at the number we’ve rejected from the social committee (90% of applicants), are people who could still be interested. I wonder if the selection for the committee itself impact them, etc. Perhaps encouraging people from other relevant groups should be considered.
Ms. Cartwright: The advertisement needs to be a lot larger. If there are Facebook events, personalized committees, etc. it would good. Also, there was a lot of talk about who should run for what within USG. I think this is a bad idea, because it makes it seem like you need to be involved in USG.
Mr. Kugelmass: Because we had very few appointed positions, we should avoid situations when we lose two people with experiences. I don’t think this is a message that got across in the Prince. It is relatively easy to get in on the ground floor.
Mr. Sharp: I think Benny’s point is that invisible primary is that it’s the outside people who aren’t given enough information which should be the focus.
Ms. Kim: One of the first thing candidates do is see the USG profile and assess what the USG actually does. USG needs to be seen as an accessible organization.
Mr. Dean: We will have a separate working group to work on elections rules. Two key questions: Do we ditch the rules completely? Or do we just tweak? Let’s rethink negative campaigning/libel/slander, and early campaigning.
Mr. Saunders: Let me establish why I’m here. I really enjoy working on campus with candidates who run for office. I’ve seen some discrepancies in the rules, and Julian, I went to a meeting last year, and the reason I didn’t run because I saw flaws within the rules. I think election rules need to be precise, because then you get questions of illegitimacy. The worst thing that can happen is to have illegitimacy in a USG race. In terms of negative campaigning, it is very hard to define what is “negative.” The comparison that came up was negative campaigning. Whoever posted the chart wanted to show one person in a good light and the other in a bad light. That’s not either good or bad. But you can either define what is negative and/or add what fallacious campaigning is. Attack ads, Advocacy Ads, and Contrast Ads. Attacks ads say that “Deana bullied kids in high school.” Advocacy ads only talks about why we shouldn’t attack someone. Contrast ads actually have candidates compare each other. The last thing is to ban fallacious campaigning because what is true and false really does have an impact. I think you should make specific comments about libel and slander. The best option is to allow for contrast, because then candidates can debate policy. This helps run against incumbents (for example, I can never run against Jon Ma by saying he didn’t give me good toilet). Then, what’s the distinction between supporters and campaign staff? Let’s say I was helping a candidate and I made a mistake, then it should effect the candidate. Finally, we should think about whether $50 is enough to reach 5,400 students in an election that has very serious consequences.
Tiger Ride Update
Mr. Kugelmass: What I would like to open for discussion is whether or not we should try to aim for a lower price point. I think we can do it. Whether we feel comfortable doing it, I think it’s low-risk. Also, I think we should think about bumping up the schedule. The morning of bus launch was really chaotic. I was the only one managing four buses.
Ms. Davoudiasl: I know there was USGforum discussion, but we should send out a survey to gage student interest in other breaks.
Mr. Stolzenberg: I don’t think it’ll work well with other breaks because you can do well with other buses.
Mr. Rajagopalan: You can get a $1 bus for Christmas because it’s not a big deal when we leave. Thanksgiving is when it’s most expensive.
Mr. Kugelmass: The prices will be different next year since the school’s contract with the bus service is ending this year.
Mr. Easop: I have some questions about the stop. As planning in the future, is there a model for communicating with the people who signed up.
Mr. Kugelmass: I found out the day before the buses that we’d only get names and not netids. I gave every bus a talk about what was going on. The Newton’s stop was a half-mile from where we said it’d be. It wasn’t possible to email or text everyone. Last year, Stephen had more lead-time.
Ms. Davoudiasl: I’ve worked with ticketing. It’s super easy.
Taste of Prospect
Ms. Byrne: Taste of Prospect is now Taste of Princeton, because we included the Coops. The primary objective is to give freshmen a more comprehensive view of upperclassmen eating options. We didn’t include residential colleges or independent students, because those options are already pretty understandable. All of the eating clubs and all of the coops will be participating. President Tilghman has graciously offered to fund the entire project, despite the larger cost this time than in the past.
Ms. Bui: Sign-ups went out Friday morning, and right now we have a little over 500 responses. Also, they were really interested in recruiting sophomores- should we have them sign up too?
Mr. Kugelmass: I can’t speak for the coops, we were all surprised when we found out that sophomores wouldn’t come. We actually allow sophomores to join if they want to, but we’re really eager to get in touch with students who are switching their dining options.
Mr. Riley: Let’s say I wanted to eat in Quad because I want to be in Quad, but I was eating at Tower, isn’t that bad?
Ms. Byrne: Including sophomores is only for coops. Eating clubs have their own sophomore events.
Mr. Rajagopalan: Are we making sure officers structure something?
Ms. Joseph: I think it’s pretty understood. The presidents understand they should do something.
Ms. Byrne: I’d encourage freshmen to mix in with the members.
Mr. Easop: In terms of communication and how we sent the survey out, it didn’t just come from an email from me. But DSL’s also got RCA’s to send it out to freshmen. Class of 2016 class government also sent it out. We should think about how to communicate through multiple avenues.
Mr. Wagstaff: We had an event that sold 727 tickets. We had about 56% students attending, and 43% public. It was near 50-50, which was a big question we didn’t know how to deal with. We ripped slightly less tickets the night of- 668 people showed up, and they seemed to be mostly public. But if they’re paying, I don’t care. What worked out to be the costs- artist and agent fee, sound, costs at Richardson were higher than anticipated because people were standing on chairs. For those of you that were there, it was rather exciting. It didn’t look like when you have the symphony orchestra… we were happy that overall we didn’t have any violence, drug, or alcohol problems. We didn’t have people storming the lower level. Let’s discuss what you guys think about this model. I’m sorry I didn’t think about the costs of the seats. Also, we should’ve lowered the price for the tickets for the public, just because of delayed contracts, Sandy, etc. so there was a shorter window to sell the tickets. If we’d done the $5 difference, the USG would have been 42 cents per students, and 0.0 cents for everyone overall. The questions for me are do we think we can build off this model? It needs an opportunity to have a sell-out show. Does the venue work? If not, where can we do this?
Ms. Aliviatsos: One of my friends talked about the thing with the public… they felt like it was very much a younger/high school/middle school turnout, which was a turnoff.
Mr. Wagstaff: I’d love to survey these people and see their opinions. It saved them $10, so what do they prefer?
Ms. Aliviatsos: I think Richardson was fine, but a lot of people thought it wouldn’t be.
Mr. Rajagopalan: I thought this model was very interesting. I think it’s a great model that had the potential to bring more services to the student body. It should be repeated, but with caution because we shouldn’t mess up, but it’s a great idea.
Mr. Kugelmass: I think the loss is pretty predictable. It was almost impossible for us to break even on this event. Can we buy insurance on damage to Richardson? I like certainty.
Dean Dunne shakes his head no.
Mr. Kugelmass: If we do ban young kids, then Princeton students have to pay more.
Mr. Easop: Does the act just appeal to a younger crowd? Or is that a lot of the public is just high school students?
Mr. Wagstaff: We used a bunch of Facebook ads to advertise this to the public, and it was super cheap. I had targeted campaigns for nearby colleges, local high school students, local Hoodie Allen fans, and local Princeton students. Rutgers, Riders, College of New Jersey, Westminster College weren’t clicking on these ads at all. Inflated prices for the public mean that those who bought tickets were probably using their parents wallets, ie high school students.
Dean Dunne: I think one of the interesting things about this is what we did with McCarter before. We did a Ben Folds show, a Trey Anastasio show. They were the sole initiator, which was really important about this. We weren’t waiting for programmers in McCarter to say it was of interest to students. It was initiated in the same ways as a USG show. Bruce’s point is a good one- this won’t be a free show for students, but it allows us to be a little more adventurous with the acts that come to campus. Is having young professionals sketchy?
Ms. Javier: So, this is already in the budget. We’ve already come to you talking about the giveaway.
Mr. Liberman: We like the flap-eared hats, but they’re too expensive, so we’re having beanie-hats. They’ll be about $5.99 per unit.
Ms. Javier: The remaining money will be spent on food. We wanted to have snack food. We have funnel cakes, hot chocolate, fried oreos, etc.
Mr. Sharp: Some of us have large heads, so those beanies don’t fit. So, let’s have a choice between small and large.
Ms. Kim: In commencement, we’re going to measure senior’s heads. Let’s measure what percentage of the student body has large heads!
Mr. Rajagopalan: I’ll get that data for you guys.
Ms. Lieberman: We haven’t ordered yet, does anyone have any ideas?
Mr. Easop: Do you know how many items we’ve ordered in the past?
Ms. Liberman: About 1,250
Mr. Rajagopalan: Is there any analysis about how much food is left over? I get the sense that there is a lot of food left…
Mr. Wagstaff: I think that’s a great point. The biggest concern regarding food is the delivery of food, and its prompt delivery and turnaround because people don’t like to wait. Last winter, Naked Pizza was doing 50 every 15 minutes. It’s all about how quickly you can have it at the 5pm time. If you look at the estimates per a thousand people, and we’re considering “snacky” items, I’m not sure that reallocating too much would be wise. If you value the hat more than the food, then it makes sense.
Bike Rack Update
Mr. Sharp: I have a very similar handout to what I had last year. If you exist late meal heading towards Forbes, there are a bunch of bike racks, and the fix-it station is right there. It’s almost 100% complete, but we’re waiting for bike racks right next to the stand that haven’t yet been removed. The main part is installed and working. It has all the tools you’d ever need. No one brings a bike pump to campus. I don’t have an exact amount about the money we’re spending. This might be the first permanent structure that USG is responsible for installing on campus. I’d like to talk about the future direction of the bike rack. First is publicity. Benny and I want to have a spring tune-up event. A bike safety event put on by Public safety was put off, but we’re trying to bring this back. We’re going to have Paint-your-own-helmets! You’ll get another update as we get more info, but it is just something that has to do with more bike racks. I think it’s a unique project in that it’s going be there for quite a while, unlike most of our other projects.
Ms. Mancenon: For publicity, we could use the new sustainability thing. Also there is a touch screen in Butler.
Mr. Kugelmass: So I assume this will need to be maintain? Is that our responsibility or the Office of Sustainability?
Mr. Sharp: We knew the bike pump would be an issue, so we looked into other options.
Mr. Rajagopalan: Target Forbes people and engineers because they have the most Bikes.
Mr. McNamara: The general structure is in place. The main problem remains that people need to fill in this information. It’s hard to get people to fill out Project forms, so this will be difficult. This is a two-pronged direction. First is specific officer-manuals that provide direct perspectives about what each role passes on in a short document. We’ll work on this initiative over winter break. We’d love to one of these for each position. We’ll be able to put this out year after year. Second is a more behind-the-scenes look at projects, especially regarding the interaction between the Annual Report and the Playbook. For example, I have a lot of ALTA notes on my computer that should perhaps be given to people in the future. We have a bunch of Project tabs under the project archives. The main point is that the playbook exists and is being updated. Please cooperate.
Mr. Easop: One other thing to add, this isn’t a matter of coming up with new information. If you have comments, just add it in there. It’s easy because the first step is uploading documents that you’ve already created. If we can look at the life of a project, and have that information uploaded in this playbook, it means that the next time we do a similar project, we have best practices. Now that I realize it’s so easy, I do it myself. We just use existing material.
Mr. Wagstaff: Can we have some files available to just some positions. What if I want to give something to Carla but I don’t want the rest of the USG to see it? Is there password protection?
Mr. Stolzenberg: We’ll look at that.
Mr. Chen: I’m looking to have USG logins be password specific.
Ms. Davoudiasl: Is there a place where I can write down comments I wanted to make, but didn’t have time to? If I go to the secretary, if I could add my comment, that’d be awesome.
- Mental health project
- Report on the budget
- SGRC update from Dylan—let’s also ask him why SGRC is so backed up this year.
- Update on the holiday lights project (where this is at, and the upcoming roadblocks)
- Stephen’s proposal of Constitutional Amendment (we made a change to an elections document versus the constitution)
- Holiday picture! Ms. Davoudiasl: Can Dean Dunne be Santa?
- Mr. Wagstaff: Funding request and something that doesn’t need funding