Letter to the Editor: Why should you run for the USG Senate?

It is truly a community effort to make this University a safe, healthy, engaging, and enriching place for all students.

USG Senate members are driven by the desire to make a positive impact on our campus community on a variety of different issues. And of all the student groups on campus, we can make it happen by working with other student groups, administrators, and campus offices. We work on projects and policies that ranging from surveys about the future of the academic calendar to mental health and wellness programming to Lawnparties and much more. One of my favorite parts of USG is getting to talk with students from different experiences all across campus and work with them to create change and make recommendations that benefit our community. It’s a fun, collaborative, and entrepreneurial team that is always working on something new and on projects and issues that are important to Princeton students.

The USG Senate is a unique group because students, both elected and appointed members, come together from all across campus with one common goal — to improve the Princeton student experience. We have students from across majors, student groups, backgrounds, and campus experiences. Many of us started USG not knowing anyone else on the USG Senate, but we were all interested in ensuring students have the best experiences possible during their time at Princeton.

There are some misconceptions about USG which I would like to clarify here:

  1. You can join USG without previous student government experience.
  2. Most USG members do not want to go into politics. We care about solving problems and finding good solutions.
  3. This fall, we have the highest number of women leaders in the Senate in the last 3 years — 13 out of 23 voting members this year are women.
  4. Interestingly, more men than women have reached out to me directly about USG elections and opportunities this year, a 10 to 1 ratio.
  5. We have both B.S.E and A.B. majors represented.

There are four ways to get involved in USG: run for a position on the USG Senate, apply for an appointed position on the USG Senate, apply to join a USG committee, or work on a USG task force that brings together students from all across campus together on important policy conversations. The USG Senate has two election cycles; one in the fall for 13 voting members and one in the spring for 10 U-Councilors. The time commitment for each opportunity varies and there’s something for everyone.

If you’re interested in running for USG or getting involved, reach out to me or other members of USG to learn more about our experiences, the projects we have worked on, and why we chose to spend our Princeton experience working through USG to make a positive impact on campus. Most importantly, if you have a friend who you think could make a great difference on this campus, encourage them to run to represent students through the student government. The last open house is Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. in the USG Office and registration is due Monday, Nov. 21, at noon.

For the Winter 2016 election cycle, there are 13 open positions including six senators (two per class), four committee chairs, treasurer, vice president, and president. Each semester and term addresses new campus issues and the USG Senate has become more diverse by major and campus experiences each term.


  • Each class elects two senators.
  • Senators work on projects and initiatives that benefit their class or reflect the interest of their class.

University Student Life Committee Chair

  • The University Student Life Chair is the co-chair of the University Student Life Committee with the Graduate Student Government USLC Chair and the VP of Campus Life.
  • Important campus issues that have gone through the committee in the past two semesters include gender neutral housing, bathroom codes, transportation bus lines, clarifying resources, and investigating dining options.

Academics Committee

  • The Academics Chair sits on each of the academic subcommittees chaired by the Dean of the College, including Admissions and Financial Aid, Course of Study, and Examinations and Standing.
  • Important initiatives over the last year includes the Academic Calendar Survey.

Campus & Community Affairs Chair

  • The CCA Committee works on initiatives to improve student life by working on “town and gown” relations with local vendors for discounts like Restaurant Week and opportunities like Communiversity for students to engage with the town and local community
  • What’s missing in your Princeton experience with the town? What experiences and initiatives have you enjoyed?

Social Chair

  • The Social Committee’s two largest events every semester include Lawnparties and Dean’s Date.
  • USG started to host the main act for Lawnparties to ensure that all students have an option to participate in Lawnparties acts.
  • What are some new social events and initiatives that can bring the whole school together?

President, Vice President, and Treasurer

  • These three positions are important for the USG Senate team to work on projects and initiatives. They ensure the USG Senate is running, updates are sent out to students and student groups, and that we hold ourselves accountable to students.

The following seniors in the USG Senate will end their term this semester: Treasurer Hunter Dong ’17, CCA Chair Michael Cox ’17, Academics Chair Shannon Osaka ’17, Class of 2017 Senators Kishan Bhatt ’17 and Cailin Hong ’17, and President Aleksandra Czulak ’17 (myself).

USG has members who stay for only one year and the maximum amount of time students can stay on USG Senate is three years. We have students who started USG for the first time during their senior year, students who have never participated in student government before they ran, and students who have valuable campus experiences and initiatives that they want to implement to positively impact the Princeton undergraduate experience.

Let’s keep working on making Princeton a better place for all students.

Undergraduate Student Government President Aleksandra Czulak is a economics major from Elmwood Park, Illinois. She can be reached at aczulak@princeton.edu.

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