Elections for the Lawrence Committee were held on Tuesday, December 8th, 2020. You may view the Candidate Statements for the election below.
Here are all the candidates, followed below by bios:
President: Deepen Garg
Vice president: Chadi Saad-Roy
Secretary: Noam Reich
External Relations Delegate: Yunxiu Zhou
Social Chair: Nastya Karpova
Garden Coordinator: Liz Helfenberger
Facilities Manager: Audrey Zhu, Saumyashree Ghosh (Winner)
Dear Lawrentines, I am a fifth-year graduate student in Plasma Physics, and have served as Secretary of the Lawrence Committee for the past year. Aside from fulfilling my secretarial duties of replying to the resident queries on time, this pandemic also brought new problems, which I am proud to have taken lead to solve like the laundry payment waiver (summer) and stray golf balls (ongoing). I witnessed just how much the job of a committee member can affect the daily lives of residents when I received appreciation emails about even something as simple as coining the term “Lawrentines.” Given our current levels of social isolation, this active participation in our community has been extremely valuable for me. And now, I would like to continue being part of this committee in the new role of President.
If given this chance, while continuing to advocate for Lawrence with the University administration and generally work to ensure the smooth operation of our community, I’d also like to bring two changes which might solve kinks in the system that I witnessed in the past year. First, I’d like to create some sort of tracking system for resident queries that would be accessible to the public. This would improve accountability and timeliness, and make sure that no cases fall through the cracks. The second change is to ask the university to give us a separate email address for the election committee so that the work of the election committee is totally separate from the Lawrence Committee. This will remove even the possibility of any unfair advantage somebody might exploit in future. I will bring these ideas to the December meeting, regardless of the results of the elections, and elaborate on each point further.
I hope you will give me this opportunity to help keep the committee ever ready to serve the community.
Hello! My name is Chadi Saad-Roy and I am in my fourth year in Quantitative and Computational Biology. Lawrence apartments has been a wonderful home since I moved to Princeton. This past year, I had the wonderful opportunity to be on the Lawrence Committee as the GSG representative. This year, I hope to be able to serve the Lawrence community as Vice President of the Lawrence Committee. If elected, I would continue to listen to and address any concerns raised by residents, in addition to continually advocating for our community. In particular, the current COVID-19 pandemic has caused a range of hardships on residents. Thus, if elected, my central efforts would be to continue to support our community in these tough times. Additionally, I would also continue to advocate for changes to laundry rooms and for increased transportation to and from campus.
Hello everyone! I am a 6th year in the Politics Department and for the last year I have been serving as the webmaster on the Lawrence Committee. I’ve been living in Lawrence for four years and I love it! As Webmaster, I followed through on my election promise of keeping the website updated. While on the committee, I advocated to merge my position and its responsibilities with the secretary and create the facilities manager position to improve maintenance of common areas. As Secretary I would work to ensure that crucial information regarding the day-to-day life at Lawrence is promptly communicated to the residents, while also trying to refrain from sending out spam. If re-elected to the Lawrence committee I will continue to advocate for the needs of residents.
External Relations Delegate
Hi, my dear neighbors at the Lawrence apartments! I am a 3rd graduate student in Operations Research and Financial Engineering department and I have been living at Lawrence for about two years. As an international student, I very much appreciate the tranquil and supportive environment here, which I feel delighted to come back every day. In return, I feel it is my passion and responsibility that you can feel the same way, that you shall call this place home wherever you come from or however long you stay.
Therefore, I would like to seek your trust and support of me being your External Relations Delegate. Should I get elected and have the honor to serve you at the Committee, I will actively exchange conversations with you and relevant external bodies. I will provide a strong voice for any concerns that you might have during the Graduate Student Government meetings, and ensure that your concerns can be addressed promptly and effectively.
- Two currently most concerning issues on my agenda include to foster a favorable working environment: During this ongoing pandemic, many, if not all, of us stay at home 7/24. It is therefore vital to create an environment where working-at-home can be productive and stress-free. However, this can be too demanding for a residential area: when you are getting your essential rest, or having an important call with your collaborators, the leaf blowers always come around; while you are concentrating on theoretical arguments, shouting kids pass right by your window… It is not easy but certainly worthwhile to achieve a balance where the needs of diverse parties in our community can be satisfied at the same time;
- To create a safe and welcoming environment for outdoor activities: We rely on the daily promenade around the departments to refresh our body and minds. However there have been continuous reported cases of stray golf balls flying from the Springdale Golf course. This can be threatening. Communications with the University as well as the course manager should be conducted promptly to reach mutually-agreeable and workable solutions. Possible proposals include to refine the golf net, to post signages on the course, and to provide better training to decrease mis-hit rates, etc.
Hi everyone, my name is Nastya Karpova and I am a 4th year PhD student in Economics. I really enjoy being a part of Princeton and above all living in Lawrence. We have all faced a lot of challenges during the past few months, and it has been difficult to stay connected. I am running for Social Chair because I would like the Lawrence community to feel like home for all of us. If elected, I plan to organize social events that are both safe and engaging, for example: virtual meetings, charity events, book-crossing in Lawrence common rooms, socially distanced outdoor events, if and only if, weather and regulations allow. Along with the initiatives above, I look forward to listening to your proposals and organizing social events that you would like to attend. It would be an honor to serve on the committee and I cannot wait to see you in upcoming social events!
My name is Liz Helfenberger and I’m a 3rd year in the Physics Department. I’m running for the position of Garden Coordinator because I’m passionate about making gardening accessible and enjoyable for as many Lawrentines as possible. I picked up gardening as a quarantine hobby and I’ve been hooked ever since. Gardening is a fun, hands-on way to learn about how your food is grown and it gives you a greater appreciation for sustainable living in the form of composting and reducing food waste. If elected I promise to listen to the needs of gardeners and respond promptly to requests about ordering supplies or general garden upkeep. I will make sure that the garden is walkable and easy to navigate by keeping the weeds under control. Finally, I will encourage gardeners to share potential surplus harvests with their neighbors to reduce waste and help build a broader sense of community around the garden. I look forward to a successful growing season in 2021!
Hi Lawrentines! I’m Audrey Zhu, a G2 in Chemical and Biological Engineering. I moved into Lawrence during the summer of 2020 and have greatly appreciated the kindness of its residents and its relaxing environment. As a former volunteer in a hospital setting, I have experience with the management of essential supplies and ensuring that common resources are as well-maintained as possible. It would be a privilege to apply these experiences to the role of Facilities Manager. Since moving in, I have attended all Lawrence committee meetings and followed our Slack channel closely, and in doing so, have been attuned to the needs of residents. Several concerns I would advocate for as Facilities Manager are the inconsistent requirement for laundry machines quarters between buildings, routine heater servicing in apartment units, making sure that large packages in mail receiving areas do not overcrowd entryways, and providing clearer resources for forwarding mail from previous residents. As a frequent bike commuter, I have been grateful for the creation of bike lanes on Lawrence Drive, and will listen to any suggestions on how to improve the safety of surrounding walkways and roads. Thank you for your time and consideration!
Hello everyone! My name is Saumyashree Ghosh, and I am a 6th year PhD candidate in History at Princeton. This is my 2nd year of residence in Lawrence. I love it. I have also spent the entire duration of the pandemic so far (since March) in Lawrence and I feel very blessed to be able to do so. I feel safe and, in the company of the Lawrence community, less isolated. Being a resident of Lawrence during this pandemic (being at Lawrence all day, every day) has offered me keen insights into the importance of the public resources and spaces of Lawrence, and the ways and means of managing them better. It has pointed out to me the issues which Lawrence residents face.
If elected as the Facilities Manager, I would like to address several issues. To name a few, I would look into improving the overall experience of the common rooms in Lawrence 1 and 14. During a time like this (coronavirus pandemic) which is going to continue well into 2021, the common refrigerator in Building 14 is often so full that the doors do not close properly. This ideally causes the stored food to rot leading to illnesses at a time when our health is already at stake. Understandably people buy in bulk these days and I would like to ensure that the refrigerator is not overloaded. The shopping-cart remains a perpetual problem and is usually missing. Even when you find them, they are not clean from being left outside for days. I would like to find institutional means to not only make them available on time, but also ensure that they are clean for usage by the next person. To speak of common areas, packages are often delivered outside the buildings. They lie outside in the rain and snow and even go missing on many occasions. If elected, I’d look into this matter and work with the University Administration. In fact, I am keen on working with Housing, Building services, and Public Safety to advocate for two specific things: more street lights in Lawrence (and also along the roads leading to it). Princeton is in anyway dark and I have noticed that a fairly empty campus these days often leads to less street lights in the evenings. Among potential safety concerns, this has recently led to unexpected encounters with foxes who increasingly roam around in residential spaces these days (as the campus is so empty). I want to take care of this matter and make residents and families with children feel safer. Additionally, as long as the pandemic continues I pledge to ensure all public spaces are safe with all public health requirements met.
I have lived in different graduate housing of Princeton University so far and have 5 years of long experience with the administration on handling various housing issues. I want to build on that experience to serve as the Facilities Manager for Lawrence. I would always be open to all suggestions from the community about public resources and spaces and I look forward to serving you all!