Ask Hahney: What’s the point of USG Elections?


Katlyn Lee | Daily Trojan

Dear (Hopefully) Young Reader,

First, please go register to vote in your state if you haven’t yet. Beyond the USG elections, please vote for issues that directly affect your hometown, home state, federal government, etc. Political apathy does not sit pretty.

Now, back to the question at hand — USG Elections. I’m going to tackle this question in two parts: why these positions are important and my experience with USG. Head to the part that interests you the most (if you value my opinion at all).

P.S.- My friend told me I use a lot of parentheses. (It’s a personality thing, OK?)


I’ll keep my opinion concentrated within the roles of the USG President and Vice President (because apparently, that’s a hot topic on campus right now). Your USG President and Vice President (if they’re qualified) voice your issues to the university president and provost. They work with administrators to help USG accomplish its goals. They sit on the Budget Allocations Committee, which distributes the student programming fee to very key organizations on campus. However, most importantly, your USG President and Vice President lead an organization of over 100 student leaders across five distinct branches: programming, legislative, advocacy, communications and funding (judicial remains separate for good reason). The student leaders of these branches do invaluable work on this campus. I’ve seen it firsthand and I’ve been a part of it. Having a USG President and Vice President who can stand up for what they believe in, support them, and guide them is so important.


I’ve spent three years on campus involved in USG. Let me tell you about the learning curve. It takes a semester to learn how the organization works and how you can leave your impact. It takes another semester to truly make an impact and it takes two years after that to continue fighting and to figure out how you want to improve USG.

I’m an executive officer currently (Finance & Adminstration Director of Program Board) and let me tell you, I pour my heart and soul into this organization, and I still feel like I’m underperforming. For those who want numbers, I’m supposed to spend 16 hours per week in USG for my office hours. Last semester and this semester, I purposely did not sign up for Friday office hours. To my memory, there have only been three Fridays that I was not in the office in the last 19 weeks. I spend a lot of time outside of the office attending Program Board’s events and meetings. Ask my apartment mates, I’m rarely ever home. I spend a gross amount of time outside of my office hours working on the things I need to get done. For example, I’ve spent an absurdly weird and long amount of time in restructuring this organization (which isn’t in my job description but hey, I’m passionate) because I want to leave it for the better. I’m passionate about this organization because there’s so much that can be done within this organization. That’s why I do work beyond my office hours, beyond my job description. I’m not trying to brag about how much I work because honestly, I haven’t been able to accomplish every single thing I’ve wanted to do (and I think the hours I put into this job is slightly unhealthy and I feel like I’m doing senior year wrong). But, I’m highlighting this because so many officers in USG go beyond what they are asked to do. You need leaders who can support these people, who can push these people to challenge themselves and the administration, and most importantly, leaders who truly want to do this. People who will work with people until 2 a.m. to better the university. In three years time, I’ve seen my fair share of people walk through TCC 224 (the USG office), do their office hours and leave. That’s not the leader I want for the future of USG. Personally, I think you should vote for someone with passion and proven USG experience. I have my opinion as to who I want to vote for, and it’s different from the DT Editorial Board. I’m voting for Austin and Morgan (FYI, I barely knew either of them until my term started) and I have more to say as to how I’ve formulated my opinion, so if you want to talk — shoot me an e-mail ( or find me on Facebook. But, regardless — you should go out and review the platforms and see who you want to vote for. Please vote. It’s important.