By Wyatt Behringer, Contributing Writer ||

Last week, first-year students of the College elected Matthew Weinman ’18 as president of the Class of 2018. The election featured 14 candidates running for the role of president, more students than any class in recent history for a class presidential election.

“The first-year class president is tasked with planning fun and engaging events and advocating on behalf of the class to the Diplomatic Congress and before the administration and faculty of the College,” said Mark T. Harmon-Vaught ’15, president of the Diplomatic Congress (DipCon).

Harmon-Vaught explained that to have his or her name placed on the ballot for president, first-years are required to obtain 50 signatures from their peers and submit candidate statements announcing their intentions.

Students used posters, signs, chalk messages, and Facebook groups to inform peers of their candidacies. Some candidates, including Weinman, attempted to visit every first-year student’s room personally to discuss ideas and ways to enhance the F&M experience.

“I wanted to figure out what people really cared about, what they deemed important, because what I deem important is not any more valid than anyone else,” Weinman said.

He elaborated on some of the ideas his constituents shared with him during the campaign, mainly centering on building a greater sense of campus unity or more interactions among the College Houses. First-years also expressed a desire to have printers in each College House.

One issue that stuck with Weinman when talking with his peers was the difficulty that some international students have fitting in with life at the College. To Weinman, this is a real problem that he hopes to solve as soon as possible.

“I did not have all these ideas when I started; I got the ideas from talking to people, so let’s continue to talk and let’s actually solve the problems,” Weinman said.

Reflecting on the number of candidates who did not win, Weiman hopes that many of them will get involved with DipCon or the first-year class in other ways, saying that these students show the commitment the Class of 2018 has to building the F&M

DipCon welcomes Weinman and is excited to begin work and see what they can accomplish to pass initiatives that affect the entirety of campus, according to Harmon-Vaught. Weinman said he is confident he can better connect students and create lasting change in the F&M community.

First-year Wyatt Behringer is a contributing writer. His email is