By Lila Epstein, Senior Staff ||
Last Tuesday, April 1, the Diplomatic Congress (DipCon) held elections for its new executive board. Mark T. Harmon-Vaught ’15 was elected president, Scott Onigman ’15 was elected vice president, Bryce Loebel ’15 was elected treasurer, and Nicole Strauss ’15 was elected secretary.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to work with student leaders from every aspect of campus life,” Harmon-Vaught said. “We are scholars, athletes, volunteers, fraternal brothers and sisters, club members, activists, visual and performing artists, and student government officers. Although our identities take many forms, we are united in that we are each a member of the F&M Community.”
Harmon-Vaught’s goals in his new position include building off the progress of the previous DipCon executive board to help best serve the various co-curricular organizations on campus. He wants to address this through changes to the student government, the process of funding organizations and events, and
event planning infrastructures. These changes will allow DipCon, student leaders, and administrators to work together more effectively.
“We need to redefine the role of DipCon in relation to the College Houses, athletics, Greek life, and student organization, and I am eager to work with peers from across campus life toward this definition,” Harmon-Vaught said. “We need to change the way we host, support, and market all-campus events, and I recognize the barriers that keep such programming from being optimally effective.”
Harmon-Vaught’s experience with house government through service on the Brooks House Congress and other extra-curricular activities including the Mock Trial Team, Men United Against Sexual Assault (MUASA) [formerly One in Four], and the Harwood Leadership Program provided him with an understanding of the needs of various College organizations and the integral role they play as part of a quality education.
“Ultimately, I want F&M to be a place where [students] can feel welcome and accepted within an authentic campus community, where we can pursue our highest intellectual objectives through dedicated academic effort and strong relationships with our outstanding faculty, and where we can commit ourselves fully, as students, through an array of enriching co-curricular activities, and in the future as active alumni,” Harmon-Vaught said.
Onigman hopes to help achieve these goals by improving the lines of communication between DipCon and the rest of campus.
“In my time on campus, DipCon has faced a significant PR problem;there are few people on campus who know and understand what DipCon does and makes use of the talent that is on the Congress,” Onigman said. “A few of my other goals are: improving the [Alumni Sports & Fitness Center], reducing divisions between houses, and updating library and house infrastructure.”
Loebel echoed Harmon-Vaught’s vision of improving the efficiency of systems that affect the funding of extra-curricular organizations and hopes to help effect change in these areas in his position as treasurer.
“What I am looking most forward to is working with Club Council to help out the great clubs on campus and finding new ways to help make DipCon easier to work with so that more clubs can benefit,” Loebel said.
Loebel also emphasized that he is looking forward to working with this DipCon executive Board as well as the general assembly, but any students who have ideas or suggestions should feel comfortable reaching out to him or any other member of student government.
As secretary, Strauss wants to focus on improving communication between DipCon and the student body by increasing the transparency of meetings and further publicizing open office hours. She also hopes to help maintain a close relationship with campus food providers and to encourage school spirit at athletic events.
“I am looking forward to working with such a great exec board and all of the members of the Diplomatic Congress,” Strauss said. “I am also looking forward to the positive changes we are going to make on campus.”
Senior Lila Epstein is senior staff. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.