Jake Schneider ’14 was elected president of the freshman class, winning 34 percent of the vote in a six-way presidential race to beat out runner-up Tamara Middleton ’14, who garnered 24 percent.
“It feels great. It’s been a hell of a ride,” Schneider said. “I feel honored to be selected by my peers. I was nervous. I didn’t think I was going to win.”
The result of the election comes after weeks of campaigning, during which Schneider and 22 other freshman candidates raced to fill the 10 open spots representing the class of 2014 in the Student Assembly. Meanwhile, three members of the class of 2011 competed for the one open senate position available after Josh Karp ’11 resigned over the summer. Sen. Michael Douglass ’11, a member on the Special Election Commission that monitored and facilitated the election, said he was pleased with the campaigns and the voter turnout.
“Turnout was good, and it was a very fair election,” he said. “There weren’t any ballot problems for the first time in a few years.”
Less than half of the class of 2014 voted in this year’s election, with 47 percent casting ballots. The class of 2011 matched its turnout from the previous election, with 21 percent voting for the single senate seat.
Douglass said he was particularly impressed by several of the candidates, and added that he felt Schneider’s and 2011 senate victor Shep Walker’s hard work was key to their successes.
“Jake is very clearly driven,” Douglass said. “He made a website and put a lot of effort into the campaign. Shep Walker also actually did an impressive job of campaigning. Given the circumstances, it was good to see that many people turn out for only one spot on the senate.”
Schneider and one of the 2014 senate winners, Chase Koontz ’14, also said they felt their campaigning paid off in the end, and both agreed that communication with the student body played a critical role in their victories.
“Just talk to people on campus and make friends with them,” Koontz said. “Friends will campaign for you. Facebook groups and flyers are great, but actually meeting people is the best method.”
Schneider said that his friends and supporters were key to his victory.
“I think I had great people that helped me,” he said. “I think that the campaign wins, not the candidate.”
Schneider, in particular, tried to reach the student body through the internet, launching a website to reach potential voters. He said he would maintain the website as a way for any of his constituents to reach him. The website, www.schneider4pres.weebly.com, will also be updated by the new class president with the latest campus news as he continues to hold office.
Now that the race is over, Schneider said he wants to focus on several goals he believes are attainable by the class of 2014, including a class-wide philanthropic event for a cause to be decided by the class. He hopes that the class of 2014 will involve itself in this event, citing the College of William and Mary’s long history of students dedicated to service.
“Ultimately I want people to feel like they can talk to me about issues that they feel are important. The role of student government is to get people involved,” he said.
Koontz said was optimistic about the potential his class holds, and eager to get started on working for the students.
“I’m pretty excited about this,” he said. There are a lot of really good things to come for the freshman class.”
2010 Student Assembly candidates
VP Social Affairs