Skip to content

Essays On Running For President

Note: Forum staff did not edit or revise these statements in any way. They are directly from the candidates in their own words. Their views do not necessarily represent those of the Forum.Statements from each of the candidates are below, listed in the order they were received. Acting in accordance with ASCMC election rules, comments have been disabled for this post.

Candidates will be giving speeches on Tuesday, September 24th at 8:30 pm at the Athenaeum.

Brittany Arneson

Hey guys! To tell you a little bit about myself, I am a CMS water polo player, I’m a SoCal native, and my favorite quote is from Kerouac: “Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.”

If elected Freshman Class President, my main objective is not to simply make our freshman year amazing, but to help make our class into a family.  My goal is to build the class of 2017 into a cohesive unit of fantastic individuals. I’m talking about class tanks, monthly freshman competitions, and movie nights (Pitch Perfect, anyone?). I think we should want to actually get to know the people who we will be spending four years of our lives with. Not just names and faces, let’s actually form friendships. Let’s foster a community that supports one another, no matter what. I want you all to know that I’m here to listen, to help, and just be there for anyone that needs a friend. Anyone you elect for class president will help ensure that the legendary party scene will be maintained; if elected I will do everything in my power to provide everyone with the opportunity to get to know one another. I plan to do this through events that aren’t just cool and memorable, but ones that are actually meaningful experiences.


Alex Brenner

My name is Alex Brenner. I’ve lived in San Francisco and New York City, but my home is now here at CMC. From the first time I stepped onto this campus, I knew this was the only place for me. When I applied ED, I thought I knew how great the school was, but after just a few weeks, I could truly feel the passion and openness here.

I love CMC. The supportive community here has truly helped me adjust to living on my own for the first time. It means so much to me to know that our class is really one big family. We’re going to be in this together for the next four years and I want to make sure we have the greatest time of our lives.

So why am I interested in being your freshman class president? I want all of us to feel at home here. I’ve already started planning events to bring us together, such as Freshman Fridays, Class Adventure Days to Santa Monica Beach, and nights in LA. I truly look forward to getting to know you better, and working on your behalf, so please let me know your ideas and suggestions.

I’ve tried to meet as many of you as possible these past few weeks—whether it has been at different tables at meals or simply talking with many of you in between classes.  For those who I haven’t met, I look forward to getting to know you in the coming weeks.  If I am elected class president, I hope you’ll always feel comfortable telling me what’s on your mind.

I don’t simply want to have the title as Freshmen Class President.  Rather, I want to be your voice, your representative, and your friend.


Tyler Finn

Hey there fellow freshman!

I’m Tyler Finn and I am so excited to be running for Freshman Class President!

I am running on a simple platform: FAMILY.

I look at the sophomore class, junior class, senior class, and what I see are families who care deeply about one another, love to have fun with one another, and are stoked to be able to work together each and every day they’re here at CMC. I look at the other three classes as a whole, and realize that they are also part of a larger CMC family.

Becoming a Freshman family and integrating into the CMC family will both take some time, but I have a few steps to help us get there:

1. Follow in the footsteps of Iris (current Sophomore class prez), and put together a FroCo. The FroCo will be made up of 10 Freshman who are interested in helping me throw bomb events. I want to get your ideas on what events to throw, themes, and publicity, so that everyone can get out and meet their fellow Freshman!

2. Throw bomb events for Freshman. All Freshman attend. Everyone meets everyone!

3. Throw bomb events for Freshman and other classes. All CMC kids attend. Everyone meets everyone!

Three easy steps and a lot of hard work, and we’ll be well on our way to becoming a family!

Stay Classy CMC,



Sarah Gissinger

Hey CMC Class of 2017!

My name is Sarah Gissinger and I would love the opportunity to represent you as Freshman President.  I have a lot of great ideas to help each of us have the best first year at the happiest college in America!

Some of these ideas include:

  • Class socials and events to bring our class closer together (anything from mixers to movie nights; let me know what types of events YOU want to see!)
  • Spirit gear such as 2017 class tanks
  • Service projects on a regular basis, so we can reach out to our community while bonding as a Freshman Class
  • Ways to make your voice heard: I will establish a Freshman Council to help make important decisions that will affect our class, have monthly surveys and forums where you can voice your opinions, and make myself available to you for questions, concerns or ideas!

I have experience with leadership and student government; during my senior year I served as Vice President for a student body of over 3,000 students. But what makes me most qualified to be your Freshman Class President is how much I already care about Claremont McKenna College and its students. I truly want every member of the Class of 2017 to have an amazing experience. I believe I can help unify our class, listen to your ideas and concerns, and take action to make 2017 the greatest class CMC has ever seen!

Please vote Sarah Gissinger for CMC Freshman Class President on Wednesday, September 25!

Feel free to reach out to me at any time!

Email: [email protected]

Facebook Page!

First Freshman Class Survey!


Haley Goodman

Hello Class of 2017! Although we’ve only been here for a month, I couldn’t be happier that I’m at CMC. My favorite part of being a freshman is the excitement of getting to know our class for the first time and knowing that we have the next four years to spend with each other at this amazing place!

A little bit about myself: I grew up right outside of New York City and am a huge fan of rock climbing, TV, and tacos. One of my biggest regrets in high school was that I didn’t get involved in student government until my senior year. Only then did I realize the fun and satisfaction of getting to plan and facilitate the bonding of my class. This experience drove me to run for Freshman Class President at CMC, because I want to do whatever I can to make our year the best possible. Our school is undoubtedly close-knit and inclusive, but I want our freshman class to be especially bonded.

Many can attest that it takes me about 15 minutes longer than it should to walk anywhere. Why? Because I’m always stopping to talk with people! Whether you’re in my Gov. class or were on my community service project the 2nd day of orientation, I always want to hear what’s going on with all of you—I care. And I’ll continue to care as your president.

I believe the key to unifying our class is a mix of both wet and dry events; mixers before TNC and sports games, anyone? Who’s up for a freshmen-only Six Flags trip?  OH, and most importantly SUNDAY NIGHT FOODFEST!!! If you like these ideas, come stop by my room in Green 115 any time to hear more, chat about the election, or just watch HBO!


Austin Landgraf

Here’s a brief outline of my platform:

1. Camaraderie: Part of my vision is to create a really strong sense of unity within our class.  I aim to do this by throwing various freshman events.  Here are some of my ideas: (I wouldn’t say creativity is my strength, so I plan on stocking my freshman council with a bunch of creative minds.  This is definitely not an exhaustive list.)

a.) Overnight trip to Mt. Baldy to watch a meteor shower

b.) Formal salsa dancing night

2. Major Improvements: A main responsibility of a class president is to meet the needs of the students.  I have two ideas for how to do this.

a.) Fan Renting System — You’d rent a fan and return it at the end of the semester.

b.) Direct Book Exchange Website — I’d hire someone to build a website that eliminates the middleman in buying and selling books.  It would work like this:  There would be a tab for each course offered by CMC.  People who have the books for a course would register under the corresponding tab and list their price.  The buyer would click on the tab, contact the person who has the book, meet up with them, and buy it.  Benefits: no packaging, no shipping, no waiting around for your books to arrive.

3. Community: I think that some of our best friends at CMC are going to be in the classes right above us.  I want to start forming the ties between our class and the upperclassmen right now.  I’ll do this by:

a.) working with the current sophomore class president, Iris, to throw more Freshman/Sophomore events

b.) planning additional events aimed at integrating all four classes


Cassie Lewis

The elections for freshman class president are drawing near, and it’s time for the class of 2017 to decide who is going to represent them for the remainder of the school year. So how do you choose between all the different candidates running?  What makes a good freshman class president? How about someone who’s enthusiastic? Perhaps a candidate who takes initiative to get to know every one of her classmates is the right choice. Someone who’s passionate about coordinating events and making CMC the best it can be. After all, we do have to keep up our reputation as the happiest college in America. I believe that as freshman class president, I would be a useful contributor to this cause. My goal for this year is to get to know every single one of you, and to have everyone get to know everyone else. This graduating class is full of some of the most interesting people ever, and it would be a shame to never get a chance to know them. I hope to provide this chance. I also want to make sure that all of your voices are heard. If you have an idea for a great new event or an issue with the current way something is run, I want to make sure these are addressed. As freshmen class president, I would like to think of myself not as your leader, but your facilitator, so that we can make this year the absolute best it could be. Vote Cassie Lewis for freshmen class president!


Cole Mora

I will be the person that is there for you when you need it. The way I see it, the Freshman Class President’s most important responsibility is connecting with their classmates to earn trust and create a sense of unity. Every student should feel like a part of the family we have here, and I want to make sure that happens. We live a uniquely fantastic life here at CMC, but there’s always room for improvement and change. I will dedicate myself to my class and my school so that no one can describe their first year at CMC as anything other than great. I will also make myself as available as possible, because after meeting so many of you, the biggest mistake I could make would be neglecting the wealth of ideas and capabilities that you all possess. I am motivated to be someone you can rely on, and committed to the success of our class. I believe that I have the ability to effectively serve you, and I’d be thankful for your vote. You can ask me about my qualifications whenever you see me, but I wanted this statement to focus not on what I’ve done in the past, but what I can do for you as we move forward. If anyone would like to talk more, or needs someone to talk to, feel free to come by Appleby 215 and I’d love to have a chat. Thanks for your time CMC.


Natan Sebhatleab

Class of 2017,

My name is Natan Sebhatleab and I am running to be your Freshman

Class President. I am running because I think I’m the man for the job.  As a resident on the beach side of Green Hall, I have had to quickly learn about the dynamic social scene at CMC.  I have met so many of you in the dining halls, class and at the many great parties that we’ve already had.  I have also met some of you in my room while some of you guys use it as a pit stop throughout the night,  some of you use it as short cut when crossing green.  I love it. I love all of it.  I’ve had the time of my life here and it’s only the beginning.  I can be your class president because I have the qualifications, drive and integrity to bring our class together as a community and throw awesome parties. But, I want to be your class president because I love this place.  I love the CMC and our class and I will fight fiercely to preserve the interests of our class and the CMC community.

As your class president, I will do the following things.

  • Socialize
    • Improve inter-college relationships:
    • Coordinate with the class president at the other claremont college
    • Host pre-games for freshmen from all 5Cs
  • Communicate
  • Budgeting
    • Ask for class input when decide budgeting
    • Best party idea contest: person with the best event idea gets to throw it using small portion of class budget
    • Tanks: Make coolest tanks you’ve ever seen

Vote Natan Sebhatleab as your Freshman Class President!

I would be the Freshest Frez!


Max Urman

Hey class of 2017! My name is Max Urman and I am one of your candidates for freshman class president. Since we’ve only been here a few weeks I have not gotten the chance to meet a lot of our awesome class. For those of you that don’t know me, I love to golf, play piano, listen to music, ski, and play basketball. In High School I was part of several clubs which focused on improving on campus life. My High School had 4,000 kids so I am used to advocating for myself and peers as well as working with faculty.

The most important thing about me, however, is that I love to be involved and make as much of a difference as possible. I have fallen in the love with that way that students care so much about the world around them. In my short time here at CMC it’s obvious to me that the people here really care about our school and our community. As Freshman Class president I want to bring everyone’s desire to improve our school into action and of course have a ton of fun. I think it’s really to get into the everyday routine of life. Where all we do is eat/ party with the same people or study in the same spot. As freshman class president I want to create events where freshman can go and meet new people. It would be my goal to listen to everyone around me and make the next four years even better than they are already destined to be.

Vote Max Urman He’s your man!


Jen Vaccaro

Fellow class of 2017 CMCers,

After 18 years, 5+ college apps, 2+ SAT tests and 1 CMC application… we somehow all managed to end up here – together.

We are the 12%, the class of 2017. We picked CMC to be part of a small community of people who care about each other unconditionally. For this next year I want to help strengthen this community of vibrant, ambitious and fun individuals.


I am Jen Vaccaro, from Lafayette, California. I was the president of my school’s a cappella chapter, played and coached soccer, and for four years I worked for the Association of University Women as President of their leadership committee and chair of publicity/social events. I also worked for my high school’s leadership branch. I love The Middle, Modern Family, and Game of Thrones (yes, even after the Red Wedding).


Because I believe in this community. We, the CMC class of 2017, are the ones who may be the best men or maids of honor at our weddings, watch our children grow up and, most importantly, play bp with us in 15 years at Pirate Party.


I will focus on building a sense of community within our freshman class. Among many other ideas, I will start a Google page where anyone can send me suggestions, questions and complaints. This idea represents my mission to have an approachable and relatable presidency. I want to represent and work to effect your ideas at all ASCMC meetings.


  • Organize more Target/ Montecito Plaza trips (zipcar = $)
  • class of 2017 mixers
  • Friday night trips to the village (21 choices, anyone?)
  • Pre-game events for sports
  • Pre-Halloween scary movie night/ pumpkin carving
  • Holiday gift exchange / cookie decorating (as if snack and tea isn’t enough)
  • Viewing parties of some of our favorite shows


Chloe Zagrodzky

Hey, y’all! My name is Chloe Zagrodzky. I’m from Austin, Texas, currently residing in Benson, and I would love to be the president of the Class of 2017! In high school, I served on Student Government all four years, leading up to my role as Vice President of the Student Body senior year. As VP, I was in charge of planning major campus events, including a masquerade ball and a rave. If elected to ASCMC, I would love to put that experience to use by not only helping to throw awesome TNCs and Saturday night parties, but organize some freshman-only parties and activities so we can all have fun and bond as a class. In addition to costume parties and glow-in-the-dark ragers, I’d like to have some more low-key bonding activities as well. Ideally, I’d like to coordinate with the Dean of Students and create a freshman beach day where we could all tan, swim, play beach volleyball and generally have a good time. On a more regular basis, I’d like to organize Sunday board games in one of the lounges, because what better way to get to know your peers than playing Cards Against Humanity? I also think having a freshman forum to discuss issues and hopes for the year would not only help me serve the Class of 2017, but allow your opinions, desires and concerns be known. Long story short, freshman year is a big transition, and I’d like to make it as fun, easy and welcoming as possible.

In 1948, Emilie Spencer Deer, a solidly Republican woman from Ohio, announced to her family that she would vote for President Truman instead of the Republican candidate Thomas Dewey because she could not vote for a man with a mustache. She was neither foolish nor alone in her opinion. Educated and conscientious, she was, like other women of her day, simply reading the signs of what a good man looked like at the time. A clean-shaven man was team player, whereas a mustachioed one demonstrated a willful independence that was not worthy of her confidence.

Emilie Deer was a voter in Ohio, one of three hotly contested states whose loss cost Dewey the election. In California, Indiana, and Ohio combined, Dewey lost by a mere 38,218 votes out of 8.6 million cast—just four-tenths of one percent. Had he won just over half of that tiny margin he would have become president. Indeed, the election was so close that the polls got it wrong and the Chicago Daily Tribune famously printed an errant early edition with the blaring headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.” The winner was only too happy to hold it up as a symbol of his come-from-behind victory.

It’s true that Truman had leveraged his populist, “Give ’em hell” persona to rally the working man behind the standard-bearer of the “Fair Deal.” There was, however, more to this confrontation than political policy. Dewey and Truman also offered voters contrasting images of masculinity: Truman complemented his trim, carefully tailored suits and clean-shaven face with a warm smile, while Dewey appeared neat, but rather less congenial. Emilie Deer’s story suggests the additional facial hair may have been crucial in establishing a negative image of Dewey. More to the point, women judging male character may have determined the outcome.

Harry Truman defeats Thomas Dewey.

At first, the mustache worked in Dewey’s favor. In the 1930s, he made a name for himself prosecuting mob bosses in New York, his home state, where his facial hair added to his reputation of forcefulness, and helped a self-conscious Dewey compensate for his short stature. One admiring male journalist effused that “in this clean-shaven age . . . [Dewey’s mustache] is little short of epic. It is fulsome, luxuriant, raven black, compelling, and curved in a way to gladden an artist’s eye.” Dewey was, in that writer’s opinion, “a Clark Gable of candidates” with more charm, personality, and political sex appeal than other Republicans. This was an overstatement. Dewey famously lacked the warm charisma of a movie star, and his mustache was not Gable’s dashing pencil trace, but a thicker and less distinctive brush.

Mustache murmurs began immediately, however, when Dewey launched his first campaign, in 1944. Women writers were the most critical. After attending the Republican National Convention in Chicago that July, Helen Essary, a syndicated political columnist, declared herself impressed by Dewey’s intelligence and courage, but hopeful that the candidate would get himself to a barber right away. “I have heard dozens of women make the same criticism of the gentleman from New York,” Essary wrote. “It takes from the seriousness and strength of his face. Moreover it will not help with the women vote. . . . You see only the mustache. You remember only the mustache. Without it, Governor Dewey would look a million percent more real as the proper man for the White House job he is after.”

Edith Efron, writing in the pages of the New York Times Sunday Magazine in August 1944, also concluded that Dewey “may be elected to office, but it will be in spite of his ‘manly attributes’—not because of them.” To Efron, it seemed clear that whatever reasons a man had for wearing one, a mustache had a profound, often negative effect. “It plays many roles today,” she wrote. “It is Chaplin-pathetic, Hitler-psychopathic, Gable-debonnair, Lou Lehr–wacky. It perplexes. It fascinates. It amuses. And it repels.” Those writers who defended Dewey, usually male, agreed that mustaches marked an assertive type of man, but they read this as a positive quality.

From the female writers’ perspective, Dewey failed to meet the standard of modern manhood. In the early 20th century, shaving was, along with an appropriate suit, tie, and hat, a sign that a man was a conforming member of the masculine collective, whether it was the army, a company, or a sports team. Hollywood already knew what Dewey did not. Women in general would rather not see a leading man with facial fuzz. In the late 1930s, after evaluating the reaction of women in test audiences to actors with and without a mustache, the big studios advised their male stars to stay shaved.

Dewey campaigns in 1948.

When he ran again, in 1948, Dewey trimmed back his already modest mustache, but it still loomed large in perceptions of him as a candidate. Once again, female columnists raised objections while Dewey himself preserved his dignity by ignoring the issue. Only after the election, he explained to a female voter in New York that shaving had irritated his lip, and when he let it grow, his wife liked it. He left it to others to respond to popular suspicions that the mustache affirmed his reputation for arrogance. One obliging columnist insisted that the nominee was not affecting “a trick trim . . . like some movie actors have. The Dewey mustache is merely a part of him.” While Dewey’s hairy lip contrasted in some respects with his generally dull and stiff manner—as one wag put it, like a swear word in an unexpressive sentence—the whole package created the impression of a man who was both willful and aloof.

Dewey’s defeat helps explain why he has been the only major candidate since 1912 to sport facial hair. In the era of television and the Internet, voters have increasing relied on physical cues to assess a candidate’s qualities, and voters in our own day still tend to interpret the male face as they did in the 1940s. A recent study suggested that women are less likely to support a bearded candidate, and when former contenders Al Gore and Paul Ryan grew beards, it was readily interpreted as a retreat from presidential ambitions. Even in Canada, shaving off the beard can signal a serious run for office, as in the case of Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

After his near miss with destiny, Dewey seems to have been aware that his mustache had cost him support. In 1950, the wistful governor told a visiting group of boy scouts, “Remember fellows, any boy can become president—unless he’s got a mustache.” It was a joke—sort of. Dewey had learned by bitter experience that being the “Clark Gable of candidates” had not worked out for him.