Amherst, who are we? That’s the crucial question facing our school today. Let me explain.

I’m a first-year. I’m new to this school and new to this whole college thing. I’d like to think I came to Amherst with a fresh perspective, unbiased by the twists and turns of college life. So with that in mind, when my friends back in Florida call and ask, “So what is Amherst like?” I find it surprisingly difficult to answer that question. Normally, college students can easily point to a prevalent campus culture. But here at Amherst, that isn’t the case. 

Democracy is alive at Amherst College, but barely.

Many students on campus have been following the presidential primary race religiously. But few students have any idea what is going on with Amherst’s own student government.

There is no point to having a democratic system if the people it aims to serve do not actively involve themselves in carrying out its functions. AAS meetings are open to the public — yet it’s rare to see non-senators at a meeting. Any student can run for senate — yet each year many senate races are uncontested.

We at Amherst speak of organizing social life on the model of the team. We have athletic, Title IX and case management teams. Deans throw around the phrase “teams of students.” The 2015 strategic plan recommends “creating teams of first-year students and staff” to cure cultures of busyness and loneliness, cultures which preclude “social interaction and community.” Of course, never are we asked exactly how teams will resolve the lack of “social interaction and community.”

It takes a sense of humor to reflect on the plight of poor Lord Jeff, especially for a member of the college’s older generation who nonetheless has concluded, sadly, that it is time for him to go. Even though as a child I stood on chairs to study maps of his campaigns which adorned the walls of the Inn named for him. But first, we need some perspective.

Steven Lucey ’17 helped lead the men’s cross country team to a first-place finish in the 40-team field at the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship meet this past weekend.

The top five finishing teams at the race featured Amherst’s fellow NESCAC competition with Williams taking second place followed by Middlebury in third, Colby in fourth and Tufts rounding out the top five.

The Amherst College field hockey team fell short to top-seeded Bowdoin this Saturday, in a difficult NESCAC semifinal matchup at the Polar Bears’ home turf in Brunswick, Maine.

After taking down Williams with an exciting 2-1 overtime win in the first round of the NESCAC tournament last Saturday, the Jeffs were excited and prepared to face the No.1 seed in the tournament.

Amherst College’s volleyball team traveled to Bowdoin this weekend to make its 17th consecutive NESCAC tournament appearance. On Friday the third-seeded Firedogs faced sixth-seeded Connecticut College in a rematch of Amherst’s NESCAC season opener in September. Amherst entered the tournament boasting the highest hitting percentage in the league, while Conn. College came in on a hot streak, having won 13 of their last 15 matches.