AMHERST, MA — Richard Maroney ’18 has a cold.
We’re having coffee at Schwemm’s and the first-year senator, heralded by many as the “campus savior” and “super senator,” can’t stop blowing his nose. He’s drinking Earl of Bengal Tea and repeatedly apologizing as he pulls out kleenex after kleenex.
Around us, Grab-n-Go buzzes and a girl in a walking boot tells her friend she’s never ordering wings again. Out a window, foliage appears to have hit its peak. Between sniffles, Moroney tells me that “fall break wasn’t as relaxing as I’d have liked. I had a lot of work to do.”
If you know Maroney, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Two weeks into his term as first-year senator, Maroney has drastically improved campus culture behind an assortment of radical initiatives truly unlike anything the campus has ever seen.
The shortlist? Two-ply toilet paper in every bathroom on campus. More transparency in the AAS. Revamped party policy. Athlete/non-athlete divide bridged. Amherst Awkward a thing of the past. Valentine menu revamped with exclusively local, free range food. Not to mention all-new hours. I could go on.
From afar, Maroney’s just another tenderfoot first-year that unironically wears A.J. Hasting’s T-shirts and might, as you wait behind him in line at Val, make you think, where did all those years go?
But Magical Maroney is more than a starry-eyed first-year on the right side of the Freshman-15. His initiatives are making immediate impacts and, as he puts it after taking a lengthy swig of tea,”I’m just getting started.”
“You know, I’ve really just been trying to think outside the box,” he explains after I ask him where his unthinkable ideas like better Val hours come from. “Steve Jobs is a real hero of mine.”
Veteran senators from both sides of the Red Room have spoken out in support of the Maroney’s success.
“Two-ply toilet paper? I mean, that’s just unheard of,” said Janet Jacobson ’15. “Who know’s what he’s going to do next. I’m honestly just as excited as everyone else!”
Maroney’s success has, perhaps unsurprisingly, already led to rumors swirling about a potential presidential bid this spring. When I ask him about this, Maroney takes a long gaze out the window before finishing his tea.
“Wow,” he says. “It’s really just an honor to hear my name in the same breath as AAS President. But right now I’m just focused on getting things done for the students of Amherst College.”
Before I know it, Maroney’s telling me he’s got to run to a meeting with Dean Vazquez and Professor Temeles to discuss how to improve campus sustainability. I shake my head, impressed with how nonchalantly he’s just dropped this truth bomb.
As he leaves, he gives me a firm handshake and tells me, “thanks for the tea.”
No, I say. Thank you, Senator Maroney. Thank you.