And while the Northwest Christian University student body president doesn’t quite know what to do with all the new attention he’s receiving, he says it’s a welcome change from the isolation, verbal attacks and accusing questions that he’d grown to expect as rumors about his nonbelief circulated.

“I don’t have to hide anymore,” said Fromm, 21. “I know that people accept me for who I am.”

Though his active campus involvement was enough to win him the student government presidential election, Fromm said he’s felt judged by some of his peers throughout college because, as he wrote in the article that appeared in the school’s Beacon Bolt newspaper last week, “I couldn’t force myself to believe in God.”