In a decisive victory, Eve Carson was elected Tuesday night to become UNC’s next student body president in an election that saw above-average voter turnout.
Carson beat her competitor, Nick Neptune, 3,639 to 2,961 votes in the runoff election after spending a month campaigning and an additional week preparing for the runoff.
“I’m just so excited and really happy,” Carson said moments after hearing the news. “This is such a huge experience.”
Carson’s campaign staff celebrated around her as the results were announced by cheering and congratulating her.
Neptune sat calmly as the announcement was made, saying there was one word to describe how he felt after coming up short. “Of course it’s disappointment,” he said. “We put a lot of good work in.”
Carson said she hopes to work with Neptune during her tenure and wants to incorporate the transformation of the End Zone into her platform.
Neptune said he’s not sure about his plans for next year yet, but has said he will be active in some way.
Carson and Neptune beat out former student body president candidates Caroline Spencer and Jon Kite last week, forcing Tuesday’s runoff. Carson garnered 40 percent of the initial vote and entered the runoff as the front-runner. Neptune earned 33 percent.
The runoff drew 6,613 total voters – more than last year’s general election, which saw 6,025 students cast a ballot.
Jim Brewer, chairman of the Board of Elections, said there were no major problems reported.
Carson said she plans to catch up on sleep and homework before talking with the Board of Trustees as her first move. She takes office April 3.
“We want to establish predictable tuition and make student government effective and exciting,” she said. “We want the students to know that they have the power.”
Carson said campaigning was a life-changing experience. “In a way, it’s like one of those projects that you spend so long on, and when you’re done, they’re just an important part of your life,” she said.
She spent six months compiling an extensive platform of more than 100 planks, researching feasibility and speaking with students and administrators to determine the best way to enact the planks.
But the road to success hasn’t been perfect. She received one of the largest campaign violations of the election -$25 for distributing her platform before campaign materials were allowed.
Carson’s platform focuses on improving campus efficiency by using technology to improve course registration and adding Wi-Fi boosters around campus.
Her platform also contains a number of innovative ideas, such as a “big name” speaker series and a campus music festival. The feasibility of these points came under scrutiny during the campaign.
As an outsider of student government, Carson’s involvement thus far at UNC has keyed on other campus organizations. She has held leadership positions in groups such as the Honors Program Student Executive Board and Nourish International.
Carson said her competitors were one factor in her success. “I just want to thank Nick and the other candidates for making me better.”
Staff writer Greg Margolis contributed to this report.
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