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The Daily Tar Heel

Andrew Powell’s student body president victory influenced by support from organizations

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Will Leimenstoll as a Morehead-Cain scholar. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

Andrew Powell emerged from the student body president runoff Tuesday with victory in hand, in part because of the help of several organizations.

In addition to running on a platform of classroom reform, sexual assault awareness and tuition affordability, he received the most endorsements of any candidate in this year’s race.

Among the organizations that endorsed Powell, the most prominent were the Residential Housing Association, the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies and UNC College Republicans .

These organizations decided to support Powell’s campaign after holding forums in which the candidates answered questions from the audience and spoke about their goals for the office.

The influence these endorsements have varied from group to group.

Powell is the third out of the last five student body presidents to be a Morehead-Cain scholar — Christy Lambden and Hogan Medlin were also a part of the program.

Despite a majority of recent student body presidents being a part of the program, Morehead-Cain Executive Director Charles Lovelace said the program does nothing to develop scholars’ leadership qualities or encourage them to pursue such positions.

“They do it naturally,” he said. “We have people doing all sorts of activities.”

Student-run organizations factor into the election in a variety of ways.

“From my experience, the biggest influence that on-campus organizations have is the listserv,” said Peter McClelland, chairman of the College Republicans. “The College Republicans have 1,200 people on our listserv, and whoever we endorse, their name and our recommendation goes out to 1,200 people on election day.”

As the only candidate who is a member of an Interfraternity Council or Panhellenic Council organization, Powell also had support from the Greek system.

A Chi Psi fraternity member, Powell follows in the steps off the last three student body presidents as a member of the Greek system — Christy Lambden, a member of Sigma Phi Society, Will Leimenstoll, a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, and Mary Cooper, a member of Kappa Delta sorority.

“The IFC encourages members to participate in student government,” said Kenan Lee Drum, president of the Interfraternity Council.

Drum said the Greek system engrains values that provide an advantage for its members in their pursuits on campus.

“I think the lessons that one learns in a fraternity are advantageous to any political pursuit,” Drum said.

Wilson Parker, president of the UNC Young Democrats, noted that his group endorsed the winning candidate last year but said the forum is the most important service his organization offers during the campaign.

“We filled up one of the biggest lecture halls in Bingham with students who were interested in the election,” Parker said. “We let students talk to candidates about issues that matter. I think that is what is really valuable. I think the forum wasn’t a time where we were like, ‘Who are we going to endorse,’ but rather a chance for the community to get to know the candidates.”

Campus Y Director Richard Harrill said Vicente and Powell, who both worked at the Campus Y, had opportunities to hone their leadership abilities.

“We have weekly workshops for training and skills training,” Harrill said.

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