Neel Swamy was elected the Graduate Professional Student Government president this week, while Kade Sutton was elected the Carolina Athletic Association president in a run-off election.
In addition to the presidential election, the Graduate and Professional students at UNC voted to change the name of the Graduate Professional Student Federation to the Graduate Professional Student Government. New GPSG President Swamy said he is excited for this change.
Swamy was announced as president-elect on Wednesday by the Board of Elections, defeating opponent Maian Adams. He secured the office with 60.5 percent of the vote. The total voter turnout for the election was 6.9 percent of eligible voters.
“I was excited, but the word that came to mind was grateful and bewildered,” Swamy said.
Swamy said he is looking forward to incorporating his values into his presidency.
“As a graduate student and two-time cabinet member I was able to identify four values that unite all students at Carolina: agency, belonging, excellence, wellness,” he said.
He will begin his term this spring.
For the coming year, he believes students of all backgrounds need to have a chance to make a difference and connect with peers, administrators and faculty.
One way he intends to do this is through creating “a governance council consisting of leadership from the different student government organizations across the different academic departments”.
The current GPSG president, Ryan Collins, said he believes Swamy will be able to achieve his goals.
“I admire his passion and commitment to supporting graduate and professional students. You can teach someone a job, but you can’t teach them to care about their job,” Collins said.
On the same day of Swamy's election, Kade Sutton was elected president of the CAA. Sutton has worked as a member of CAA for the past three years and followed athletics before and during COVID-19.
He said he has seen high attendance for some events, while others have none at all. One goal of his is to increase the number of students at each sporting event.
“Our baseball, softball, track and field, volleyball, tennis, swimming and diving teams, and so many more deserve endless praise for the hard work they put in to achieve the successes they bring to our University. We are a family here at UNC and each member of that family deserves to be cheered on,” Kade Sutton said in an email.
With Kade Sutton’s victory, he looks forward to being the liaison between the students and the athletic department. He hopes to eventually be able to bring back events like Beat Duke Week and Bosh Bash.
Passion for athletics runs in the family. Kensley Sutton, Kade Sutton’s sister, is the current CAA president, and said she sees his potential in the role.
“He recognizes how hard our student-athletes work and he wants the student body to support their peers," Kensley Sutton said.
As the torch passes between siblings, they are looking forward to opportunities for the CAA beyond COVID-19.
In both GPSG and CAA, Kade Sutton and Swamy plan to bring their own focus to these two organizations.
"My responsibility to support all students in any way I can," Swamy said. "I hold onto that, I take that very seriously."
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