Editorâ€™s note: Associated Students of CSU presidential candidate Regina Martel is a current Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation board member.
No campaign thought they had this yearâ€™s student body presidential race in the bag. But Wednesday night, to an overflowing student Senate chamber, Associated Students of CSU election officials announced that Regina Martel and Joe Eden will be the 2012-2013 president and vice-president of student government.
And the crowd went wild.
â€œI think that what it comes down to is the hard work that we put in for however long we put into this campaign. It came to fruition,â€ Martel said, moments after she and her running-mate swam through a sea of congratulatory supporters. â€œWe couldnâ€™t be more excited to work with students, whatever that looks like for the next year. Weâ€™re excited about every single thing thatâ€™s going to happen for us.â€
Itâ€™s a sentiment that may steel her and Eden for the highly influential positions they are about to assume. As student body president and vice-president, they will allocate more than $1.9 million in student fees, oversee about 60 student staff members and be paid close to $10,000 and $9,000, respectively.
Perhaps most importantly, theyâ€™ll be the faces of CSUâ€™s 26,000 students to the universityâ€™s administration, board of governors, city and state officials, and national legislators.
The winning ticket received 61.1 percent of the 5,050 students who voted in this yearâ€™s student body presidential election. More than 20 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots. Thatâ€™s two percent less than last yearâ€™s participation rate, but on par with the average turnout student government sees in a given election cycle. Their rivals, John Dietrick and Max Muller, got 34.8 percent of ballots cast.
It was the end result of a two-and-a-half week grueling campaign season that saw about $4,000 in expenditures, two debates and months of preparation between both campaigns. The four students were willing to put up with the yearly gauntlet all ASCSU president and vice-president candidates must go through in order to be elected to the highest public office a student can hold at CSU.
â€œI just think that, honestly, it was one of the craziest experiences of my life. There are not words to describe those two-and-a-half weeks for anybody. Itâ€™s a roller coaster,â€ Martel said. â€œI think that weâ€™re happy that weâ€™re on this side of it now. But I think that those two weeks I learned the most about myself and my friends. It was a ride, but a good one.â€
But itâ€™s all over now â€“â€“ a truth that hits particularly hard for Dietrick and Muller.
â€œWe wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors,â€ Dietrick said after shaking hands with Eden, congratulating him on his win. â€œIt happens. Iâ€™m pretty confident in what we did.â€
Martel and Eden will now move onto preparing their $1.9 million budget with the counsel of the current ASCSU administration, but not before they lament the fact that their days in office are now numbered.
â€œI literally cried over a beer today. Iâ€™m not a crier,â€ said Eric Berlinberg, the outgoing ASCSU president. â€œItâ€™s really exciting to see such a strong group of individuals coming in to take over what Iâ€™ve been a part of for the past years.â€
Incoming vice-president Joe Eden couldnâ€™t be in a more different state of mind.
â€œWeâ€™re ready to get to work,â€ he said. â€œReady to start working. Weâ€™ve been very ambitious throughout the campaign. Weâ€™d like to make sure that everything that weâ€™ve been working hard to promise students actually gets done.â€
Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.