After a close runoff, junior Dane Block has been elected as Auburn University's next SGA president, SGA Executive Director of Elections Catherine Milling announced on the back steps of Cater Hall Thursday night.
Block, a finance major from Huntsville, defeated junior in poultry science
"To know that I have this next year to serve Auburn in such a unique way fires me up," Block said. "This is what we worked our tails off for."
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Election complaints were turned in against both Block and Starr for violating SGA election rules.
The Elections Board deducted 70 votes from Starr for using exotic animals in his campaign and 60 votes from Block for supporters wearing campaign materials in prohibited areas and using cell phones to garner votes.
The vote deductions did not have an effect on the outcome. Block won with 4,154 votes or 51.88 percent. Starr took 3,853 votes or 48.12 percent — a difference of 301 votes.
There was a difference of 291 votes before deductions.
Regardless, Block said he and Starr — who were good friends — ran fair campaigns.
"It's been an incredible week and being
Block said he won because he surrounded himself with great people and developed a tangible platform.
"I developed a platform for the students and now I can go out and get my hands dirty and serve every single day," Block said. "The community around me has pushed me out of my comfort zone."
Block said his campaign team pushed him to be a better man.
"I have some studs around me," Block said. "They have loved on me, prayed over me and poured into me day-in and day-out. I feel like I owe this to them and everyone at Auburn."
The new SGA president will succeed SGA President Jacqueline Keck in overseeing Auburn's student government. Keck was only the third woman ever elected to the position.
"I've seen Jacqueline lead and serve, and if I can do half the job she's done, I'll be happy," Block said. "But we'll always strive to improve."
Block developed a platform — "Build with Block" — focused on safety, access, affordability, unity, dining
"People have been asking me which one I'm most passionate about, and, honestly, I'm passionate about every single platform point," Block said. "I've met with administrators that are in charge and they're on board. They're open to what we want to bring to the table."
Specifically, Block hopes to update crosswalk technology in some of the more unsafe pedestrian areas, improve lighting around campus, increase food truck options and launch a comprehensive review of the Tiger Transit service.
"Now it's just going forward, doing the groundwork and putting together the structure," Block said. "Big things are going to happen. We're going to set things in motion for long after I'm here."
Block, a former assistant director of the organizations block seating program and College of Business
"There are great leaders all over campus if you look for them," Block said. "There are students that care. Students want to care. They want to be a part of something big."
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Starr said he doesn't see his loss as a closed door and hopes to continue serving on campus.
“I have all the respect for Dane Block, I think he is going to be a great SGA president," Starr said. "I have known him since freshman year on and off, so I just look forward to what SGA has in store and where I am going to be used next and looking for the next adventure.”
The new SGA president will officially transition into the position on Feb. 25.
"I'm going to get the business done, but we're going to have a good time doing it," Block said.