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By Selena Stevens

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"I felt leading BSU was something I wanted to do and believed I could do with the support of black students.   I love working to make the campus a better place for all students."

--Keisha Carter,
UK Black Student Union

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Dec. 4, 2000 – (Lexington, Ky.) – Keisha Carter feels the pain of the two U.S. presidential candidates locked in debate over this year’s presidential election. She’s been in the same place.

Carter, a senior political science and history student at the University of Kentucky, was named president of the UK Black Student Union this fall following a hotly contested election. In the election, Carter tied with opponent Eshoe Edogun, each having the same number of votes.  In a second election, the same thing happened. The Executive Board of the Black Student Union was then asked to pick the president, and Carter got the nod.

“It was a long road getting here, but very much worth it,” Carter said. “I felt leading BSU was something I wanted to do and believed I could do with the support of black students. I love working to make the campus a better place for all students.”

Carter, of Lexington, has been very active on campus during her four years at UK. In addition to participating in BSU, she has served as a representative on the Student Government Association and with the Nubian Council and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She also works part-time jobs at Ruby Tuesday’s and with Her reasons for running for BSU president were the “three Cs – connection, cooperation and community.”

“Our African-American organizations must start working together to get students involved,” she said. “We also need to work more with other campus groups and alumni.”

To work on the community angle, Carter and the BSU have several events planned for the year. The members served dinner to the community’s homeless at Consolidated Baptist Church Nov. 15, sponsored a thanksgiving dinner for the campus community Nov. 16 and hosted a holiday party Dec. 2 along with the UK chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. The group also hopes to expand the Lyman T. Johnson Banquet, an annual spring event it hosts honoring UK’s black students, faculty and staff for their achievements. Other annual events organized by BSU include the Fall Festival in August, Apollo Night in the spring, the Mr. and Ms. Black UK Pageant in the fall and various speakers throughout the year.

“Some students say they don’t know what to do or where to go in this community to get involved,” she said. “UK is going to be home for at least four years, and we want them to feel that it is their home and community, not just a school. Getting active through the BSU and other activities gives you that connection you need.”

The group also is reaching out and connecting with more alumni. The banquet allows some connection, but more is needed, Carter said. During Homecoming, BSU hosted an alumni tailgate that connected many students and alumni.

“The perspective and support of alumni can be very helpful to our students,” Carter said. “It is enriching to bring them into our lives.”

A key goal for Carter’s presidency was to continue to increase student participation in the union. The previous president Clyde Pickett increased membership to the largest in BSU history. Carter plans to build on that.

“If we coordinate with other groups and make sure we meet on different days and work together to support each other, we can all gain members,” she said.

Participating in BSU is a great way to find friendship and support, and it’s not just for black students, Carter said.

“It gives black students a home and family away from home,” she said. “It gives all students a place to go to expand horizons and understanding. It can open your eyes to many new things around you.”

Carter is the daughter of Mona Carter of Lexington and is a graduate of Henry Clay High School.

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