Sarah Ragsdale knows she is an underdog.
She is seeking to become the sixth female student body president in the last 100 years at the University of Nevada, Reno and to do it, she has to beat a well-connected opponent.
But the 2004 Carson High School graduate isn't deterred.
"There were people who told me not to run, but I was convinced by my supporters that I could do a lot of good," Ragsdale said.
Standing on the west lawn of the Jot Travis Student Union during a lunchtime rally, Ragsdale scampers from group to group answering questions and handing out fliers, while her silver and green sandals struggle to keep up.
"I make promises and then follow through. I have proven I can get things done," she said.
Ragsdale credits her teachers at Carson High School for starting her on the path that could see her becoming president of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada.
"They taught me how to do what I needed to do to get involved and succeed," Ragsdale said. "They make sure you follow through and appreciate students with all kinds of opinions and ideas."
Ragsdale said she was involved in student government at CHS, but chose to work behind the scenes instead of speaking up. She was a member of the National Honor Society and the Family Life Committee. For her senior project, she started RESIST, a tobacco-free club at the high school and worked as a student lobbyist for the American Cancer Society during the "Smoke-free Restaurant" campaign in 2002.
She was salutatorian of the class of 2004 and chose to attend UNR, where she has a 4.0 grade-point average with a major in health ecology and a minor in Spanish.
She asked to be appointed to an open ASUN Senate seat and was re-elected twice to that seat. In 2006, she was elected as speaker of the Senate.
But, Ragsdale said, none of it compares to running a campaign for ASUN president.
"It's very time consuming, dealing with the regulations and budgets and planning for this campaign," she said.
Presidential candidates are restricted to a $400 budget, however donated materials are assessed at half their value, meaning candidates can actually utilize $800 worth of materials.
"It's difficult running on a college campus," she said. "There's a lot of apathy on campus toward voting."
In last year's election, approximately 1,000 of the 12,000 undergraduates voted.
Whether she wins after the polls close today at 6 p.m., Ragsdale said this is probably her last run for public office.
"I believe in public service, I just don't think many elected offices are for me," Ragsdale said. "I'd consider maybe running for a city council position someday, but no state or national level positions."
So what made her run for president?
"Because this university is such a passion of mine. This is where I was supposed to be, and I think I can do some good."
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
If Sarah Ragsdale is elected ASUN President at UNR this week, she will become the sixth female president in the university's last 100 years and only the second Carson High School graduate to achieve the title in the last 20 years.
The other female presidents are:
Frankie Sue Del Pappa, 1971
Stephanie Brown, 1981
Samantha Dollison, 1992
Amber Joiner, 1998
Alicia Lerude, 2002
Only two Carson High graduates have held the position in the last 20 years. They are:
Erin Lankowsky who was president in 2004 and Daniel Oster, a 1992 CHS grad who was president in 1996.