Never a Stranger - Three Classmates Remember Eve Carson

“I thought I misheard or something because when a public icon like Eve, student body president – just someone everybody loves — you kind of make them invincible. You think nothing bad can happen to a person like that. And so I just didn’t believe it. I was just completely shocked.”

Hogan Medlin is “just” a freshman, not sure if he had enough Carolina experience to get into student government. Eve Carson made sure he felt welcome to pursue his interest with abandon.

Medlin, a Morehead-Cain Scholar like Carson, met her a year ago. He said her encouragement led him to his position on the student leadership advisory committee.

“I will say that her encouragement to join a committee or to get involved in student government was definitely helpful because it was sort of intimidating to apply in the first place,” said Medlin, who is from Eden. “Her encouragement, ‘Hey you can do this, it doesn’t matter that you’re a freshman, anyone can do student government,’ led me to apply and interview and all that good stuff.

“The one meeting she sat in on was one of our most vibrant meetings she could take things to the next level, I guess.

“I don’t know I feel like you’re going to get the same response from everyone,” Medlin said to an interviewer. “She just was the same person to everyone. If she didn’t know you, she would get to know you.”

Geoffrey Staton, a senior and an exercise and sports science major from Greensboro, was Carson’s counselor at freshman camp.

“She definitely stood out,” Staton said. “She made a big impact on camp as a freshman. Everybody knew that this girl was going to be special.

“It was funny. Even as a camper, she was already acting like a counselor, just the way she got along with us. … We have to do skits every year where you can make fun of the counselors, and she ran with it, and she had a great time. I’ll never forget, she was impersonating some of the counselors, and she did it great, and everybody gave her a standing ovation.

“She applied [to be] a camp counselor for the following year, and of course, she was unanimously voted in  a powerful person, always putting other people first. Like, if somebody came up short when they’re eating lunch, then Eve would pay the rest of whatever it was. Or if somebody didn’t have a place to sit, she would offer, ‘You can come sit at my table.’ If it was somebody she didn’t know, she would go up and introduce herself and just make sure everybody was having a great day. You didn’t have to know her or be her friend for her to be open to you.

“She loved Carolina, and she wanted to make sure everybody else felt the same way she did. If she felt that something needed to be changed, she would voice that opinion. She embodies Carolina and put her heart and soul in her work.

“It’s been a hard day trying to realize that one of my favorite people is no longer here,” Staton said Thursday.

Lauren Ferguson worked with Carson as a member of the Dance Marathon Entertainment Committee.

“I didn’t know her as a close friend, but everyone knew her,” she said. “If you met her once, then she would know you every time you saw her after that.

“We had her be the judge of the Battle of the Bands [a fundraiser for the Dance Marathon] and the athletic lip synch. I was just, like, in charge of judges of those, and she has a crazy busy schedule, and she took the time out to help us.

“I had to give her the form to judge the Battle of the Bands, and she was in front of the whole crowd and dancing crazy and singing with the bands. You could tell just by looking at her that she lived life to the fullest that she had it all together, and she would have done something really great with her life.”

Medlin said Carson always subordinated her needs to those of others around her.

“I’ve never heard her [say anything like], ‘Oh, I’m tired, so I’m not going to do this.’ It’s always like, ‘How are you feeling? What is your take on this?’

“She really cared about other people’s opinions. I know one thing she was really passionate about here at UNC was getting student input on government issues before making big changes. The fee increases that would happen on campus she wanted to make sure that the student body knew about it and they had an opportunity to say something about it.

“And for me, looking forward to a political career, Eve is definitely going to make a big impact on my mentality of how to be a good representative [of] other people and to not just think that your ideas are the best ideas but to incorporate those of everyone for whatever you’re going for.

“Every time I would see her, the discussion would turn to student government at some point, just because both of us are really passionate about politics and having our voices heard. One thing that will always stand out in my mind was how much she valued my opinion. Whether or not she had known me for a year it didn’t matter. What mattered was that she was student body president, and she wanted to know what I had to say.”

— Laura Oleniacz

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