Student Leaders: Plow took over campus with his power

July 12, 2013
By Chris Saunders
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Eric Plow in 1970 campaigning for “Plow Power.”

What distinguishes Eric Plow from most other former students who campaigned for leadership roles on campus is where he locates the origin of his desire to run.

“It started out as a complete joke,” Plow said in his interview with the Student Leadership Initiative, an NCSU Libraries online archive of former student leaders telling their stories. “I don’t know, I just thought student government was a farce.”

So Plow ran a campaign in the spring of 1970 built on irony and phantom issues.

He proposed changing NC State’s colors to black and white and adding parking gates to literally every parking space on campus. But his satirical platform soon caught steam and he ended up winning. However, the Judicial Board declared his victory invalid, citing poll attendant error. He eventually lost in a runoff to Cathy Sterling, who was elected as the first female student body president.

In his three interviews with NCSU Libraries, Plow talked about how “Plow Power” caught on around campus in the spring of 1970, despite his being a reluctant candidate to continue running. And he said the key to his success in his professional life — he was a computer programmer at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry — were the good grades he received at NC State.

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