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Taking the Lead

Student Body President Matt Williams addresses the Board of Trustees during a meeting in the Park Alumni Center.

New student body president Matt Williams is still recovering from the stress of running a successful campuswide campaign. But all he needed was a day or two to catch his breath before laying out his plans for the coming year.

Williams says he plans to build on the success of recent student administrations by improving the way students communicate among themselves and with administrators.

“We’ve got to find innovative ways to build Wolfpack pride and create an active, involved student body that wants to keep the university growing,” he says. “That’s how we build a community of students and graduates who remain forever linked to NC State.”

Youngest Kid in Class

As it turns out, Williams’ connection to NC State began before he could read or write. His mother, just 21 when he was born, took time off from school to begin raising him but returned to NC State when he was 5 years old.

“I used to color in the back of the room during her classes,” Williams says. “She always said I paid more attention in class than she did. And when she graduated, I actually walked with her. So yeah, I sort of already graduated from State.”

As early as elementary school, Williams realized he had an interest in politics and government.

“I remember getting elected as the class alternate and not realizing exactly what that meant, so I attended all the student government meetings anyway, and they were too nice to explain. Eventually I sort of became the de facto class rep,” he says.

Making a Detour

Despite his early connection to NC State, Williams enrolled at NC A&T University his freshman year.

Matt Williams
Matt Williams is NC State’s new student body president.

“After growing up here, I wanted to get away from Raleigh, step outside my comfort zone and find my own path,” he explains. “It took about two weeks before I realized my heart was here at NC State.”

Throughout his freshman year Williams remained very Wolfpack-focused, spending weekends and free time attending football games and visiting friends on campus. By the time he transferred to NC State, he was ready to hit the ground running as a sophomore in political science.

Williams’ involvement with student government began with stints on the Traditions Commission, which he ultimately chaired, and a term as a student senator.

Campaign Swings

This year’s campaign for student body president, compressed into just two weeks, was exhilarating but exhausting.

“There’s not much sleep during campaign weeks, especially when you’re trying to keep up with schoolwork,” he says. “Everyone is working during every free moment. It takes a tremendous amount of teamwork. You can’t become student body president without a great team.”

As the results came in on election day and the celebration began, Williams realized that one of the most important members of the team was missing.

“I actually put my mom on speakerphone so she could hear the results, and immediately I heard her start to sob, and then I just started to bawl, and then it was just a chain reaction down the line,” he says. “Everyone was so sleep-deprived, and they wanted this so much and had worked so hard. And to realize that all that hard work paid off, is just so amazing.”