Getting involved in his school seemed to come naturally for Ed Stack. He helped establish the first student government at his junior high school in Rowan County, N.C., and then became the school’s first student body president. In high school, he was involved in student government, sports and, as he says, “every club that you could think of.”
So when he came to NC State, Stack didn’t hesitate to get involved — even if it was on a much larger stage than the small schools he had attended before college. As a textiles management major, Stack got involved with the Textile Student Council when he was a freshman.
“Fortunately, the textile school is a very fostering and encouraging place to be,” Stack said in one of his interviews as part of the Student Leadership Initiative, an effort by NCSU Libraries to chronicle the experiences of student leaders at NC State. “I mean, I certainly didn’t come to State with the mindset that I was going to run for student body president, although I had always been involved in student government.”
His time on the Textile Student Council, though, whetted Stack’s appetite for student government. He was elected student body president his junior year and then re-elected again his senior year, holding the office from 1990-92.
But while Stack enjoyed being involved with student government — working with other students on different programs and issues – he did not particularly enjoy the election process. “I’ve always been surprised at how much politics — pure, ugly politics — is involved in student government, or at least was at the time,” he said. “That is probably the thing that I liked least about it.”
Stack served during a tumultuous time for NC State, with state budget cuts impacting the hours that D.H. Hill Library could be open. Stack challenged the student body president at UNC to a fundraising contest to raise money for the libraries at the two universities. “Even though State and Carolina are big rivals, we can come together on such an important issue and send a strong message to the state legislature,” Stack said at the time.
The loser of the contest would have to wear the winning school’s colors at an NC State-UNC basketball game. Stack raised over $6,000, more than enough to win the challenge.
Stack, who is now associate executive director of The Wolfpack Club, says his motivation for being involved in student government — or in his fraternity or anything else at NC State — was simple. “Anything that I got involved in,” he said, “was really an effort to make NC State a smaller place.”