Student Leaders: Majoring in politics and people skills

August 22, 2013
By Bill Krueger

Officially, Will Quick majored in political science when he was a student at NC State in the mid-2000s.

But Quick said he often felt as if his major revolved around his work with student government. He was president of the Student Senate during the 2004-05 academic year and student body president during the 2006-07 academic year (after losing the previous year’s election to “The Pirate Captain”).

resolver“You also ended up basically just majoring in sort of people skills and how do you deal with administrators and how do you go down to the legislature and do lobbying,” Quick said in one of a series of recorded interviews as part of the Student Leadership Initiative, an effort by NCSU Libraries to document the experiences of student leaders at NC State. “Yeah, I had a major in political science, but I ended up probably learning just as much if not more that helps me now from some of these other things that were going on in our lives.”

That approach didn’t always sit well with Quick’s mother, a college professor. “She used to lament the fact that I was spending so much time in meetings that were not class,” Quick said. “I’d call her and say, ‘Hey, Mom, I just got out of this meeting with this really cool person. It’s Jim Goodnight and he’s got this huge company and it’s so cool.’ And her first question was, ‘Well, how did he get to his company?’ I said, ‘Well, he went to State and got a PhD.,’ and she’s like, ‘Yeah, he actually went to class, didn’t he?'”

Quick was active in student government, working on issues ranging from the establishment of a prayer room for Muslim students to reestablishing the Red Terror Transit system to get students from campus to Carter-Finley Stadium for football games. As a member of the Board of Trustees, Quick cast the only vote against a proposed $230 tuition increase in 2006, arguing that tuition increases should be covered by the state. According to the Student Leadership Initiative, Quick’s “most celebrated accomplishment” was successfully lobbying for extended tailgating hours.

But Quick, who is now a lawyer in Raleigh, said in one of the interviews that the moment that stood out for him went beyond the realm of student government.

“It was probably some of the stuff with the Hurricane Katrina relief for me and how you can bring people together who are working — who have their own student organizations and they’ve got their own great ideas — but you can bring them together as a campus,” he said.

Quick said he got calls from people at UNC who were curious about how NC State managed to rally everyone together behind the relief effort. “I said, well, it’s sort of organic,” Quick recalled. “We asked people to stay in touch with us, we come up with ideas and ask people to run the ideas, and to me that was really neat, just doing something that was NC State, not student government, not IRC, not UAB, not anybody else, not IFC or any of the different groups… It’s NC State doing something.”

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