Tradition Keeper

May 21, 2012

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Family tradition led Chandler Thompson to NC State.

At Thompson’s childhood dinner table in High Point, NC State was a regular topic of conversation. Her dad, a 1984 alumnus, made Wolfpack football and basketball games regular activities for Thompson and her brother.

Her father’s passion led Thompson to enroll here four years ago. It also drove her commitment to preserving and expanding NC State traditions as student body president.

“I wanted every student who graduated to love NC State,” said Thompson, who led the student body for the 2011-2012 school year. “So the goal throughout the year was … what do we need to do so that, when students graduate, they reflect back and have the same experiences my dad had.”

As student body president and, before that, Student Government Traditions Commission Chair, Thompson spearheaded several efforts to bolster campus traditions:

“I know of no other student who’s done as much to remind our current students of the past and history of this great institution,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson of Thompson.

Thompson (far left) takes the Polar Plunge in Feburary 2012.

Thompson also worked hard to improve life on campus for students. Sometimes that meant a simple phone call to request more barbells in a workout room.

Other issues required more sustained effort. Thompson cited the elimination of a fee charged to distance education students as a highlight of her year in office. Thompson and past student body presidents had worked with administrators for more than a year to retire the fee. In March, Provost Warwick Arden announced its elimination.

Thompson also worked closely with campus security officials and University Communication to improve Wolf Alert, NC State’s emergency notification system.

“She always does things to benefit and assist and help students,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Tom Stafford said. “She’s all about doing things that will make NC State a better place for students. Not for herself, but for her fellow students.”

Her efforts for students created a demanding schedule for Thompson. One day during homecoming week, her schedule including six appointments consuming eight hours. Plus two hours in her office. Plus an hour of class. Plus 4.5 hours of studying because, in case you forgot, Thompson was trying to wrap up a college degree.

Thompson estimated that she worked 300 hours on Student Government duties this past semester, not counting email and social media correspondence. And she’s very active on social media, tweeting about student issues or checking in on the Wolfpack Students Facebook group several times a day.

Thompson speaks during a groundbreaking for the Talley Student Center renovation in August 2011.

“She has done a fantastic job of continuing to elevate the role and value of the student body president to the students,” said Tony Caravano, who was student body president from 2003-2005.

A spring 2012 graduate, Thompson is going to the University of Georgia to work on a master’s degree in higher education leadership.

It’s too soon to reflect on her tenure as president, but Thompson has an idea of how she’d like her year to be remembered.

“Traditions were reintroduced and focused on, and accessibility was at an all-time high, not only with the student body president but with everybody in Student Government,” she said.