The president of the Associated Students of NAU sits in an office cluttered with NAU blue and gold trinkets and invites anyone to stop in for a visit.
He greets them with a smile and strong handshake, the quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “Life moves pretty fast—if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it,” on a white board behind him, subtly hinting at his relaxed nature.
Last spring, Chase Hunt committed his senior year to NAU when he was elected the 2010-11 student body president. Today, amid countless e-mails, new student orientation speeches and travel throughout the state, he takes a journey back to his freshman year when he found a niche in The W.A Franke College of Business.
“I was walking around, probably looking confused, and Eric Yordy [associate dean for the college of business] stopped and talked to me,” Hunt says, recalling how unsure he was about his major, the university and the overwhelming amount of new people when he decided to check out the business building. “I needed help and someone taking the time to talk to me and show me around made the difference. I still talk to him to this day.”
While Hunt found a career path in a new discipline, he sought success in an old passion. “I’ve been in student government since fourth grade, so this is nothing new,” he says about his previous positions as president of freshman and transfer students with New Student Organization, senator with ASNAU and vice president for student affairs with ASNAU.
“I like advocating for people,” says the lively NAU senior. “I’m the average student—I don’t have scholarships or grants and I’m not on pledge tuition. I take out loans. I’m nothing special, so it makes it easier to advocate to President Haeger or the Arizona Board of Regents for students.”
Advocating and networking is the name of the game for Hunt, who meets with NAU President John Haeger every two weeks and recently enjoyed a barbecue at U.S. Sen. John McCain’s ranch in Cornville.
Hunt credits his advisers, colleagues and the university for his success. “This is definitely not a one-man show,” he says. Advisers Art Farmer, associate dean for student life, and Rick Brandel, dean of students, “legitimately care and always make you feel great. They have seen a lot of kids come through but they always help in any aspect—school or personal.”
That personalized attention is a key component for Hunt and his actions in student government continue to promote an open, close-knit mountain campus. “At NAU, it’s more personal,” he says. “I see people and recognize them and they see me and recognize me. Small campus feel makes a huge difference for students, whether you’re a freshman or a senior.”
The dynamic and versatile Hunt manages time for a rigorous study of business administration and participation in the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity. “It’s a tight-knit family, everyone is there for you. It’s not the stereotypical thing that’s shown in Animal House,” says the three-year KA veteran.
With his future wide open, Hunt is content at the base of the San Francisco Peaks working toward the eventual goal of landing a position with a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C.
On the five-year plan for graduation, Hunt glances around his office saying, “I’m in no rush to get out of here. The five-year plan gives me thinking time. I love the people, faculty and campus. You go out of town for the weekend, come back and you feel at home.”