Since John Matthews (COL ’18) and Nick Matz (COL ’18) met on the rowing team during their freshman year, the two friends have been involved in a variety of activities on campus.
Matz, who quit rowing last fall, joined the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union, where he serves as vice president of Information Technology. Matthews continues to row and also works at the Residence Hall Office.
Now, Matthews and Matz are looking to add another activity to their resumes: Georgetown University Student Association president and vice president.
In an interview with The Hoya, the pair said their experiences outside of GUSA will help them target students who may feel disconnected from the institution.
“There’s a big disconnect right now between GUSA and the student body,” Matthews said. “We believe we have the ability to represent people who normally don’t participate in GUSA and what GUSA does to the table. We can represent these people.”
The Matthews-Matz ticket is running with a strategically small campaign staff and a targeted, 10-point campaign platform centered on affordability. Their campaign promises to eliminate the three-year housing requirement, the student activity fee and Yates Field House fee in an effort to make students’ experiences at Georgetown more affordable.
“That’s really one issue that affects every student,” Matz said. “That is the unifying thing that is the driving force behind our campaign and hopefully what we will do next year as president and vice president.”
In addition to their unconventionally targeted platform, Matthews and Matz’s campaign consists of a “core” group of campaign staff, including Campaign Manager Ben Stern (MSB ’18) and about 10 students. Beyond this core staff, the pairing also has a group of students campaigning on ITS behalf, according to Matthews.
“Our campaign team right now, we started off with small group formulating the ideas, like the campaign platform, and we branched out so we have representatives on different teams, different prominent organizations throughout Georgetown, different fraternities and sororities who are reaching out and advocating for our platform,” Matthews said.
The two did not launch their campaign at midnight Feb. 9 in Red Square like two other tickets that had entered the race at the time, Garet Williams (COL ’18) and Habon Ali (COL ’18), and Kamar Mack (COL ’19) and Jessica Andino (COL ’18). According to Matz, this is a reflection of their desire to break away from typical GUSA campaigns.
“Anything we would have said or done at midnight in Red Square is not really going to affect our support. I don’t really see how it’s necessary,” Matz said. “It’s just a tradition.”
As a duo, Matthews and Matz have spent plenty of time spent together on the water and as friends. These experiences have prepared them to lead, according to Matthews.
“Being around each other for so long, we know what we’re thinking. We already have a working relationship,” Matthews said. “It’s been tested.”
Each of them brings different strengths to the ticket, according to Matz.
“John’s very outgoing, people like talking to John. I’m more contemplative,” Matz said. “We play off each other well. We complement each other’s strengths.”
Stern, who lives with Mathews and Matz, said the candidates’ involvement in the community reflects their hard work.
“I wake up with them at 5 a.m. every morning to practice six days a week, with afternoon practices on most of those days,” Stern said. “I’ve not met two more hardworking people, just putting in not only practice hours, but they’re always the ones getting extra hours. Nick is on the board of the credit union. They’re really involved and really hard-working.”
Matthews said the skills he has learned from his different involvements at Georgetown have prepared him to be GUSA president.
“You had to be friendly and outgoing and lighthearted, and that’s kind of how I see myself as president. I’m open, people want to talk to me, I understand, I empathize with people, especially of different backgrounds. It would be helpful to have that dialogue with everyone,” Matthews said.
If anything, the two see their inexperience with GUSA as a benefit.
“Coming from the outside, we’d be able to see everything from a different perspective,” Matz said. “It’s somewhat unusual for an outsider to come into this job, but we’ll be able to make a lot of positive changes just from the outside perspective. The only downside I could think of is that we have a lot to learn, but even that, I’m confident in our ability to catch up.”