DePaul’s 22 Under 22: Matt Von Nida

Matt and I sat down in the beautiful halls of the John T. Richardson Library to chat about everything under the sun. Not only is Matt heavily involved, in, well…everything, but he just might be the nicest guy around. That’ s why Matt is one of DePaul’s Hottest 22 Under 22.

Where: John T Richardson Library 
When: January 27th 2013 

ALEX: So, tell me a little bit about what you do at DePaul…I know there’s a lot. 

MATT: Well, I am the Executive President of Operations for Student Government, which, I guess the shorter explanation of what I do would be that I work with the physical attributes of the University. So that would be everything from wireless internet, to construction, to public safety. So I’m the student representative. I’m also a member of APO, which is a service based fraternity on campus, and it’s not typical Greek life. I also am involved in ACT Out, which is an LGBTQA group on campus, I’m the vice president and I love it. I help organize a lot of the internal stuff.

ALEX: Wow. How do you balance all of that?

MATT: I don’t sleep. I never sleep.

ALEX: That’s how I am too, it’s okay. 

MATT: You miss out on so much if you spend time sleeping, so, I would rather not sleep. If you have make up, it doesn’t matter how much sleep you got.

ALEX: Yeah…I need to start wearing make up. Are you involved with anything outside of our school?

MATT: I guess a lot of the outside stuff would be community service, but that’s through my service fraternity. Right now I’m also doing research for a law firm, so that’s the other big thing I’m doing. I really like politics, so I jump on the chance to work on any political campaign that I can. I did a lot with the Obama campaign, and I did a lot with political campaigns in Southern Illinois last quarter which was fun.

ALEX: Is your Dad involved in Politics at all? 

MATT: Yeah, he’s circuit clerk for my county back home, which is the Judicial System in my county.

ALEX: Would you ever go into politics as a profession? 

MATT: I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s for me. I want to be able to explore the world with whatever I do, but I don’t know if politics is the right fit for me.

ALEX: What do you do day to day at DePaul? 

MATT: It’s always very different, Student Government is the biggest thing at DePaul, it takes over a lot of my time, even more so then school or any of my other commitments. There’s always something new going on, from dealing with students to dealing with professors.

ALEX: I wouldn’t be able to handle that. You are very patient and very kind. 

MATT: No. it just depends on the situation. We always have to be very careful [in SGA] between speaking with a teacher and speaking with a student, because a teacher will have a very different outlook. Like for my Facility Operations Meetings, I’m one of two students in the entire room with all of the administration and all of the faculty for the University. I get the chance to be that student voice, but sometimes it’s really difficult. I always have to be prepared in different ways.

 

ALEX: That’s a lot of pressure. 

MATT: But luckily, I work really well under pressure.

ALEX: Do you ever get nervous going into these meetings? 

MATT: Every single time. If it’s warm enough outside, I am definitely sweating, and definitely shaking. Once I get in there and the conversation gets going, I’m fine. I always do my research so I’m prepared. No sleep and preparing.

ALEX: I don’t know if those are words of advice. 

MATT: None of this is advice!

ALEX: What are some obstacles you’ve had to over come? 

MATT: For me, it was getting past the idea of failure. With everything there is a possibility of failure, and I’ve just learned to get over that. Like winning an election at a school of about 25,000 people.

ALEX: Do you ever think about that? That’s crazy! 

MATT: Well my hometown is about 35,000 people, so it’s pretty cool to think about. I worked really hard on that campaign.

ALEX: Change of topic, how would you describe your personal style? 

MATT: I think it’s always changing.

 

ALEX: You are always so well accessorized. You put me to shame. 

MATT: Accessories and make up are my favorite parts of fashion. There’s always certain colors I’ll wear if I’m going into a meeting or something, or earrings. I have one earring I wear every time I go into a big meeting. I feel different every time I get dressed, so my style is never the same.

ALEX: What are your go to stores? 

MATT: Topshop is a fun one. I have a necklace on from there right now. I live next to the Urban Outlet, and I love thrift shops. I don’t just shop in the mens department either, I feel like people are always restricted by their gender, and I hate the idea of that. If I find something that works for me, then it works for me regardless of who it was originally made for.

ALEX: I do way too much shopping in the mens department. 

MATT: Womens sweaters fit me really well.

ALEX: So what projects are you working on at DePaul right now?

MATT: The largest one I’m pushing through right now is the Sustainability Capital Improvement Fund, which is a  $250,000 fund for improving University sustainability. I’m looking at getting large wind mills on the top of McGowan North and South. I am really hoping that goes through. I try to do things that I think other students would want, not just what I would want.

ALEX: Do you have any words of advice for other students?

MATT: You never know who you’re going to meet. I’m trying to think of something along the lines of style, and how one presents themselves day to day. You never know who you’re speaking to is going to become, you just never know. Treat everyone equally and with respect, no matter what. Dress and smell well. Brush your teeth. If you spend 30 minutes a day getting ready, you can look great.

ALEX: What’s your favorite thing you’ve gotten the chance to work on so far? 

MATT: I’m really enjoying working on the Sustainability Fund. My Grandpa got me believing in all of that a long time ago. I’ve also done a lot with Chartwells. We’ve really been trying to get a lot healthy options.  

ALEX: Do you have any parting words for us? 

MATT: I really just want to make a difference, whether it’s in one person, or the world. I think everything I do is motivated by that aspect. 

 ALEX: Where can we find you hanging out on campus? 

MATT: If you go to the Office of Student Involvement, I’m probably there. Don’t be shy.

*Photos by Joseph Kerins

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