WSU senior started ‘something bigger than himself’

VIBES co-chair planned event for months, over 115 high school students attended WSU campus



Hezekiah Willard, senior history major, spent his journey at WSU in different roles. He was an orientation counselor and Registered Student Organization specialist.

JARED BRADLEY, Evergreen reporter

When Hezekiah Willard came to WSU, he knew he wanted to welcome incoming students. As a Registered Student Organization specialist and a Visionaries Inspiring Black Empowered Students (VIBES) co-chair, he has done just that.

Willard said Black freshmen coming to WSU should prioritize their own beliefs through education, as well as continually asking questions.

“VIBES really helped me out socially and academically,” Willard said.

Willard and another co-chair organized and planned the VIBES event for several months. Over 115 students from the Pacific Northwest area came to the WSU campus to learn more about higher education and develop leadership skills.

After spending time in the African American Student Center on the fourth floor of the Compton Union Building, Willard decided to join the VIBES team. He was a team leader when he was a sophomore, and one of the co-chairs at the time suggested that Willard should apply for the position of co-chair.

“I just really wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Willard said.

Although the position was new to him, he has been introducing people to WSU for a while now. Before working with VIBES, he was an Orientation Counselor.

Aside from working with VIBES, Willard is also an RSO specialist on campus. As an RSO, Willard assists student organizations with any questions they have regarding their group and how to get it running. Willard said RSO specialists also help with fundraising and can even help start an organization.

Willard, 23, will graduate this semester with a Bachelor’s degree in history.

During Willard’s childhood, he would visit Multnomah Falls, Oregon, every year with his family. He said visiting his father’s hometown will always stand out because he likes seeing his roots.

Willard owns a dog named Zahra, who keeps him plenty of company, he said.

Matt Holman, Willard’s friend, met him when they were both OCs together. He said Willard was quiet for much of the summer, but when they started getting to know each other they became fast friends.

“Even just from our first day of hanging out, I knew Hezi was one of the most encouraging and kind people I’d ever met,” Holman said. “He also sometimes refuses to tie his shoes.”