Four key organizations at Erskine—the Student Government Association (SGA), the Student Christian Association (SCA), the Judicial Council (Judicial), and the Erskine Entertainment Board (EEB)—help set the tone on campus as they deal with stewardship of student organization resources, support for faith commitment and service, issues of integrity and discipline, and choices regarding activities offered to students. Here we turn the spotlight on SGA President Michael Byrd. Watch this space for articles on SCA, Judicial, and EEB leaders.
Michael Byrd, a senior from Sullivans Island, S.C., is happy to speak about his Erskine experience and his work as a campus leader.
A biology major with a minor in chemistry, Byrd plans to enter medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina after completing his undergraduate studies. In addition to keeping up with his classes and serving as SGA president, he plays on the Men’s Basketball Team, is active in Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), and works as a Resident Assistant.
When he ran for SGA president, Byrd was no novice. “I arrived on campus my freshman year with a desire to make meaningful contributions to campus,” he says. “This desire motivated me to run for freshman class president.”
Learning leadership skills as freshman class president, he further developed those skills when he served as SGA parliamentarian during his sophomore year. “I really enjoyed my first two years in SGA, and I knew I wanted to run for SGA president after my sophomore year.”
Asked about what the position of SGA president entails, Byrd said the president’s job is to “represent the student body and serve as a bridge of communication between students and administration, and to preside over meetings of the Student Senate.”
In order to meet all his responsibilities, he has to manage his time well. “Sometimes it can get pretty busy with basketball and SGA, so I need to make sure I leave myself with enough time to do my schoolwork,” he says.
He is pleased with projects sponsored by SGA.
One of the projects was an addition near the recently renovated Ellenburg Pavilion. “In 2015-16 SGA designed the stone fire pit area by the pavilion and partnered with the Student Finance Committee to fund it,” he says.
Another project has made the area around Watkins Student Center even more inviting. “In 2016-17 SGA decided to enhance the beautiful mall area by buying eight rocking chairs, four benches, four side tables, and two coffee tables for the Watkins Student Center porch. Students love relaxing on the mall, so we felt the new seating would be a great addition.”
The completion of campus improvements and other worthwhile endeavors by SGA keeps Byrd’s initial enthusiasm.
“It’s been satisfying to make contributions like the pavilion fire pits and Watkins porch furniture,” he says, adding, “What’s kept me motivated to keep serving as I stay busy with basketball and school work is the desire I brought with me freshman year—I still want to make positive impacts on campus.”
Byrd counts it a privilege to work with fellow SGA officers Kristen Craft, vice president, a senior from Anderson, S.C.; Paul Michael Smith, treasurer, a senior from Seneca, S.C.; Lydia Clarke, secretary, a junior from Due West, S.C.; and Hunter Covington, parliamentarian, a junior from Rock Hill, S.C.
“They all have positive attitudes, and are dedicated to SGA,” he says. “Together, we make a great team.”