The Daily Gamecock

Student Body President Patton Byars uses campus memories to help fuel passion for role: 'It means a lifetime'

Student Body President Patton Byars knew from the moment it came time to pick a college that there was no other school for him but USC.

Byars initially considered other SEC schools such as Auburn and Ole Miss, but deep family ties led him to eventually choose USC. Byars is a third-generation Gamecock with most of his family having gone to South Carolina, including his parents and siblings. 

"It means a lot to me to go here," Byars said. "It means more than just university or four years — it means a lifetime."

Byars became student body president after he was inducted into office on March 20. His memories associated with the school and his desire to fix on-campus issues for students helped lead him to serve as president, he said. 

His favorite memories at USC have centered around sporting events, particularly football and basketball.He recently got to go to Cleveland and celebrate the women's basketball team winning the 2024 NCAA championship, which Byars said was an "amazing experience." 

Another special moment for Byars came during his first football game freshman year when he was able to "raise a glass" for the first time during the singing of the USC alma mater, which he had refused to do since it was for "students and alumni only."

“For 18 years of my life, I never did that," Byars said. "So for my first home game, doing that as a student, while that might seem silly, it meant something to me and it was pretty special and moving for me." 

But his memories with USC football didn't stop there. Byars also remembers rushing the field at Williams-Brice after South Carolina upset Tennessee 63-38 during his sophomore year.

When he’s not working as student body president, Byars can be found watching Atlanta Braves baseball. Watching sports is his way of "getting out everything," he said. He is also a self-avowed "food junkie" and enjoys trying out new restaurants.

Byars credits his experience as being the biggest reason why he is most suited to be president. He previously served as chief of staff for former Student Body Presidents Reedy Newton and Emmie Thompson.

When it came time to finally run for the position, Byars said one of his biggest considerations was making sure that he was advocating to fix on-campus issues that affected him and the entire student body. 

Some of the issues Byars pushed for were improvements to on-campus Wi-Fi, saying he's been kicked out of two exams in the past due to the poor connection.

Campus safety has also been a major talking point for Byars, who hopes to create a safer pedestrian experience on-campus and add an after-hours shuttle for students.

"It's personal to me, I have a girlfriend on campus," he said during his campaign. "I don't want my girlfriend walking home at 1 a.m. at night, because she's usually in the library that late is a premed is not safe. It's concerning."

Speaker of the student senate Maura Hamilton said Byars' determination to voice students' concerns will help him in his new role.

“Patton has a lot of passion for students," Speaker of the student senate Maura Hamilton said. “And he's really good at just advocating on behalf of all students, and he will not stop. If he knows it's something that the students want, he's going to get it done.”

Student Body Vice President Courtney Tkacs said Byars desires to do what is best for students in the USC community.

"He is one of the most determined people I have ever met in my life,"  Tkacs said. "If he says he's going to do something, he will do it."


Byars hopes that during his time as president, he is able to be a mentor for future leaders in Student Government.

"I want to show (students) what it's like to talk about things, getting them done, standing your ground, but also being compassionate and caring," Byars said. 


Trending Now

Send a Tip Get Our Email Editions