Skip to Content

Meet student body President Patton Byars

Generational Gamecock aims for long-term improvements to student experience

portrait of Patton Byars

Student body President Patton Byars is a generational Gamecock dedicated to creating long-term improvements at the University of South Carolina and is focusing on enhancing campus safety and the four-year student experience.

Having three generations of family attend USC before him, Byars was immersed in the USC community from an early age. He grew up in nearby Lexington, South Carolina, and is a lifelong sports fan. The sound of his childhood was filled with the beloved “Sandstorm” at Williams-Brice Stadium and hearing stories of Gamecocks’ athletics history.

“I grew up going to Gamecock games my entire life,” Byars says. “They’re a big part of my life experience.”

Transitioning from a fan to a student gave Byars a new perspective of what the USC community meant to him. Now a rising senior, he reflects on his involvement in student government as a leadership and service outlet. Being student body president is an opportunity to focus his service on helping students while using his valuable perspective as their peer.

“The first word in that title is student, so you need to make sure that you're focused on just students and no one else,” Byars says. “No other special interest, not even yourself, only students. That's why I want to prioritize things that are important to all students, not just some that are here.”

Byars is focused on making improvements that will benefit the whole student body, like advocating for more innovative infrastructure or campus safety initiatives.

“My most ambitious goal would be advocating for a new student union,” Byars says. “It shouldn't just be something that you come to just your first year. We need to have more organizational meeting space in our student union, have more options when it comes to food and dining, and we need more areas to hang out if you choose to.”

Continuing the work of his predecessors by advocating for stronger and more reliable internet connection is another one of Byars’ priorities.

“Wi-Fi is always going to be an ever-going battle, but that's something that I plan to win,” he says. “I personally believe you can't be a successful student without consistent and reliable Wi-Fi. The good news is administrative leaders believe that as well.”

While he does not have a vote in the university’s Board of Trustees meetings, Byars has a seat on the board and is determined to advocate for improvements to the student experience.

“I'm in a unique position for not only my voice, but the student voice to be heard,” Byars says.

Byars applauds university President Michael Amiridis as an advocate for students and for his accessibility.

“We have one of the best university presidents in the nation, and I really do mean that,” Byars says. “President Amiridis is one of the best, if not the best, student advocates I've ever seen and whenever I or any student says something's a priority — it's a priority. Not only will he listen, but he'll get it done, too.”

Applying his major in political science to real-life university operations, Byars’ passion for service has flourished. After graduation next spring, he wants to continue in a public service career. While attending USC, Byars has had opportunities to work at the South Carolina State House for a senator and on several political campaigns.

Using his voice as an advocate in student government since arriving on campus his freshman year, Byars has witnessed the power of student voices to make a difference in the community.

“Why don't we continue to elevate our voices?” Byars asks. “Hopefully not only will they be heard, but action will be taken.”

Byars wants to be available to all students and their ideas. Get in touch by attending his weekly office hours in the Leadership and Service Center or emailing him at