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Student body vice president advocates for good mental health

Tkacs stands smiling and giving the Gamecock hand sign.

Student body Vice President Courtney Tkacs is committed to fostering a safe community for students on campus while prioritizing mental health activism.

At the heart of Tkacs’ involvement in student government is a passion to help improve the experiences of fellow students. Whether it was her involvement in the Swipes for Hunger meal plan initiative or teaming up with student organizations for charity drives, Tkacs has played a prominent role since arriving on the University of South Carolina campus. 

But even before that, she had a passion for serving her fellow students and community in high school. 

“I just loved the impact that we had on the student body and the community as a whole,” Tkacs says of her experience at Lexington’s River Bluff High School. “When coming to college, I heard about Freshman Council and just applied.”

Now a rising junior in the South Carolina Honors College, Tkacs has been able to tailor her service to reflect her double-major in political science and public health. Bringing her studies into her role as vice president, she wants to help create a healthy and vibrant community for all students. 

This summer, Tkacs is working to prepare for Safety Week, which takes place during the fall semester. One upcoming event “Pizza and Puppies” is a partnership with USC’s Division of Law Enforcement and Safety that will allow students to meet and interact with campus police dogs. 

“You can actually pet the dogs,” Tkacs explains. “They’re trained to know which situations they are working and which ones they are a support system for students.” 

And this is just one event planned for Safety Week. Tkacs has also partnered with campus police to do safety walks with students to help them learn to navigate campus safely. 

“They're just so willing to help in any way that they can,” Tkacs says of USCPD. 

Tkacs also is organizing Stigma-Free Week to help students remember to take care of their mental health as well as their physical well-being and spotlighting services offered at Student Health and Well-being, including counseling and wellness education. 

Tkacs believes an important part of campus health is having a strong community, and she found this support in her student organization involvement. 

“Student government is what has built USC to be a home for me,” Tkacs says. “The Leadership and Service Center itself has been a physical representation of just a safe space for me on campus.  

“I know when I walk in here, I'm going to find a staff member or a student who I can talk to about anything, and it's just such a great feeling to be around a group of students and a group of advisors that want nothing but the best for the student body. This has just been the greatest organization I've ever been a part of.” 

Tkacs also works to get more undergraduates involved in Student Government. 

“It's just such a great experience to have everyone together serving one purpose,” Tkacs says. “I love supporting all the different components that come into it."