'Southern's SGA President Says He's Ready to Serve

Toby White Plans to Use Previous Experience to Better BSC

SGA. We’ve heard of it, right? It’s made up of those warm extroverts in their staple navy polos, and it blasts several emails regarding student government elections. In fact, the results of this past SGA election graced our inboxes just a few months ago, naming the new executives for the 2017-18 academic year. At the top of the list was the name of Birmingham-Southern's newest SGA president, Toby White.

When White began his education at BSC three years ago, he joined SGA as a freshman representative. From there, he served as treasurer until the next year when he was elected vice president under previous SGA president, Caroline Irby. That is when he decided to run for the highest position in executive office.

“I love serving,” says White, “and I’ve tried to do it wherever [I’ve] felt most qualified.”

The attitude of a servant is essential in a position where, as White expresses, “Everyone wants to hear what you’re going to do for them.”     

With an overwhelming budget of nearly $500,000 at tiny BSC, doing things for people sounds easy. While SGA has a significant amount of power over the entire campus, “We do tend to focus more on student life aspects, mainly because our different projects tend to [allocate] Student Activity Fees,” says White.      

One of the goals for SGA is for the campus to become more disability friendly. Another is an increased participation of independents in SGA executive office. White also hopes that SGA will strengthen its relationships with commuter students, whose lounge was recently relocated to a bigger and better location. SGA’s 2017-18 commuter representatives are Grayson Glidewell and Amanda Fitzgerald.

With so much to promote and oversee, one would think the president of student government would have to be both a taskmaster and a motivational speaker to succeed. In reality, leadership in SGA takes all types.

“We’ve seen a lot of different styles of leadership throughout the years,” reflects White. “They’ve all done really good jobs in different ways. Caroline Irby was great at getting consensus. I’m really results-oriented. I’m here to get stuff done.”

A simple look at White’s office epitomizes this very sentiment. Behind his desk in the SGA room is a stack of books, files and papers available at arm’s reach so that he can accomplish homework and other projects without leaving his work. A couch sits against the far wall in the back of the room, and even that piece of the office has utility.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen asleep on that couch,” laughs White.

Toby White may be focused on results, but it is a focus tailored by laborious nights twisted into mornings. Now that White is president, these long nights may not shorten, but his insomnia will be reflected in his goal-driven, tireless leadership to our beloved Birmingham-Southern College.

Feature photo by Stephanie Pope