An Interview with SGA President Michael Kilbride

The campaign, “The Difference is You,” reigned in February’s Student Government Association (SGA) elections with a new SGA president, Michael Kilbride, and SGA vice president, Taylor Lochrane.

When Kilbride attended Orientation five years ago, his dad predicted his son would be up on stage as an O-Teamer; Kilbride did just that in his freshman year. “It is one of the reasons I am involved and love this university as much as I do—because of my first year experience in Orientation.” In his second year at UCF, he became a student coordinator hiring and training O-teamers. “I had the opportunity to work in the Office of First Year Experience with first-year student programming and transitioning students to the UCF experience,” said Kilbride. His leadership experience continued as a resident assistant on campus and as a student director for Knight-Thon 2008-2010. “Now I get to be president. I am real excited about the year.”

Kilbride, an undergraduate in finance who is minoring in nonprofit management, wants students to know SGA cares and are here to serve them. He wants students to feel welcomed when they come in the office. The administration hired 30 students on the cabinet, nine of which are students who have never served on SGA. Kilbride is proud of the non SGA hires. “We hopefully will bring new ideas, a new set of eyes to the administration that SGA officials look at the same way.”

The Kilbride-Lochrane administration has also hired a chief information officer who is building an information collection of e-mails and creating ways to assess students easily. This fall, SGA will use the latest technology, I-Pods, to survey students linking the event with free T-shirts and other promotional items. They want students to get involved in SGA’s decision-making process and programming suggestions.

The biggest challenge is how to build a more inclusive programming to include UCF students at the Rosen campus, regional campuses, non-traditional and other students who may not be involved on the Orlando campus. He would like to give everyone the best UCF experience and serve those different groups of students. “As a university, we should at least open the dialogue,” says Kilbride.

Kilbride will continue several initiatives that began in the former administration. One dedicated study day prior to finals exams was set for 2012-13; he is advocating for three days. Another initiative is providing 4,400-square-foot study space inside the Arena that will be open 24-hours for students. Free printing and Scantrons will be available. The space will also include a SGA office that will benefit their programming, which is held in the Arena. The space will be available in the early spring. Kilbride-Lochrane’s administration will also continue to work on environmental sustainability policy changes for SGA-owned facilities. The plan is to have most of the Student Union second floor changed to LED lighting. In addition, they are working on an energy efficient master plan for the Recreation and Wellness Center. It is Kilbride’s hope that changing LED lights, installing water-free urinals and other sustainable efforts will set standards for UCF administration to consider for other buildings on campus.

One of the Kilbride-Lochrane’s platform items was to expand campus safety and implement a car pool parking system. SGA implemented Zimride, a social network for ride sharing that makes it easier for students to find commute partners or shared rides for longer trips. Participants can share in the cost of fuel and is beneficial for those who are taking classes at a regional campus. Zimride was launched on June 29, and two days later, 500 students were registered and 1,500 rides were posted. The project is led by Lochrane.

One of Kilbride’s goals is to have a consistent SGA universal brand, “Student Government: Expanding Opportunities,” geared toward students that SGA will continue from year to year. They wanted to link the brand to the university’s “UCF Stands for Opportunity.” Kilbride-Lochrane’s campaign tag line, “The Difference is You” will be geared toward SGA staff to keep them motivated throughout the year.

“I am excited to get all the students back on our cabinet when fall starts. There is nothing more rewarding than watching students helping students.”