Eric Erickson casually sits back on the midnight blue love seat in the Student Association office as he reflect on his career as South Dakota State University student body president.
With his feet propped up on the cherry wood coffee table, Erickson gives a warm greeting to a student who walks in the door. A janitor comes in minutes later and is greeted in the same way.
Erickson pushes his glasses up on his nose and smiles as he gives the reason why he has enjoyed his administration as president.
“You can always help them out, make things easier for people,” Erickson says. “I want to continue that.”
Erickson and Vice President Justin Larson took office in March 2003. On Mar. 22, Erickson and Larson will hand the gavels over to the next student body administration.
A senior political science major from Summit, Erickson became involved with student government as a freshman at SDSU.
The young democrat ran for Student Association Senate and was elected.
At the end of his sophomore year he ran for president but lost to Dan Hansen. Erickson then became Hansen’s administrative assistant.
“The chief of staff kind of job,” Erickson explains helped him learn how to run an office.
His job as administrative assistant came in handy as Erickson was elected president in March 2003.
The list of improvements Erickson and Larson have made for students at SDSU is long. The 3rd B tax, Division I and the union expansion are just a few to name.
Erickson blushes. He says he’d rather discuss the improvements he and Larson are still planning to install in their last month of office.
Erickson pulls out a five inch blue binder from his desk. Flipping through the documents and papers, he finds the goals they still have for their administration.
One goal is to get a new wellness center built at SDSU. Erickson explains that $1.5 million of students’ money will be used to buy the new facility.
A bill is currently in the legislature to get more money to build it.
Erickson would also like to see full-time students enrolled in summer classes get use of the wellness center without having to pay. If students are enrolled full-time in fall classes, Erickson feels that they should not have to pay for use of the wellness center during the summer.
Erickson and Larson are also trying to get any money raised by the 3rd B tax from students in the residence halls returned to campus. This way the money could be used to benefit students and for University Program Council events.
The ride home project is their fourth goal. The program would provide a safe ride home from the bars.
The service would be free for students. The president is currently working with bars, beer distributors and the city of Brookings to help fund the program.
A push button door and a handicap accessible elevator at Pugsley Center are in Erickson’s plans.
Student input in the student codes and putting up Daktronic signs at the main entrances of campus are just a few more items Erickson and Larson have on their agendas for the next month.
Erickson said he has enjoyed helping others through his role in the student association.
“People stopped in my residence hall room if they had problems with their advisor. I helped people get jobs, internships,” Erickson says. “I talked to state officials like Senator Johnson and Senator Daschle about changing things to make things better for students.”
Erickson also serves his time as an aircraft mechanic in the air national guard. He is stationed out of Sioux Falls.
While Erickson has not been called up for duty, he has great respect for those that have.
As Erickson snaps his pen, he tells what he’s learned from his year in office.
“A better understanding of how the university works,” Erickson said. “And a greater desire to continue doing public service type of things.”
Erickson has two pieces of advice for the next president.
“Make sure and continue doing the people’s walks,” Erickson says. “Make sure you work on the big goals and the little ones.”