Today@Sam Article

McFarland Draws Upon SHSU Experiences As Student Regent

Aug. 23, 2016
SHSU Media Contact: Tammy Parrett

Student Regent Dylan McFarland
Criminal Justice major Dylan McFarland speaks for students in all of the Texas State University System's member institutions as the TSUS Student Regent. —Photo by Brian Blalock

When senior Sam Houston State University student Dylan McFarland accepted the position of student regent for the Texas State University System, he knew that he would need an immense amount of patience, determination, and time management skills.

Luckily, his experience working, participating in multiple student organizations and maintaining a 4.0 GPA equipped him with the necessary skills to do his best.

McFarland is the fifth SHSU student to hold the position since it was created in 2006.

As student regent, McFarland attends all board meetings and serves as a representative of the students from all eight schools in the system. Since his one-year term began in June, he has attended a student regent leadership forum for the state of Texas, hosted by the University of Texas System.

“There were about 16 former and current student regents from the 10 public university systems in the state there,” McFarland said. “It was a great opportunity to meet them and see what we all have in common. (TSUS) Chancellor (Brian) McCall spoke to us, as well as the vice chancellor for the UT system. Afterwards, we were able to go to the governor’s mansion and meet Gov. (Greg) Abbott. It was a very humbling experience.”

McFarland was born in San Diego and moved to Frisco when he was in the second grade. He began his undergraduate career at SHSU in 2014 and quickly became involved with the Freshman Leadership Program and the Elliott T. Bowers Honor’s College.

It was his involvement in these programs that inspired his love of serving others.

“As part of the Freshman Leadership Program, we were required to be a part of two different organizations, so I became involved with the Student Government Association, in addition to the Honor’s College,” McFarland said. “If not for the FLP, I wouldn’t hold any of the positions that I now hold.”

Throughout his time at SHSU, the criminal justice major has held a variety of positions in SGA, including criminal justice councilor, senator, chief of rules and regulations, student body treasurer. He was elected vice president of SGA, but resigned seven days after taking office, as he could not hold both positions simultaneously.

He also has served as an FLP mentor, Orange Key and an Honor’s College ambassador. He has served on numerous committees, including the parking appeals committee and the Greek strategic planning committee, where he served as the non-Greek member.

His dedication to servant leadership earned him 2014 Sammy award for “Outstanding First-Year Student Leader” and the 2015 Sammy Award for “Outstanding Sophomore Student Leader.”

“I’ve tried to give back to SHSU as much as they have allowed me to,” McFarland said. “The next best way to give back to Sam is to give back to the university system. I would not have any of the success that I have had if I did not enjoy losing myself in the service of others. It is not my goal to be awarded for what I do; I get a lot of joy from the help I am able to give others.”

He looks forward to using the knowledge and skills he gained through his time in SGA has prepared him for the responsibility of taking on this prestigious role.

“I learned a lot about fiscal solvency through SGA–how to be responsible with funding and make sure that all parties involved are being taken care of,” he said. “As SGA treasurer, I oversaw a $70,000 budget and ensured that the organization was using the funds from student services appropriately and that students were adequately represented to the administration.”

Having worked in various leadership roles within SGA, McFarland recognizes the advantage he has going into the student regent position.

“It helps you understand what happens behind the scenes,” he said. “As a student, you don’t see where your tuition dollars are going; you just see that it costs more than it did last year. You don’t see the different factors that make up the numbers–the growth rate, aging infrastructure, expansion or programs that need student services.

“It’s actually incredible how much the TSUS system office is able to do–effectively– with around 25 employees and less money than most other systems in the state,” he said.

After his graduation in 2017, McFarland plans to remain at SHSU for his master’s degree in homeland security studies.

“Ultimately, I would like to work as a Texas State Trooper and eventually work my way up to Texas Ranger,” he said. “The position of student regent will help me achieve that by giving me insight to the political landscape behind the scenes. Understanding the political involvement in the executive branch is highly important.”

Though his plate may be full between his many responsibilities, McFarland has used the values instilled in him by his parents, as well as his many years of experience with numerous organizations, to create balance.

“It requires a tremendous amount of patience,” McFarland said. “My parents raised me to always be respectful to everyone, responsible, and to always give 100 percent to everything I do. 

“I have the time of my life when I am busy and under a lot of pressure; that’s when I do some of my best work,” he said. “Then I’m able to prioritize for maximum effectiveness, so I am able to do what is required and never let anyone down.”

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