Getting Rowdy: SGA executives Mogley and Kennedy lead with enthusiasm, garner school spirit
Decisions on a university campus can happen fast, and they often mean changes to student life. Many times these decisions take place behind closed doors or in meeting rooms where a board of adults who can be far removed from the intricacies of campus life sit around a table and discuss policy.
Although the setup of meetings like these typically involve mostly university faculty, staff, administrators or regents, there is one person whose job it is to be the voice for students on campus. That person comes and goes with each academic year, but the role is the same: Student Government Association President.
This year that person is Peyton Mogley, and she would tell you it’s her passion to give the nearly 12,000 students on this campus a place at the table where decisions are made.
She’s also passionate about Southeast, its students and generating Redhawk spirit to her fellow classmates. That passion exudes in the online world, too, where she has been known to sit in front of a camera and speak through a live feed to those who follow her on social media platforms.
Although her enthusiasm for her campus leadership role is apparent, Mogley said she almost didn’t come to Southeast as a freshman. Back then she was working as a Beachbody coach and said there was a “high likelihood” that she wouldn’t pursue higher education after high school.
It was Mogley’s parents who convinced her to attend Camp Redhawk, the event that she said changed everything for her.
“All of the anxiety I had coming to college, trying to commit that decision completely dissolved,” Mogley said. “It made me understand that there was a new energy here that I really vibed with and loved.”
She said her love for Southeast has only continued to grow since that first camp experience.
Although SGA Vice President Dylan Kennedy didn’t get to attend Camp Redhawk as a freshman, he said his love for Southeast has grown as a result of the people he’s met throughout his time here. Mogley was one of his first friends, Kennedy said, and the two have stuck together ever since.
“There’s only one person I’ve been through everything with since my freshman year, and it is Peyton,” Kennedy said. “To have that person, that support system here, it is home.”
SGA adviser Michele Irby said Mogley and Kennedy’s enthusiasm is unique to who they are as individuals and not necessarily to the position of SGA executive leadership.
“They both have very big personalities and are both very connected to other things on campus,” Irby said. “They’ve kind of set a new bar on access and how much students see them in a variety of capacities.”
Mogley was the president of SGA last year, and with her sat incumbent vice president (and best friend) Dylan Kennedy. Both said they came back to be leaders of SGA again this year because they felt like they weren’t finished.
Mogley chalks her first go-round as president up to a learning year and said she has grown by leaps and bounds as a leader.
Now Mogley said she’s concerned about the emotions of those on her team and the human element behind leadership. She added that people are able to achieve the most when they can be vulnerable and courageous, an atmosphere she hopes to create during her second term as president.
Kennedy described his style of leadership, on the other hand, as more task-oriented. Both he and Mogley agreed that Kennedy’s attention to detail allow a balance in leadership that both executives agreed works for them.
This academic year marks both executives last at Southeast, and Mogley said she’s already thinking about the succession plan.
Mogley said the student body elects three positions: president, vice president and treasurer. The rest, she added, are appointed by the elected president.
Candidates for the elected positions can declare their intention to run for office on the first day of classes in the spring semester.
Mogley and Kennedy said they decided to run for SGA office during the winter break of their sophomore year at Southeast,. Not wanting to miss a beat, the two showed up at 6 a.m. on the first day back for the spring semester to declare their intention to run.
“There’s no way they opened until 8 a.m.,” Kennedy said, laughing at the memory.
That level of enthusiasm has hallmarked their administration, and it’s something Kennedy said is not a requirement of the job but a conscious effort he and Mogley have made in their roles.
“It’s all about making it your own,” Kennedy said. “If you’re elected and you become the next president or vice president, it’s yours. You do whatever you want with it within the given parameters.”
What’s next for these two? They aren’t sure. But thanks to their involvement with SGA, both feel confident to move on with the tools they’ve gained.
“Being in this role has allowed me to use it as a platform,” Mogley said. “Especially realizing that if you truly are to represent your whole student body, you can’t afford to be quiet because there are people who aren’t in the room who have no idea this conversation is happening, and you need to give them that place at the table like they deserve.”