Executive president Morgan Bodenarain leaves behind greater inclusivity, civic engagement and school spirit, but despite a successful career in student government during high school, her path to success at Elon was not straightforward.

“In my first year, there were a lot of reasons why I didn’t get involved with a lot of things, and I regretted it,” Bodenarain said. “I was having a tough year, not really doing anything, fooling around, just a lot of ambiguity with my place at Elon.”

Becoming executive President

To find more stable ground, Bodenarain decided to run for president in sophomore year but lost. “I was so upset because finally I was putting myself out there. I did student government in high school. Government is something I’m super passionate about,” she said.

Bodenarain ran again in junior year and received a position on the SGA senate as a chief of staff to former executive president Kyle Porro. “I realized not only how much I loved SGA and that was something I really wanted to do,” she said.

As a member of senate, Bodenarain, together with a friend, founded the SGA student inclusive campus committee, which is dedicated to creating the most inclusive Elon possible. This project served as motivation for her to run for executive president.

“There were things that I was working on my junior year that I knew from a platform of executive president of SGA, I would be able to do it on a bigger scale and implement it in ways that I see fit that I couldn’t necessarily do from the position that I held.”

Bodenarain joined the student government in her junior year of high school. Having gone to a predominantly white school, she thought her chances of winning the presidential election were slim.

She won.

“That was pretty surprising,” she said. “When I won it I realized ‘wow, student government is where I want to be.”

Despite having found her passion, Bodenarain had troubles navigating Elon with its more than 250 clubs and organizations. She said she became involved with the student government too late. “When I came to Elon, I knew I wanted to do student government, but no one tapped my shoulder and said this is something you should do.” 

Spencer Wagner, executive vice president, said that, apart from their friendship, their passion for Elon is what unites them and has created a productive working environment. “You can think about SGA as separate, but I like to think of it as very much a part of Elon, its identity and where it’s going. We are both very eager to work for SGA.”


Bodenarain focused on three issues as executive president but gave priority to inclusivity as an extension of the SGA student inclusive campus committee project.

“I could very clearly see that there was a line of students who loved Elon and loved being here and loved everything about it and were flourishing and there were students who may have also loved Elon but who were not,” Bodenarain said. “To me that had a lot to do with whether or not they found their place here.”

Bodenarain made the committee a permanent to cement inclusivity on campus and ensure that it would always remain a priority after she leaves.

Wagner said her ideas struck a chord with Elon students and upcoming candidates are setting similar priorities as Bodenarain. “Now that we have this election going on, I’ve seen some of those same themes reflected in candidates. People are starting to think about SGA as a partner with the institution and the community.”

Inclusivity week was another initiative to promote inclusivity on campus. It contained panels, conversations and a movie screening. Junior and BSU member Kenneth Brown Jr. said that inclusivity week was beneficial for the Elon community.

“I think it’s really important that students have access to resources and programs to be able to talk to people who don’t look like them to be able to engage with materials and films and discussions that challenges their world view,” he said. 

“It’s not just enough to be diverse, it’s not just enough to showcase how many students of color you have,” Brown Jr. said. “We also have the responsibility to make sure that those students have the ability to contribute to the dialogue at the table.”

Civic Engagement

Bodenarain said she cared about political conversation on campus but felt that the execution was not ideal. “In some ways I appreciate them, in other ways I felt like they needed some guidance or amplification.”

SGA has been partnering with Elon Publics Forums (EPF) for their student debates and integration panels. “Since EPF is the non-partisan political organization on campus, I knew I wanted to establish a relationship with them early on.”

EPF provides spaces on campus where students can discuss and become more knowledgeable about civic engagement. “When I think of civic engagement, that’s even as local as Elon’s student government association,” she said.

To Bodenarain, improving civic engagement includes increasing the number of students who run for student government and increasing the number of people who know what SGA is doing.

Last year, none of the executive positions were contested, partially due to the requirement of collecting 300 signatures to run for executive office. “It sounds just as hard as it was,” Bodenarain said. “This year, we got rid of the signatures required to run for an office.”

Bodenarain focused on inclusivity and school spirit, so civic engagement is an area that still requires additional work. “Going into this election year, that’s something SGA could easily do more with, but unfortunately, it is hard to think of civic engagement-focused things,” Wagner said.

School Spirit

Students wanted a campus that not only had a lot of school spirit internally, but off-campus as well. Some students felt like this was limited to their organization. “That’s just something that has kind of lacked at Elon, but everybody wants it,” Wagner said.

A special tent at student tailgates was one initiative to improve both school spirit and inclusivity. Bodenarain recalled her own first tailgate experience. “I had literally no idea where to go because there were so many tailgate tents, so I wanted to create a space where any student could come, eat food and talk.”

Bodenarain said she didn’t want to associate it with the SGA. “I was a first year and I thought there would be an SGA tailgate tent I would be like ‘I don’t want to go there because it’s probably just for senators.’”

“I know football games seem so small but I remember, even the most insignificant place where you feel like ‘oh students aren’t really paying attention,’ I remember feeling just being reinforced whether or not I really belong at Elon by doing something as simple as going to a football game.”

“My first year, I didn’t go to any,” Bodenarain said. I think I attended more football games this past year than I have in my three years at Elon.”

Both Bodenarain and Wagner said that despite being happy with their accomplishments and sad about having to leave, there will always be a feeling that more could have been done. “It was still, I think, a very successful term and I think she did a lot of work putting that together and a lot of work into making myself feel that way where I feel proud of what we’ve done.”



Updated the honor code 

Assisted Dr. Dooley in the creation of the Traditions Council

Eliminated signatures for the first years and eventually the entire SGA candidates list 

Introduced a new competitive over team-based model for Homecoming events 

Introduced the Banner parade for Homecoming 

Sustained the Homecoming Royalty and charity model 

Followed Elon’s charge of being global citizens by responding to international and national disasters 

Established a new collaboration fund to encourage groups across campus to work together 

Added SICC to our by-laws and constitution  

Started Inclusivity Week 

Changed the name of OAIC to honor Dr. Lambert

Amended the constitution

Sustained the town hall model, discussing sexual assault, mental health, greek life, and race relations, among others

Established  Phoenix Phrenzy games

Created the All Student Tailgate Tent

Dramatically revamped the Major Fair 

Dramatically increased the responsibilities of the Academic Relations Council (meet with the provost and deans, meet with the faculty senate)

Helped launch the #SeeMeElon stories campaign 

Continued the Elon Ball

Looking into having Elon recognize Indigenous People’s Day

36 candidates running for SGA this time, compared to 19 last year, with at least one person running for all executive positions