When they were teenagers, Travis and Spencer McCloskey avoided friendly greetings when they passed each other in their high school halls.
Like most siblings, they argued often when they were young. They butted heads even though they had some mutual friends and played together on their high school soccer team.
That doesn’t mean that they didn’t share a lot of love and have a special friendship.
They are now gearing up to work together during Student Government’s (SG) 60th term.
Travis, 21 — the next student body vice president — will be a veteran member of the SG executive branch after serving as the chief financial officer this term. His younger brother, Spencer, 18, will be a first-time senator in the legislative branch, representing the College of Business.
As children with a father in the Air Force, these brothers had a unique childhood before earning these SG positions.
Before the two came to USF, Travis was born in Arizona, moved to Florida (where Spencer was born), Arkansas and Germany. Travis then graduated from high school and moved back to Florida to attend USF. Spencer, still in high school at this point, moved to Virginia, Arkansas and finally to Florida.
Travis said he blames his squabbles with his brother on the amount of change happening within their lives, particularly when they moved to Germany.
“We didn’t really have a lot of close friends growing up,” Travis said. “Ultimately, it was just him and I but that doesn’t mean we got along. In reality, we actually didn’t get along until he (Spencer) came here to USF.”
Although Spencer said USF was always his first-choice school, Travis’ decision to attend “put that cherry on top.”
On top of having family that lives close by, Travis said he was attracted to USF because of its good psychology program, which was his first major, and the school’s overall appeal.
“The only schools I applied to were schools that I thought looked cool on YouTube,” Travis said.
Since both have started at USF, they have the same major — business analytics and information systems with a concentration in cybersecurity — and they listen to the same music, which Travis describes as alternative hip-hop.
“I’ve never tried to push anything on him,” Travis said. “I wanted him to find his own way, wanted him to do his own things, have his own friends … but I do want to be his mentor.”
“I want to do everything he’s done but better,” Spencer joked.
In a phone interview with The Oracle, their parents, who still reside in Arkansas, Doug and Kelly McCloskey reminisced on watching Spencer and Travis grow up.
“Their relationship was good at times but when it wasn’t so good, it was driven by how competitive they are,” Doug said. “A lot of their competitiveness came out on the field but it also came out at home.”
Perhaps a nod to their competitive nature, they will both be serving in SG branches that do not always have aligned visions. Spencer and Travis said one of the main ways that they hope to serve the student body is by helping to mend the gap between the executive and legislative branches that can sometimes exist.
After all, they seem to have achieved this in their own relationship.
In their young adulthood, these two still have the common discussion of who the favorite kid was in their parents’ eyes. However, Spencer and Travis seemed to agree that they both believed Spencer holds that honor.
Their parents disagreed on the other hand.
“This happens every time they come home too,” Kelly said. “They say ‘oh, obviously Spencer is the favorite’ or ‘obviously Travis is the favorite,’ depending on who you talk to … There absolutely is no favorite and we try to make them understand that but it’s an ongoing debate and it will change daily.”
In a classic dad way, Doug said that if he were to make a spreadsheet laying out how much money he and Kelly spend on both Travis and Spencer, it would be about equal.
“We probably spend a fair amount of money on each, more than I would like to, probably,” Doug said.
While Travis and Spencer now share a lot of commonalities, their career goals do differ.
Spencer wants to join the Air Force like his dad, while Travis is keeping his options open and considering the cybersecurity field, entertainment industry or something relating to real estate.
Even though they don’t have the time to hang out often now that they are at USF, they see each other as much as they can and are planning to get an apartment together next year.
“He’s like my best friend in a sense but we’re so busy with everything we’re doing,” Spencer said.
When both start their new SG positions next term, they anticipate spending more time together and it seems they’ll be more likely to offer each other a friendly wave in the halls of SG — and their new apartment too.
“We’re just unbelievably proud of them, of course, as parents,” Kelly said. “To do great things at such young ages, just pride is the only thing I can think of for those boys.”