‘Leaders Like Me’ Lex McGriff '18 has grown into a leader in W&L's Student Association for Black Unity. As she prepares for graduation, she hopes more underclassmen will become leaders like her.
“Often times, people speak of finding organizations that they resonate with, but I believe that SABU is an organization that found me.”
Hometown: Vero Beach, Florida
Majors: Computer Science; Sociology and Anthropology
My experience at W&L has been filled with nothing but exponential growth, mentally and personally. As a wide-eyed Floridian first-year, I would have never been able to guess how much the school needed leaders like me, but also how much I needed a place to challenge me and ground me in my beliefs. That is exactly what W&L has done, and is continuing to do, for me.
This became especially evident in my involvement in the Student Association for Black Unity (SABU). Often times, people speak of finding organizations that they resonate with, but I believe that SABU is an organization that found me. My first year at W&L was one in which I struggled with the fact that I was, as I like to call it, a quadruple anomaly: African-American, a woman, of low socioeconomic status, and an independent (not Greek-affiliated) student. At W&L, this is an interesting dynamic. I often times felt frustrated with the fact that a majority of the students here don’t have to be concerned with issues surrounding race. There are issues that exist that most people have not and will not ever have to experience, and there was an illusion that everyone was okay with that.
Luckily, I figured out that not everyone on campus was okay with that, nor is everyone okay with that today. SABU is one of those areas. There is a desire and a necessity for diverse interaction that breeds learning. Working in the leadership of SABU has taught me how to articulate that need while also taking my best shot at providing the interaction even when it may be a little uncomfortable. Working in SABU has also taught me that to be uncomfortable is to grow, and to be different is to glow. As I gear up to say “see you later” to Washington and Lee, I urge my peers, especially the underclassmen, to not be okay; to be dissatisfied with things rather than be complacent. You can all fall into your own SABU and change this place for the better.
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