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‘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.”

Lex-McGriff-800x533 'Leaders Like Me'Lex McGriff ’18

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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A little more about Lex

Extracurricular involvement:
I am the vice president of the Student Association for Black Unity (SABU) and vice president of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), and I am currently serving on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and the Diversity Sub-Committee of Strategic Planning.
Why did you choose your major?
I chose to major in computer science because I was interested in learning more about a field that is very exciting and relevant to our ever-growing global environment. I took one class in the sociology department my first year and knew I would want to come back, and I just never left.
Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai. I order chicken fried rice with a spicy level of 3.
What one film/book do you recommend to everyone?
“The Dark Knight” is my favorite movie because I love Batman and the way it presents morality and chaos.
Post-graduation plans:
After graduation, I will be working at Citibank in Jacksonville, Florida as a full-time analyst in their Leadership Development Program.
Favorite class:
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pick one favorite class, but my Race and Ethnic Relations course with Professor Novack would definitely be one of them.
Favorite W&L event:
Black Ball 2017
Why did you choose W&L?
I chose W&L because, as a Quest Scholar, it took the financial burden off my family and me.