Desmond C. Varner, Jr., a sophomore Army ROTC Cadet at Xavier University, is a student leader active in supporting diverse, vibrant communities. A Health Sciences major concentrating in Analytics Population Health, Desmond builds connections that foster collaboration across difference and identifies equitable outcomes. Desmond currently has leadership roles with Xavier's Black Student Association, Interfaith Leadership Cabinet, and as a charter member of Kappa Alpha Psi. Recently he was elected Legislative Vice President of Xavier's Student Government Association to provide a representative voice for his classmates to our Administration and external community, in addition to his service on the President's Diversity and Inclusion Action and Advisory Council. Desmond aspires to develop innovative equity and racial awareness initiatives for our campus and community.
My experiences as an African American, first generation college student have empowered me to better understand the challenges facing students like me and advocate for opportunities through my service. Nelson Mandela once said, "There is no passion to be found playing small and settling for a life less than the one you are capable of living!" While I have held leadership positions in small organizations on campus, nothing prepared me to run as part of a successful all-African American Student Government Executive ticket at Xavier. Now we have the opportunity to improve the environment of our campus by furthering a sense of belonging for all students, but especially for people that resemble us. To that end we've started a clothing bank and worked to insure our campus foodbank is accessible and efficient for first generation students in need. Following this charge also takes me off campus working with a local public school where challenges are plenty, but opportunity is more plentiful. Here I hope to leverage my own experiences as a first generation college student, to help young students with leadership skills, hone reading, writing and math skills, and demonstrate the inherent values of scholarship and service.