The courage to lead
Senior Bo Machayo is a political science and economics major and international development and policy minor from Smyrna, Ga. A second generation African American, he will be the first in his family to earn an undergraduate degree in America. Determined to become a catalyst for good and to serve the campus community, Machayo joined Pi Kappa Alpha, serving as community service chair and president. In this Q&A, he talks about what inspires him as a campus leader.
Q: What was your first semester like at Wake Forest?
A: Not knowing about dorms, meal plans or ‘Greek life,’ my experiences were all new and transforming. My first year, I lived in Johnson residence hall and became close friends with my roommate and hall mates. I enjoyed my first semester and made friends in classes and other organizations that I joined.
Q: How did you learn about Greek life?
A: Many of my friends decided they were going to rush. This intrigued me, and I decided I wanted to learn more about the fraternities on campus and meet some of my fellow students who were members. I’ll never forget that week as I went to different rush events and conversed with different brothers. I ended up at the Pi Kappa Alpha lounge, and was introduced to a fellow second generation African American who at the time was vice president of the fraternity. Little did I know this was the beginning of one of the most influential semesters at Wake Forest.
Q: What made you decide you wanted to join the fraternity?
A: Pi Kappa Alpha stood out to me because their values and ideals reminded me of the values my family instilled in me. I was reminded that I needed to remain a scholar, act as a leader and always leave things better than I found them.
Q: You brought a lot of energy to campus life. What inspired you?
A: The spring semester of my sophomore year, I travelled to Uganda for an internship with the East African Community, an organization attempting to politically federate five East African countries. The experience confirmed that my goal in life is to make a difference in people’s lives in whatever way possible. While I was putting my beliefs into action in Uganda, I decided I could also do this at Wake Forest. When I returned to campus I became the community service/philanthropy chair of Pi Kappa Alpha — a role I wanted to bring to the forefront. I increased service hours, created an annual car wash event, and participated with other organizations in philanthropic events like Pump Up For Piccolo, a fundraiser for cancer research.
Q: After your tenure as community service chair, you were elected president. How did that change your life at Wake Forest?
A: Through my diligence in fulfilling the community service chair, I was elected president of Pi Kappa Alpha. Academics is important to me and having a group of guys who are not only my friends but my accountability partners has been a great resource. With help from my brothers, I hope I will leave the fraternity better than I found it.
Q: What have you learned through your campus leadership positions that you will take with you after you graduate?
A: I could not have asked for a better learning experience than the one I was given by Pi Kappa Alpha when elected president. I learned how to balance work and fun. I learned that a leader’s greatest reward is in seeing his service benefit others. I believe that the role of the leader is to always think of how what he or she does will affect the future and to make decisions that benefit the majority of the people even if those decisions don’t benefit you directly. As I move into post-college life, I realize that anything is possible. Whatever path I choose, I hope to leave a lasting impression. I want to leave the place better than I found it. As a leader, I want to choose what is best for the majority and best for the future with every decision I make.