Keeper of the Dream: Kyle Griggs


Throughout his life, Oakland University junior Kyle Griggs has yearned to belong to a community where he could be himself. When he became a Keeper of the Dream Award (KOD) recipient, he recognized that he didn’t have to look any further than his own backyard.

Griggs recalls having an atypical childhood. He attended the Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School (FLICS) in Detroit, where the main focus was to learn another language. Griggs credits his experience there as foundational in his enjoyment of learning about different cultures. 

“[Learning about different cultures] is still something that I love doing today, just talking to people and learning about their experiences,” Griggs said. 

Griggs also remembers feeling lonely during this time because he unconsciously kept his distance from people. Upon attending OU, he took it upon himself to break out of his shell by becoming an active member of the Grizzly community. 

Griggs is a peer mentor for the Center for Multicultural Initiatives (CMI) as well as the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC).  He feels he already has a disposition to enjoy both positions.

“I’m a psychology major,” he said. “Learning about people by communicating and making community with people is something that I’ve always enjoyed doing. Being a mentor was just something that I felt was really beneficial.” 

Though he was interested, Griggs refrained from applying for KOD in previous years. He only made the leap this year after a supervisor acknowledged the work Griggs is doing is significant beyond measure. 

“I don’t have any huge leadership positions,” Griggs said. “I’m not a president or secretary of organizations. But even still, coming to terms that what I do is still important and still beneficial was something that really helped inspire me.” 

Coming from a home with a limited surplus of means, Griggs is thankful KOD offers him a scholarship that makes attending college just a little bit more affordable.

“We live in a country where education is very, very, very expensive for a majority of people,” he said. “Any sort of financial aid is very helpful.”

KOD has also given Griggs the opportunity to network with people who share the same ideals as him — something he wholeheartedly appreciates.

“A lot of people who apply and are awarded the scholarship seem to have similar values,” Griggs said. “It’s always nice to find other people who are like-minded.”

Upon graduation, Griggs plans on taking a year off. Though he enjoys the education schooling provides him, he feels that he would relish in the opportunity to learn outside of a classroom.

“I plan on doing a little bit of volunteer work — that’s something that I really want to get into,” he said. “My areas of interest are advocacy or just community development in general.”

Griggs has learned a great deal from what he has experienced throughout the course of his life. He believes that everyone should be a part of a community where they can be their complete and authentic selves.

“For me, that’s [being] Black, that’s being queer, that’s having all of those identity aspects and feeling like there’s room for that to exist,” Griggs said. “Wherever you are in the world, even if you’re the minority in a situation, you deserve to be able to feel confident and not have to choose what aspect of yourself you want to bring forward.”

This article is part of a series of articles about the 2023 Keeper of the Dream Award recipients.