When it comes to Black sorority and fraternity organizations, there is more to it than meets the eye. The National Panhellenic Council, (NPHC) which is also known as the Divine Nine consists of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated.
I recently attended the Meet the Greeks event that was being held here on our FAU Campus. I took the opportunity to meet with a few members of the NPHC organizations currently at FAU and asked them questions about their Sorority and Fraternity.
When asking the following members to name one specific reason they decided to pledge their organization, Quiara Green, a Senior, and member of the Pi Eta chapter of Zeta Pi Beta Sorority Incorporated, says, “I am a legacy. Which means that my mom is a Zeta and my father is a Sigma, so growing up I always saw blue and white. That’s always what I was accustomed to. I was in a youth group for high school for four years, and just having all the Zetas and everything like that sow into me when I was in high school. And they really changed my life honestly. Not to be dramatic, but they changed my life and that same experience that I received, I want to be able to give that back to someone else.”
A member of the Omicron Gamma chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, recalls, “One reason why I wanted to join Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, I wanted to join since high school. I had one of our resource officers that worked at my high school. He was part of my frat, and I looked up to him at the time of my life. I felt like it would’ve been an honor to join the same frat as him, and call him my brother, and to see him as a mentor as well.” Another fellow member, Noah who is a Senior, says how he didn’t know much about Greek life until he found out his uncle was in a fraternity, which led him to wanting to be part of the same fraternity as well. “Me personally, I didn’t know much about Greek life when I came out of high school. I pretty much came here my Freshman Year not really knowing much. I started talking to some family members about Greek life, and it turns out my uncle is actually a part of the same fraternity. He’s actually a charter member here at this school so which makes me a legacy, so I looked up to him growing up. I never knew that history and that side of him, so he basically encouraged me, talked to me, told me to do research, learn more information about the frat, and that just led me to fall in love with it.”
A few members recall what is an interesting fun fact that makes their organization so unique. “A really neat fact about our organization is that we are a non-profit, so everything that we do is really from the heart, and we really want to give back to the community, and see progress without any monetary game,” said Torri Sealey, a Junior and Treasurer of the Xi Epsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. Kennedy McKinney, a Junior and Chapter President of the Xi Epsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated also shared a fun fact, “We have the most founders out of all the NPHC sororities.” FAU Alumni, Michael Julien, a member of the Upsilon Theta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated cities that according to Yale Daily News, “Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated claims 60 percent of doctors, 75 percent of lawyers, 65 percent of dentists and 95 percent of black college presidents.”
To be part of a historically Black sorority or fraternity would probably be one of the proudest accomplishments anyone could achieve. Graduate advisor of the Sigma Iota Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Ms. Clayton, what she is most personally and nationally proud of in being a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, she states, “Personally, I would say the long sisterhood that we’ve had, and nationally, my sorority sister is the Vice President of The United States. So I don’t think anything can top that to say that we have not only a black woman but also someone who is in my sorority that is the Vice President.” Furthermore, Austin, who is a Senior and member of the Sigma Delta Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, what he’s nationally and personally most proud of as a member of Omega Psi Phi, says that “The brotherhood, and no matter where I go I have people look out for me. I just got my internship that I just finished over the summer for my graduate chapter. The connections just help me grow as a person.”
Considering the passion, commitment, and dedication of those involved in these organizations, each member was able to share how they are able to personally contribute to their chapter. Senior, Rakkayyah Peter, a member of the Pi Eta chapter of Sigma Gamma Rhos Sorority Incorporated says, “I have brought my adaptability to work in large groups, as well as working by myself to make things happen even when obstacles are being thrown at me. I love my chapter and my contributions are just the beginning!”
Olsen, who is a Junior and President of the Alpha Beta Iota Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, what has been your chapter’s involvement for the D9 here at Florida Atlantic University, he says, “Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated at Florida Atlantic University, our involvement on campus is to be a peoples fraternity. Trying to get people involved in many things such as social events and community awareness events. Our main goal is trying to make everyone welcome as a family on campus. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated is founded on the principle of brotherhood, scholarship, and service. For our chapter, we are involved in a lot of things that are based on our principles. We are very big on service, helping others in need, not only in Boca Raton but around South Florida.”
Taking everything into account, and hearing all that was shared by the different organizations, and having the chance to meet the greeks that are not like any other. Getting to know more about each sorority and fraternity in the National Pan Hellenic Council at FAU provides so much insight about each organization and what it means to them. The Divine Nine certainly has an impact on campus and in the community. So now when you see any of these young men and women on campus, beyond the letters on their shirt, you can appreciate what their organization means to them.