By Chanté Russell, Culture Staff Writer
Posted 10:12 PM EST, Thurs., Aug. 25, 2016
The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is made up of nine international Black Greek letter organizations: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.
These nine organizations have been a major part of HBCU culture since their individual founding. Each carries its own unique and diverse legacy. Despite their distinction, every organization has a common set of “Do’s and Don’ts” when one attempts to familiarize themselves with their organization and culture:
Do: Thorough research.
Get to know the Greeks on your campus. Current members, like Emir Bailey of Phi Beta Sigma, Inc., Alpha Chapter, encouraged students to actually learn about organizations instead of basing their opinion on stereotypes. “Remember that you will be spending a lot of time with these people and you want to make sure that they are who you want to be around,” said Bailey. “It is also important to be yourself!”
Do: Be authentic.
Members of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. stressed that authenticity is an important attribute. The glamour of Greek society membership is attractive, but genuine interest in the mission statement of the organization is a definite plus.
Do: Involve yourself on campus.
Mecca McPherson of Sigma Gamma Rho, Alpha Phi Chapter, and David Castain of Kappa Alpha Psi, Theta Tau Chapter, both emphasized that there is a grade point average (GPA) requirement and that being a leader on campus and within the community is highly encouraged.
Do: Mind your character.
Pamela Senegal of Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Chapter, said that “guarding your reputation and not embarrassing yourself or your letters is of utmost importance.”
Don’t: Be interested in an organization based only on superficial reasons.
“Popularity can and will fade, [but] your impact will not,” said Shaan Khan of Alpha Phi Alpha, Beta Chapter.
Don’t: Chase the organization.
It’s easy to get overly excited about them but as Jeremy Horne of Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Chapter, warns that “getting to know them and following them around are two different things.”
Don’t: Forget to network.
Some alumni society members encourage students to take advantage of their network whenever necessary. Dr. Jennifer J. Edwards, Ph.D., a member of Delta Sigma Theta who earned a Doctoral degree in Communication and Culture at Howard, recommends being aware of the school policies in place as well as hosting events within the community as ways to have a great chapter.