By Magdalena Knapp, Editor
Photos by Ifeolu Adeoye
We all know that McKendree’s color is purple, but last weekend our beautiful campus was bathed in blue. On Saturday, September 7th, McKendree University had the honor of hosting an important event at the Hett. The Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. had their first conference on our campus. Many of you probably saw the big buses in the parking lot and the wave of people who came to Ames for brunch. This fraternity is one of the oldest African-American fraternities in America and was founded in 1914. It is the first African-American fraternity to charter a chapter at McKendree University. Today, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. has chapter members all over the world from all ethnicities.
Three African-American male students at the Howard University in Washington D.C. wanted to create an organization that was built into the community and whose sole purpose is to serve the community. As part of the community, each member of the fraternity should be unique and they are not judged by their family or history, but simply based on their own qualities. The goal of Phi Beta Sigma is not obtain money for themselves, but rather to give to the community and back to the people in form of scholarships, for example.
The conference at the Hett began at 9am and ended at 5pm. Included in this long day were workshop sessions, reports from the past year about the fraternity, and presentations from the most important people building the fraternity, including the international president. The workshops covered all sorts of topics such as MENtal health awareness, risk management, title IX information, and leveraging partnerships.
Edward Hill is the president of Phi Beta Sigma and joined the fraternity in the Spring of 2017. When the fraternity was first introduced on campus in 2014 it did not have much success because it did not reach the charter qualification. Now, five years later, the fraternity is officially part of our campus. Edward, such as many other members, is part of the fraternity because he “wanted to be in a brotherhood for lifetime, and not just for a few years.” He wanted to share ideas, be part of something bigger and give back to the people.
Phi Beta Sigma is a social and service fraternity so they have a lot of responsibilities on campus such as volunteering. Members mentor Lebanon kids and help them with their homework. They also lead Beta clubs, do services for Alzheimer’s patients, breast cancer and AIDS awareness, organize blood drives, promote voting and are involved in the Christian Activity Center.
It is important that Phi Beta Sigma fraternity is part of our campus to represent the African-American students and support them in college. One huge impact the members want to make is to get students out of their dorms and join the community life and meet people.
For this year Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. has many projects planned, for example a recycling project. “We want to promote recycling on campus to give back to the environment.” says Edward Hill. Sigma wellness is another point on their list to promote mental health and address issues associated with it as well as other diseases. Since college is the time where students learn how to file taxes, Phi Beta Sigma offers also tax workshops, as well as scholarships to very devoted members.
The addition of Phi Beta Sigma to our campus can only enhance one’s experience here because Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is part of the community and acts for the community. Phi Beta Sigma is always looking for new and engaged members. “Honestly, peps, if you have a motive to give back to your community, if you are thankful for something, and you want to give something back, join!” says Edward Hill.