Historically Black in Greek Life at ASU

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National Pan-Hellenic Conference sorority bid day at Arizona State University 2014.
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Arizona State University has 70 different organizations in Greek life and growing. One council in particular, consisting of 9 chapters, stands out from the others.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council’s (NPHC) nine chapters were founded historically to be all African-American fraternities and sororities. Consisting of only nine of the 70 Greek chapters at ASU, many people do not know about NPHC and all it stands for.

Celebrating its 111 years in action, since the founding of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at Cornell University in 1906, a lot has changed for race relations since then. “Our fraternity strives on making connections with non-black organizations,” said member of Alpha Phi Alpha at ASU Aaron Robinson.

While Robinson’s chapter specifically has zero non-black members, that is not the case for all NPHC chapters. All chapters claim to be open to members of all races.

“There are mixed race members and also members who do not identify as black,” Ericka Joseph member of Alpha Kappa Alpha said. “We do not discriminate against race.”

While all races are welcome, Alpha Phi Alpha at ASU still only has 12 active members. This may have something to do with the fact that they do not participate in formal recruitment. This semester they got word out by social media and public wall postings to inform potential new members of the informational meetings they hold, Robinson said.

For both Robinson and Joseph, they joined their chapter during their graduate degree program. This makes a difference as the National Panhellenic Conference, which is comprised of 13 of ASU’s sororities, is for undergraduate students only.

Nia Roane, 22, is an African-American undergrad student at ASU who chose the opposite and went Alpha Phi, which is apart of the National Pan-Hellenic Conference. Roane made her tough decision after her entire family was already legacies to National Pan-Hellenic Council’s fraternities and sororities. “I felt like I wouldn’t get the same opportunities and experiences in NPHC as they did in the Midwest,” said Roane. “It’s so much smaller here at ASU.”

NPHC constantly tries to expand their chapters’ horizons and initiate new members, but without a large chapter it’s proven hard to draw in potential new members.

For more information on ASU’s NPHC chapters visit: https://eoss.asu.edu/fsl/about/nphc

 

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