There is a small group of students on Southeast Missouri State University's campus that is doing big things. What this group lacks in size, it makes up for with a relentless search for self-improvement and classic exemplary Southeast spirit. On campus, these organizations fall under the name National Pan-Hellenic Council, but each group has a distinct culture and each member has a story.
The six NPHC organizations at Southeast are part of the national historically Black Greek Letter Organizations, also known as the Divine Nine. Six of the nine groups were formed at Howard University in 1930. Three more were added through the years, with the ninth organization joining in 1997. Learn more about each organization below.
According to the NPHC website, the organizations started at a time when African Americans were experiencing racial isolation and were denied entry into other social organizations. The purpose and focus of these groups began as community awareness and action through educational, economic, and cultural service activities. The organizations still cling to these values today.
Zykiah Williams is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Williams says her time as a Zeta influences everything she does at Southeast. Without this organization, she knows her time on campus would have been very different.
National Pan-Hellenic Council Organizations at Southeast
Southeast is proud to have six of the Divine Nine Organizations on campus. Learn a little more about each one below.
The Xi Gamma Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated was chartered on March 17, 1979, on the Southeast campus. It is the 488th house of the national fraternity. Their objectives are:
- to stimulate the ambition of its members
- to prepare them for the greatest usefulness in the causes of humanity, freedom and dignity of the individual
- to encourage the highest and noblest form of manhood
- to aid downtrodden humanity in its efforts to achieve higher social, economic and intellectual status
Notable Alpha Phi Alpha members Martin Luther King III, Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, Maryland Governor Wes Moore and Roland Martin have served as keynote speakers for Southeast's annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration dinner.
On April 9, 1983, the Omicron Pi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated was chartered at Southeast Missouri State University. This chapter says it maintains devotedness, sophistication, and elegance while holding up Delta Sigma Theta's five-point programmatic thrust:
- Economic Development
- Educational Development
- International Awareness and Involvement
- Physical and Mental Health
- Political Awareness and Involvement
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated is represented at SEMO by the Iota Delta Delta Chapter. This chapter was chartered in December of 1988. Omega Psi Phi is the first international fraternal organization founded at a historically black college. Their motto "friendship is essential to the soul" has inspired young men since 1911.
Notable Omeha Psi Phi members Herman Boone and Douglas Wilder have visited the Southeast campus as speakers for the annual Martin Luther King Dinner.
One of Southeast's newest NPHC organizations on campus is the Xi Iota Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated. The SEMO chapter was originally chartered on March 6, 1986. It was re-chartered on April 24, 2018. Their objectives are as follows:
- Strengthen and serve proactively the brotherhood, as a supportive resource that positively impacts the Fraternity’s growth and financial solvency.
- Reaffirm and maintain a strong commitment to brotherhood, scholarship and service.
- Ensure that the Fraternity programs are focused and committed to serving humanity.
- Create an environment that respects the dignity and worth of each brother.
- Exhibit integrity and ethical behavior in conducting the Fraternity’s business, serving as a model for all Greek-letter organizations.
- Maintain and improve the Fraternity’s technological literacy, in order to better service its members and the community at large.
- Foster and nurture our constitutional bond with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
- Encourage a closer and mutually beneficial working relationship with fellow Greek-letter organizations, other community service organizations, businesses and government.
- Select leaders who are committed and have demonstrated their ability to lead.
Southeast's Lambda Eta Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated was chartered on Sep. 12 in 1989. Read Sigma's mission below:
"It is the mission of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. to enhance the quality of life for women and their families in the U.S. and globally through community service, civil, and social action. Our goal is to achieve greater progress in the areas of education, health awareness, and leadership development. Our members, affiliates, staff, and community partners work to create and support initiatives that align with our vision."
Taylor Powell is another member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated at Southeast. She says while she knew about the NPHC organizations before coming to campus, she didn't plan to join. It wasn't until her junior year that she realized what these organizations were all about. Zeta's focus on service and finding womanhood are what attracted Powell to the organization. She says she didn't know finding friends with these same values was possible for her in college. Being part of Zeta brought her out of her shell and gave her new confidence.
Powell says she wants people to be willing to learn more about organizations that seem unfamiliar or different. You never know which organizations are right for you if you don't give new ones a chance.