College Seeks to Expand Diversity in Greek Life

Dr. Tyeshia Redden (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

Dr. Tyeshia Redden (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

By Phoebe Doscher, Staff Writer

Gettysburg College hosted the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) 101, “The Origins of the Divine 9” on Tuesday, Nov. 27 in the Junction. Historically the council for African American Greek-lettered fraternities and sororities, the NPHC oversaw Tuesday’s event and regularly governs these organizations in various schools.

Members of the Dickinson and Shippensburg Chapters of sororities and fraternities spoke as well as Africana Studies faculty member, Professor Tyeshia Redden. Their goal of the night was to raise awareness about the background of the NPHC as well as the importance of these chapters on college campuses. This event also allowed students the opportunity to learn about recruitment from the chapter representatives.

The event opened with a presentation about the origins and historical context of the council by Professor Tyeshia Redden. A member of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority herself, Redden listed and described the “Divine 9,” nine sororities or fraternities that operate under the NPHC.

These sororities and fraternities include: Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Iota Phi Theta.
Many of these sororities and fraternities were founded by women and men to honor and advocate for rights and justice in social issues. These groups also contain many famous members throughout history, including Zora Neale Hurston of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and Jada Pinkett Smith of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Overall, these groups create a strong network and support system for African Americans. Many of the groups are rooted upon service and social support, which have been celebrated for years. Redden spoke on the overarching influence of the NPHC’s fraternities and sororities, noting that they have “shaped and influenced the best and brightest of the black community.”

Throughout the presentation, representatives from neighboring colleges spoke about their organizations and involvement at Gettysburg. Jared Jalla, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, spoke on the history of his fraternity as well as Gettysburg’s involvement in the Central Pennsylvania Chapter along with Millersville University and Shippensburg University. Jallah also mentioned that he always has a strong community of brothers to depend on, “At the end of the day we all have a common goal […] we all serve to give back.”

Kiara Smith from Dickinson College, a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority also presented, reinforcing Jallah’s point about how strong the brotherhood and sisterhood bonds are among the NPHC organizations. Smith hoped to recruit Gettysburg students to become the next notable Deltas, involved in scholarship and service in their local communities.

The event concluded with words from Taylor Caesar ‘19, President of Gettysburg’s Black Student Union and member of Zeta Phi Beta. She shared the experiences offered to her as a member of the Divine 9, including meeting the chapter president and traveling with her sorority sisters during her time abroad. Overall, she, as well as the other speakers from the night, wish to see a greater influence and involvement with all the NPHC has to offer on Gettysburg’s campus in the future.

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Author: Phoebe Doscher

Phoebe Doscher ’22 is the News Editor for The Gettysburgian. She previously served as a staff writer, features section copy editor, and Assistant News Editor. Originally from Sandy Hook, CT, she is an English with a Writing Concentration and Theatre Arts double major. Aside from writing and editing, she studies voice at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music and can often be seen working on and offstage in the theatre department.

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