By Shanieya Harris
Is that stomping I hear? Campus life at Barry University is taking things up a notch by bringing The Divine Nine—historically black Greek life organizations—on board.
According to Scott Smith, the director of academic and student experience, Barry sent official letters of support and invitations to Alpha Phi Alpha and Phi Beta Sigma fraternities and Delta Sigma Theta and Zeta Phi Beta sororities to join our campus community in 2022.
Both Phi Beta Sigma fraternity incorporated and Zeta Phi Beta sorority incorporated have shared that they intend to begin their intake process on campus next spring. While Alpha Phi Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta are still pending, students have a lot to be excited about in the semester to come.
Phi Beta Sigma
Affectionately known as the Sigmas, the brothers in this fraternity are marked by their colors in royal blue and pure white. Notable members are athletes Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith and actors Terrence Howard and Blair Underwood.
Founded in 1914, their overall goal is to “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, [and] exhibit integrity and ethical behavior in conducting the fraternity's business.”
Zeta Phi Beta
Affectionately known as the Zetas, the sisters in this sorority are also marked by royal blue and white as well as characteristics including service, sisterly love, scholarship, and maintaining finer womanhood. Notable members of Zeta Phi Beta have been author Zora Neale Hurston, entertainer Towanda Braxton, comedian Sheryl Underwood and vocalist Dionne Warwick.
According to the organization’s website, zphib1920.org, “From the sorority's inception, the members of Zeta Phi Beta and Phi Beta Sigma have successfully collaborated on a variety of community service projects, shared national, regional, state and local activities and developed and enjoyed the bonds afforded a sisterhood and brotherhood with a shared purpose.”
An info session was hosted earlier this semester on Aug. 23 to provide students with both general information about what Greek life is like and what is expected of each organization, including topics like leadership, academic requirements, time commitment and service opportunities. There was a panel that consisted of representatives from the nine members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council also known as the “Divine Nine” which is composed of historically African American fraternities and sororities.
Currently, Barry University is home to one sorority, Alpha Phi, and two fraternities, Alpha Delta Gamma and Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. Of the three listed, none of these organizations are historically black which makes this new edition to the community special to campus.
Barry officials feel that bringing these new organizations to Barry University will enhance campus life, diversifying our university’s Greek life program.
“We have partnered with representatives from the Miami office of National Pan- Hellenic Council as well as leaders and alumni from the various Greek letter organizations to expand the Greek Life program at Barry University,” Scott said. “Many Catholic institutions have successful and thriving Greek communities, and we believe Barry University can as well. For a long time, Greek life is something that Barry students of color have expressed interest in, and it is now becoming a reality.
“I am very excited to see new organizations on campus that reflect those like myself. I think this is exactly what this university needs to enhance campus life. I always see it in the movies and now I will be able to experience it for myself,” said senior Jenise Smalls, majoring in psychology.
Students will have the opportunity to get involved on campus and create positive impacts and outlooks for life.
Each organization is looking to gain about 15 to 20 Barry University students as part of their body by next year 2022. So, how do students get involved and what is the criteria?
While each organization has their own unique set of obligations and criteria, students are expected to be in good academic and social standing within the university. Students can anticipate taking part in a number of activities as well as paying dues that will vary based on the organization. The school is creating an event that will showcase all the new pledges to their peers in Spring 2022.
Campus staff have expressed their sincere excitement for this new partnership at Barry University.
“This is a monumental step in a university that is extremely diverse. To have these new organizations is something well deserved and says a lot about our leadership!” said Housing and Residence Life Administrative Assistant Ela Gorwky.