This year, I am the secretary for Phi Beta Sigma at West Chester University.
Phi Beta Sigma fraternity was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in Jan. 9, 1914, by three young African-American male students. The founders, Honorable A. Langston Taylor, Honorable Leonard F. Morse, and Honorable Charles I. Brown, wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would truly exemplify the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, and service.
The founders deeply wished to create an organization that viewed itself as “a part of” the general community rather than “apart from” the general community. They believed that each potential member should be judged by his own merits, rather than his family background or affluence and without regard to race, nationality, skin tone, or texture of hair. They desired for their fraternity to exist as part of an even greater brotherhood which would be devoted to the “inclusive we” rather than the “exclusive we.” [pullquote align=”center”]we are a fraternity of firsts[/pullquote]
Some interesting facts about Phi Beta Sigma are that, we are a fraternity of firsts, “We are all too often imitated, but we can never be duplicated.” We are officially the first fraternity to step with canes, and the first and only fraternity to establish a constitutional bond with a sorority (Zeta Phi Beta sorority, Inc.).
Another interesting fact about Phi Beta Sigma is that it is the first and only black Greek-letter fraternity to have one of its members on the face of a U.S. Coin. (George Washington Carver on the 1951 Half Dollar).
Our organization has bee a home for many different celebrity and famous members of Phi Beta Sigma as well. Some of them include Jerry Rice, former President Bill Clinton, Terrence Howard, Emmitt Smith, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ryan Howard, and many more.
We, as members of Phi Beta Sigma, strive to live by the three important principles of brotherhood, scholarship, and service which are portrayed throughout the world today. We stress brotherhood by having more than just a friendship, but a family bond to where we always have each other’s backs and best interests at heart.
We stress the principle of scholarship by striving to get the best grades possible not just for the fraternity, but for ourselves as well, making sure we all excel at the highest level of educational purposes.
My favorite principle to go by is service, as we love giving back to the community and school by getting involved in programs around campus and in different areas. Just a few of some of the community service programs we do are, walking for The March of Dimes, giving food plates to the elderly every Thanksgiving in Chester, and we participate around campus in Adopt-A-Block.
Our chapter here at West Chester is Lambda Upsilon which was founded at this school on May 3, 1980.
As of right now, we currently have six active members including myself, Brother Felix Otti who is our president, and Brother Eric Clack who is our vice president. We also have Brother Aaron Walton, who is our secretary, Brother Duron Moore who is our treasurer, and Brother Keenan Killingsworth who is also our treasurer.
I asked each of my brothers why they chose Phi Beta Sigma and they gave me the following reasons, “I joined Phi Beta Sigma because I wanted to join a family of brothers who are just as humble as myself. I also did it not only to grow as an individual, but to help my brothers, my organization, and my community as a whole,” said Brother Keenan Killingsworth.
“I joined Phi Beta Sigma because to me it had no stereotype, so anyone can feel comfortable as the brothers make you immediate family,” said Brother Aaron Walton.
“My reasons for joining Phi Beta Sigma are that it helped me to become a man. I learned that no matter what the situation may look like at the moment, to never give up and always have faith in myself and that helped shaped me into the person I am today,” said Brother Eric Clack.
“I joined Phi Beta Sigma because Sigma is an organization that did not have a stereotype and one type of personality. The brothers had many different personalities, which allowed for me to associate with different kind of people and intelligences, and it is known for being the ‘People’s Frat,’” said Brother Felix Otti.
These reasons are why I also joined Phi Beta Sigma: I am the first member of my family to join the Greek life and it has changed my life dramatically. I feel like I am a part of something that has helped shape the world for the greater and continues to strive in excellence in everything that we do. If you want to know more about Phi Beta Sigma, contact me at MC785844@wcupa.edu, or follow our Instagram page at @wcu_sigmas for our upcoming events in the future!
Marcelus Council-Jones is a third-year student majoring in professional studies. He can be reached at MC78544@wcupa.edu.