Traditionally, fraternities and sororities are a great way for undergraduate students to enter new social circles and establish lifelong networks. For many years, African American students were excluded from these groups on college campuses. Young African American students began founding their own institutions in the early 20th Century. These original organizations have grown to include extensive alumni chapter networks, that provide lifelong support for members.
Today, there are nine historically Black fraternities and sororities who are members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. These, “Divine 9” (as they are often called) are as follows:
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Founded in 1906 at Cornell University
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. – Founded in 1908 at Howard University
- Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. – Founded in 1911 at Indiana University, Bloomington
- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. – Founded in 1911 at Howard University
- Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Founded in 1913 at Howard University
- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. – Founded in 1914 at Howard University
- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. – Founded in 1920 at Howard University
- Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. – Founded in 1929 at Butler University
- Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. – Founded in 1963 at Morgan State University
While these organizations provide a strong support system for their members, the Divine 9 also have a strong, outward-facing mission to serve their communities through social, political, and economic outreach. Whether undergrad or alumni chapters, these organizations prepare their members for leadership.
At Fuqua, I am surrounded by leaders from different backgrounds with different viewpoints. My membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. offers me a framework for how I share my perspective on leading in business while uplifting communities. This unique viewpoint is powerful in this current period of social upheaval.
I also have an immediate support system from my fellow members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and other Divine 9 members in my class. Networking is a core part of the Weekend Executive MBA and few things were more enjoyable than being able to stroll with my “Sorors” (sorority sisters) during a Weekend Executive MBA happy hour this summer!
As I learn more about leadership and managing diverse teams, I look forward to bringing my new skills from Fuqua back to my sorority and my larger community.