Potential fraternity seeks new members

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., petitioned to join the University of North Alabama’s National Pan-Hellenic Council Jan. 19 and received a unanimous vote to join the council. However, the fraternity is not officially on campus yet.

With the addition of Omega Psi Phi, the university will have representation of seven of the nine black Greek-lettered organizations of the “Divine Nine” NPHC fraternities and sororities.

In order for the organization to gain its full membership as a Registered Student Organization, they must have at least 10 members, said Director of Student Engagement Tyler Thompson. Many NPHC chapters do not require that number to become official chapters, so this number may change in the future.

To become an official undergraduate chapter, they must maintain a minimum of eight undergraduate members on campus.

The group hopes to have this done by the end of the semester, said junior Jalen Reedus.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., began Nov. 17, 1911, at Howard University, and has four core principles — manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift.

In August 2015, seniors Preston Sales, Wesley Daniels, Ryan Mason and Austin Miller, juniors Reedus and Corey Cunningham and graduate student Jalan Jones, pledged under the Florence graduate chapter, Alpha Pi.

Since then, they have participated in service events around campus and in the community.

They have performed at local schools, participated in Handy Fest events, volunteered at the YMCA and the Salvation Army, and served as mentors to young men in the community.

This organization offers students a different option, Miller said.

“You always want to leave something great behind, no matter where you go, what avenue you travel or what field you go into,” he said. “You want to make a difference somewhere. We provide for a different demographic.”

Vice Basileus Will Boyd and former Vice President of Enrollment Management Thomas Calhoun helped the group along the way, Miller said.

“It’s just really a blessing because we would not have been able to do this by ourselves,” he said.

UNA alumnus and undergraduate adviser for the fraternity Craig Nelson also played a major role in bringing Omega Psi Phi to the campus, Miller said.

“Nelson takes care of the things that happen on campus,” he said. “We brainstorm and share ideas with Brother Nelson to see what would be our best avenue to travel on.”

Nelson said he tries to keep the young men focused.

“With me being in the fraternity for going on seven years, I look at it a lot differently than I did when I was in the fraternity one year or two years,” he said. “I’m proud of them. I know I don’t tell them much because I don’t want them to get relaxed, but I’m definitely proud of them. All these guys touched me in some way or the other. These guys make me want to stay on top of everything.”

NPHC is allowing the group to host Omega Psi Phi Greek Week April 10-15, Reedus said.

“Greek week is something that we really are putting our hearts into,” Miller said. “Each part and each day of the week will be something special, not just to us, but to the university, as well.”