A new chapter of the historically African-American Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity will be active on Belmont’s campus by spring 2016, said Dr. Jeffery Burgin, an Alpha Phi Alpha alumnus member and associate provost and dean of students.
The initial proposal for the fraternity was in the fall of 2014, and after an agreement from the district, regional and national Alpha Phi Alpha committees with Belmont University, a charter was finally granted to add the fraternity. The process was one of mutual consent on all levels, Burgin said.
“We have to assure that the organizations that are going to be a part of Belmont are also going to thrive. There is a level of sustainability as well as their upholding the values of Belmont University. All those things need to be considered,” said Burgin.
It was only through the general convention of the fraternity leadership held this year that the agreement was reached. This convention will not be held again until 2017, said Burgin.
Alpha Phi Alpha is historically African-American and is part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, which comprises nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities including Phi Beta Sigma, whose members have already graduated from Belmont. Although historically African-American, Alpha Phi Alpha is open to students of all ethnicities.
Antwone Cameron, who–alongside Burgin– is a member of the Nashville alumni chapter, the Tau Lambda chapter, and is the residence director of Potter Hall was in charge of the Alpha Phi Alpha information table at Belmont’s Greek Week.
“We want it to be diverse, because it is a learning experience for everyone. If we can have people of different ethnicities we welcome them with open arms,” Cameron said.
Tau Lambda chapter will act as a sponsor for Belmont’s Upsilon Tau chapter of the fraternity. This semester, an educational awareness program will be held for Tau Lambda members to meet interested Belmont students.
Although there are no finalized numbers or dates for the fraternity, both Burgin and Cameron said students have been showing interest. About 23 to 24 individuals signed their name at the informational table at Greek Week, Burgin said.
Interested students can reach out to Burgin, Cameron or Assistant Director of Student Engagement Sarah Rigsby to learn about Belmont’s chapter. For general information on the fraternity visit Alpha Phi Alpha’s website.
“It is great to have. It gives you a space to feel comfortable and to be with people who are similar to you and go through struggles,” Cameron said.
A welcome reception for the fraternity will also be held Monday at 7:06 p.m. in Beaman A & B.
This story was written by Taylor Berghoff.