Since the 1900’s, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Organizations (or also known as the “Divine Nine”) has stood on the front lines of mutual concern for the well-being of communities, supporting the majority of black students in having a voice, an undivided identity and a community. These historically black organizations are one of the many pillars of black history, and have dedicated countless hours of servitude, scholarships, and more to communities worldwide. Millsaps College, taking pride in catering to those ideals, houses multiple Interfraternity Chapters that students are able to select from so that they can excel socially and connect with others on campus that share common interests that have drawn them to their respected organization. Options are a major factor for an individual, but it simply leaves the thought, “What about the Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLO’s)?”
The National Pan-Hellenic Council consists of nine fraternities and sororities: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. While all under the umbrella of the NPHC, all are different in their objectives and servitude and each one is important in being both a haven and an outlet of expression. While listing nine organizations, Millsaps College only has representation for three historically black organizations which makes the question arise: How do students feel about this lack of representation? I was able to discuss this matter with the Vice President of the Lambda Phi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Jailyn Newell.
“I do feel that Millsaps is not interested in the representation of National Pan-Hellenic Council Greek life because it has not pushed to have NPHC established on its campus. Although our organizations are small, I feel that we need representation like how the NPC has its representation,” Newell states. “Interfraternity Chapters on campus are greater in number because I feel that the college gives them the publicity and resources to have an unbelievably valuable presence on campus. Meanwhile, our Divine Nine organizations are having a challenging time trying to establish their presence on campus, and we don’t have the same resources NPC’s have to make ourselves known on campus.”
Darren Barnes, new Athletic Trainer and member of Phi Beta Sigma, expressed the importance of having these organizations on campus. “It brings awareness, culture, and leadership to the campus because of our values that don’t end once we graduate. It’s a lifelong commitment.” he states. “It’s priceless anywhere, especially here on campus. Having more of our organizations brings people who can not only give their all to the Jackson and Millsaps Community, but can build more on the community that we have now.”
The efforts to bring in more Divine Nine Fraternities and Sororities to campus remains ongoing, and we have yet to see any additions so far in the spring semester. Will we be seeing any changes soon in regards to historically black sororities and fraternities?