In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.’s Tau Beta Sigma Chapter in Savannah, GA and did an interview with Deion Williams the President of the chapter.
The position of president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Williams, who works as a Greek Life Coordinator, has been in the position of president of his chapter for 3 years.
We interviewed Williams, who is a Fall 2010/Savannah State University initiate of his fraternity and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?
I wanted to continue to build on the legacy that past presidents created and I saw it as an opportunity to impact change.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the local community or the broader Black community?
This year we decided to focus on our brotherhood and the advancement of brothers in our community and state. We hosted our first Men’s Health Summit in June which introduced Black doctors and health providers in the Savannah area to 80 participants. This initiative is the introduction to many other health forums that we will host throughout the year to educate people about health disparities among African Americans in the southeastern region of the United States. In addition, we will host our annual gala which the proceeds go towards the Sigma Foundation which provides scholarships and educational opportunities to members of the Sigma Beta Club and students in the Savannah area.
What made you want to pledge Phi Beta Sigma?
I pledged Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. because I believed in the principles of the organization. My undergraduate chapter, Gamma Zeta, at Savannah State University was highly engaged on campus. It wasn’t about being the most hype organization but doing the work needed on campus and in the community.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
We call ourselves “The Blue Collar chapter”. Many of our chapter members are recent college graduates or new career professionals without the extensive experience in Greekdom and or their careers which you may find in memberships in many graduate chapters. We provide opportunities for those members to work in the community which allow us to serve as a brotherhood while building their skills, network and reputation in the Savannah area.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
We advise two undergraduate chapters and fellowship with as any other active brothers. We spend the time keeping them updated with fraternity news. But, we also encourage them to find a way to engage with us in our community events or during our chapter outings. It is our hope that those that remain in the area are bonded with the brotherhood enough to feel motivated to join our chapter after graduating.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
I had a vision to engage all brothers, no matter the age. During the pandemic I felt our chapter’s brotherhood was affected because of social distancing, so in 2021 I created “Brotherhood month” Brotherhood Month engages each brother by doing an activity they enjoy or focuses on strengthening the brotherhood. For 30 days, we charge our brothers to build relationships with one another and to check in on those that are sick and shut in or ones that have gone inactive over time. Today, our membership roster has 83 active members.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your fraternity/sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Take your time to get to know the organization by working within every committee in your chapter. Seek mentorship from previous leaders and prepare yourself to face hard criticism. Make sure you listen to your chapter’s need and wants.
How has mentorship helped you get to where you are today? Are there any specific people in your org who have made a significant impact on your life as mentors?
I wouldn’t be a Sigma man without the brothers that mentored me. I appreciate brothers like Moncello Stewart, Brian Dawsey, Dean Chambers, Domonic Ross. These brothers seen something instilled me that they didn’t taking the time out to mentor me.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard as a medium for Black Greeks and culture shines a light on the organizations that we don’t often see on local or national news. Often, students in Greek life organizations do not receive recognition on their college campuses. This source provides a platform for those student members to be celebrated and acknowledged for their accomplishments. Watch The Yard promotes unity and strength in the culture.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. has made me a better person. The organization has placed me spaces that I would of never fathomed in being in. I love the bond of our brotherhood. No matter where I go, when I meet a brother, he treats me like a brother. My chapter members may give me a headache but at the end of the day, I know my brothers will stand beside me.
Lastly, what does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood is a group of like minded individuals that strive to work together to achieve a common goal. BUT Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. are constitutionally bound. As a true representation of brotherhood and sisterhood, we know that we can call on one another when in need. We are lifelong friends. We serve together. And we grow together.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Deion Williams for his work as the President of the Tau Beta Sigma Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1933.
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