‘Divine Nine’ to kick off NHPC week

Photo credit: Dayday Wynn

By Joy Moton | Staff Writer

The National Pan-Hellenic Council is hosting National Pan-Hellenic Council Week beginning Tuesday night with Greek 101, an event designed to inform students about what it is like to be in a black Greek letter organization at Baylor. Members of the four black Greek letter organizations on Baylor’s campus will have a panel discussion to dispel myths and truth about Greek life and answer questions from prospective members.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council is an organization comprising nine historically black sororities and fraternities that are often call the “Divine Nine.”

“Those who are interested in joining a Divine Nine organization will have the opportunity to socialize with members of each of the active organizations here on Baylor’s campus, learn interest etiquette and much more,” said Edmond, Oka., senior Tonia Rhone, vice president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

Wednesday will have a Hump Day event where members of the council will stroll in the Bill Daniel Student Center Den. Strolling is when members of the organizations line up and move forward as they do the same dance motions. The culture of strolling began when the Divine Nine organizations were founded and is strong on historically black college campuses.

“While being Greek is a big-time commitment and a lot of work, we also like to have fun,” said Dallas junior Sydney Thompson, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. “Strolling further unifies each organization and allows us to display the fun but still challenging side of Greek life.”

The members of the council are also excited to host a fundraising skate night that has not traditionally been a part of the week. The money raised will go toward a National Pan-Hellenic scholarship for a Baylor student.

“Part of black Greek culture is scholarship because many of us utilize event planning skills such as forming study nights on various days to encourage non-Greek students to partake in educational enrichment,” said New York junior Elissa Arthur, president of the Pi Mu chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.

The week will end with a unified community service event where the organizations will join together to give back to the community at Good Neighbor, a faith-based organization that creates a safe place for individuals, families and groups.

“Community service serves as a staple of all organizations within NPHC,” said Houston junior Darnelle Desvignes, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. “As minority groups, we understand that many communities, especially in Waco, need help to continue to perpetuate, and it is our responsibility to give back and continue to contribute in any way possible.”

Black Greek life comes with a significant history that has impacted the way things are today. Figures in African-American history such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou were part of Divine Nine organizations.

“Having these organizations offers an opportunity for students to continue the legacy of the organization and help become a change in their communities,” said Kathleen, Ga., junior Eriq Hardiman, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council hopes to continue spreading its unique culture and initiatives throughout Baylor’s campus, Rhone said.

“It is important to have black Greek life on Baylor’s campus because of its rich history and its role in fostering diversity among student organizations,” Rhone said. “The sisterhood and brotherhood found within the Divine Nine sororities and fraternities, respectively, is simply unmatched.”