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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

NPHC hosts month of programming, showcases chapters’ legacy, unity

Jennifer Igbonoba | Staff Photographer
Two members of the Mu Delta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. perform for onlookers in Potomac Square at the NPHC’s “Yard Show and Cook Out” event in late April.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council at GW launched a month of programming on campus in April to celebrate the legacy of their organizations.

Members of seven historically Black Greek Letter Organizations under the NPHC, also known as the Divine Nine, and Andrea Davis, the NPHC adviser, hosted six events throughout the month, including a mixer and tour of the NPHC townhouse and an NPHC alumni panel. Roy Montgomery, the director of Student Involvement and Leadership in the Office of Student Life, said the goal of the month was to educate students who were curious about NPHC chapters, expand the groups’ outreach and celebrate their members and contributions to creating a “vibrant” campus community.

He said the seven campus NPHC chapters collaborated to throw the events, with each council executive board member acting as the “point person” for planning one or two of the events.

“The council also wanted to extend their reach and impact by having individuals that often did not engage with NPHC come out to events, make new and meaningful connections with others and ultimately have marginalized students understand that there are spaces for them that provide community and support,” Montgomery said in an email.

The month consisted of six total events split evenly between the middle and last part of April, with soul food staples like macaroni and cheese at some events. The month of programming culminated with the “Yard Show and Cook Out” in the last week of April, where more than 100 people socialized and ate food in Potomac Square while watching members put on performances that combined dance routines like stroll — synchronized dances to the beat and rhythm of songs — and step — the creation of a beat with one’s body.

Montgomery said this was the first year the NPHC did “intentional” programming during the month of April due to members’ schedules and the council’s decision to host the Yard Show. Montgomery said while the NPHC’s “signature program” is the annual step show — a more formal, indoor version of a yard show — with the last one held in 2020, the council decided not to hold it this year because of issues with logistics and members’ availability.

“This year, three NPHC chapters held new member presentations in April, so it made sense for the council to program around those dates so that the campus community could look forward to an NPHC event at least once a week in April,” Montgomery said.

The NPHC kicked off the month of programming with an education session led by chapter leaders about the history, mission and notable members of the organizations. Members of the NPHC hosted a townhouse mixer to give people a glimpse of what it’s like living in the council’s townhouse on 23rd Street by showing attendees some of the members’ rooms and socializing with residents. Members organized a business-attire clothing drive the next day and invited GW alum Imani Ross, who spoke about how to dress professionally.

NPHC alumni spoke at a panel April 27, where they discussed their time at GW as a member of the NPHC and life after college in their respective career paths, followed by the Yard Show two days after and a community brunch for NPHC members the following day.

Junior Brianna Taylor, the president of the Mu Delta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., said the NPHC wanted to end the programming with the Yard Show because of its notability in NPHC culture, but begin with the education session to establish the historical significance of the organizations.

“We wanted to end off with something that everybody really knows us for, that is fun, that is exciting, but also making sure that we’re starting off with the history of our work,” Taylor said. “Our service is why our organizations are even here.”

Taylor said the business-attire clothing drive taught members how to dress professionally because of the relationship between Black people and the pressure for non-white people to adhere to Eurocentric professionalism standards and to address their community’s potential lack of access to business clothing.

“We wanted to talk about Black people’s relationship to clothes and respectability politics and business, and how a lot of us don’t necessarily have access to professional business clothes and things like that and really open up the opportunity to give that back to the community,” Taylor said.

Taylor said she enjoyed collaborating with other organizations within the NPHC to plan the month because it was a fun opportunity to work with friends from different organizations despite some misconceptions that the organizations rival or dislike each other.

“I feel like people from the outside think that because we’re in different organizations that we all hate each other or that we can’t work together,” Taylor said. “Which is why I’m like, no, we have this council that bonds all of us together that regardless of what we decide to do personally in terms of our individual organization, we have the ability to all work together.”

Senior Kamiah Brown, the secretary of the Mu Beta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., said the planning and programming of the month was collaborative without a specific organization dominating a particular event and that working with the different organizations was like “talking to a huge family” because of their shared membership under the NPHC.

“We are all underneath the Divine Nine,” Brown said. “I think we sense within all our organizations, we have the same goal of providing services to the GW community, specifically to the African American community as well.”

Sophomore Zion Strickland, the president of the Delta Theta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., said the goal of the month was to increase the bond between people in Greek life and non-Greek life affiliated students to understand how the organizations operate.

“That’s why NPHC month is so valuable to us, and I feel like it should be to the community because it’s just a month of straight outreach and information,” Strickland said.

Senior Jehan Pitt, a member of the Nu Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., said at a predominately white institution, the numbers of NPHC members are “dwindling” compared to the Multicultural Greek Council and Interfraternity Council, which emphasizes the importance of the organizations running the month together.

Pitt said he wants to use the “momentum” built from NPHC month to maintain students’ engagement with the council as the next academic year approaches.

“People don’t have to be a member of my organization, but I definitely would love to say ‘Hey, the events that we worked on made GW a little better for some people,'” Pitt said.

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