In an effort to highlight the young leaders who are leading undergraduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.’s Pi Chapter at Fisk University and did an interview with Brooklyn Lindsey Sims the Basileus/president of the chapter.
The position of president of an undergraduate chapter of a Black sorority is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. 21-year-old Sims has used the position to gain new leadership experience, improve the lives of other students on campus and help the community around her.
We interviewed the Biology major and talked about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold a leadership on campus in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
To know that my sisters entrusted me to be their president is an honor. Being the president of a single letter chapter, at such an illustrious university, has been nothing short of rewarding. Through serving as chapter president, I have increased my time-management skills and learned to delegate. Although I serve as the executive spokesperson of the chapter, I believe that my position does not serve higher importance than any of my sister’s place within the chapter. I show equal respect to all of my sisters when performing my duties, and I hold myself accountable to the same rules and regulations. I am so grateful that my chapter gave me this opportunity to serve, and I do not take this position lightly.
What made you decide to attend the Fisk University for undergrad?
I knew that I wanted to attend an HBCU because all of my life, I have been the minority. I wanted to be at a school where I did not have to work twice as hard for validation, and where I could grow into the best version of myself. My decision to attend Fisk University was intentional in preparation for transition to Meharry Medical Collegeâ€™s School of Dentistry. Fisk University is one of the top HBCUs in the nation and is widely known for its biological sciences, so I knew it was the right choice for me.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
My chapter will continue to serve our campus and surrounding community by implementing programs under our international theme of “Exemplifying Excellence Through Sustainable Service.” We have increased voter registration, mentored local high school students, educated women on health and wellness, taught students how to build their economic legacy, promoted black arts, and collected shoes for Soles4Souls. Through our programs, we have registered more students to vote and helped high school students apply to college while promoting HBCUs. Young women on campus are becoming more conscious of what they consume in the cafeteria and learning how to budget their money when eating out. Through our donations and volunteer work with Soles4Souls, sustainable jobs are being created and relief is provided through the distribution of shoes.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha?
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, has a long history of innovative, professional women. Although the sorority was founded over 110 years ago, the missions and values still hold true today. Alpha Kappa Alpha women are impacting communities all around the world through our service to all mankind. As a little girl, I observed the Alpha Kappa Alpha women that attended my church. They carried themselves with such grace and dignity, and I knew I wanted to be a woman of high stature when I was of age. The graduate chapter was very active, and they mentored and provided service throughout our community. In middle school, I became a junior debutante, and in high school, I became a debutante. Those same women that I observed in church groomed me into the young lady that I am today. They taught us how to carry ourselves with elegance and poise and to lead by example. I knew that I wanted to be a part of this distinguished sorority and one day impact young, black girls like I was impacted.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
What makes my chapter unique is that we are the first undergraduate chapter in the South Eastern region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. My chapter will be celebrating our 100th anniversary in two years, and we couldn’t be more excited. Our chapter has withstood the test of time. Notable initiates from our chapter include Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, representing Florida’s 24th district and Hazel R. O’Leary the seventh United States Secretary of Energy, the only African American to hold the position.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
The digital world allows the campus community and general public to learn more about our organizations and view our programs. I think organizations should be mindful when posting because once something is posted, it is there forever. Undergraduate chapters should display the work that the chapter is putting in before displaying the social, fun aspects of greek life.
What does leadership mean to you?
To me, leadership means to show by doing and encouraging others to be better, to create a coherent and cohesive environment. A good leader is one who can lead from the back or amongst the crowd, not having to be in the forefront. Leaders build excellence and accomplish this by first building character. John Quincy Adams once said, â€œIf your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.â€ I believe that I am only as good as the people that I represent. Leadership first includes creating a vision. You first have to visualize the future; then the leadership may be proactive. A leader must first possess qualities before gaining followers. The leader then leads alongside the group to make sure the vision comes to fruition. A leader is not a manager, and leadership is not management. A leader has people follow them while a manager has people who work for them.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard showcases black greeks in a positive light. It provides a platform for black greek organizations to highlight our accomplishments and community involvement. Watch The Yard is important because it is committed to celebrating the diversity, achievements, and significance of black culture.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means love without limitation. We support and celebrate one another no matter what the situation may be. Sisterhood is about appreciating each other’s differences and respecting them. It is a family that will stand with you and encourage you. A sister is that person that will stay up late with you before a test, give you advice, listen through your tough moments, and laugh with you until your stomach hurts. But most importantly, sisterhood does not only encompass what these individuals will do for you, but what you will be able to contribute to the chapter as a unique individual.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After obtaining my degree in Biology from Fisk University, I will be attending dental school. After dental school I eventually want to open a private practice, “Sims’ Smiles.” I want to have the same mentorship with young, black women as I was afforded. I want students to know that they can graduate from historically black colleges and universities and still be world-renowned doctors. I want to provide dental care to marginalized communities in order to diminish healthcare disparities.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Brooklyn Sims for her work as the president of Pi Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1921.