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 Xi Beta Chapter at Stanford University and did an interview with Evan Michelle Miller 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 Miller 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 communications 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?
I take my role as the President of the Xi Beta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. very seriously. As President, I am responsible for leading our chapter in building upon the rich legacy of academic excellence, unwavering sisterhood, and impactful service that members of Xi Beta have worked to foster since 1981. I do not take this opportunity lightly, and am thankful each day for the bonds that have been forged and the difference that our chapter has been able to make through this work.
What made you decide to attend the Stanford University for undergrad?
Stanford has been universally recognized as a bastion of excellence in higher learning for almost 150 years. During my time at Stanford, which is now drawing to a close as I approach my graduation in 2020, I have had invaluable opportunities for exposure and growth, both professionally and personally. I chose Stanford because I felt confident that a Stanford education would equip me with the skills necessary to not only excel in my chosen career path, but furthermore, to go forth and make a lasting impact on the world, and I believe that I chose well.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
Xi Beta will continue to engage in service and programming that aligns with the national targets of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., including “Building your Economic Legacy” and “Women’s Health and Wellness.” We also look forward to continuing several of the chapter’s signature service efforts, such as donating to the Ecumenical Hunger Program in nearby East Palo Alto and organizing the donation of Christmas gifts to children in need through the Family Giving Tree. We are confident that these efforts will contribute to the betterment of our community by empowering those around us.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha?
I grew up surrounded by women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. As such, I had the opportunity to see firsthand the lives that they were able to touch through their service and witness the richness of their sisterhood. Furthermore, each of these Alpha Women poured into my own life and upbringing in such a significant way. They embodied, and continue to embody, the purpose and principles of our illustrious sorority in the most admirable manner. They are true leaders and trailblazers. I wanted to continue this legacy of excellence through service and sisterhood that my mother, my aunties, and my cousins began in our family and impact the next generation in the same way that they impacted me.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
For nearly forty years, the Xi Beta Chapter has served as a true example of how members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. excel in all endeavors. On numerous occasions, Xi Beta has been awarded for having the highest chapter GPA of undergraduate chapters within the Far Western Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and in the recent past, members of Xi Beta have held office at the national level of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Members of Xi Beta are involved on campus in unique and fulfilling ways. Our chapter is comprised of class presidents, varsity athletes, and engineers, and former Xi Beta members have gone on to positively impact the world through both their service and their careers. And we do all of this while remaining staunchly committed to providing supreme service to the Stanford community, the Bay Area, and beyond.
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?
Regardless of the organization, it is important for all undergraduate chapters to remember that we not only represent ourselves, but our organizations more broadly. It is important to be conscious about how you choose to represent your organization’s brand online, especially in this digital age. Social media or other online platforms may be the first and only place that people interact with and learn about our organizations, so we should always strive to represent ourselves well. I believe that these online platforms can be great tools when used appropriately and effectively for highlighting service initiatives or achievements of chapter members, for example.
What does leadership mean to you?
I am a big proponent of servant leadership. In my opinion, leadership is not about a title or power. Leadership should be about how you can serve those with whom you work and inspire them to excel. In all of my leadership roles, I strive to be empathetic yet effective, and I always do my best to remain positive in the face of adversity. It is my hope that through the example that I set through my leadership, I will inspire the next leaders to go forth and be great.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important because it shines such a positive light on the Black Greek community. In addition to the step shows and strolls, Watch The Yard never fails to highlight the service that our organizations engage in and the difference that we are able to make in our communities as a result. For those who are less familiar with Black greekdom, Watch The Yard is an excellent resource for demonstrating what our organizations are really all about. And even for those of us who are members of these organizations, Watch The Yard provides a platform for us to connect and share the work that we are doing, the importance of which should not be overlooked.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
To me, sisterhood is truly a lifelong bond. The sisterhood that I have found through Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is sincere and enduring. I know that I can call on not only my line sisters, but any soror that I know, in a time of need and trust that they will be there for me without question and without even expecting anything in return. We really do help each other! We laugh together, we cry together, and we grow together, and I know that we will continue to do so for life. That is hard to find in other places, so this sisterhood really means the world to me.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I am currently in the process of applying to several MBA programs. I look forward to enrolling in one of these programs following my graduation from Stanford in June of 2020 and continuing my involvement in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. at the graduate level.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Evan Miller for her work as the president of Xi Beta Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1981.