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 Nu Alpha Chapter at Emory University and did an interview with Jasmine Walker 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 Walker 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 Human Health & Pre-Med 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?
Being the chapter president of the “Sweet” Nu Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated has been such an awesome experience. It has been an honor to carry on the legacy that our charter members started in 1979 and have opportunities to leave my mark on the chapter and the greater campus community. I have had numerous opportunities to develop my leadership and interpersonal skills, and build relationships with other chapter presidents across the city. I will never take the opportunity to be a member and president of this chapter for granted.
What made you decide to attend the Emory University for undergrad?
I decided to attend Emory University because I wanted to attend a school where I would be challenged but also supported academically and socially. This institution is very rigorous, however, I have received a lot of support from faculty, staff, and other students on campus. I desired to attend a school where I could get involved in the community and take on leadership positions. I have done so by serving as an Emory Student Ambassador, president of a high school mentoring program, community advisor for my sorority’s lodge, and now as chapter president. I also love attending a school in a city like Atlanta. There’s always something to do in the city, a new restaurant to try, or something I just haven’t seen yet. I look forward to checking some of these things off my senior year bucket list!
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
Our service and programs throughout the semester align with our five program targets: HBCU for Life: A Call to Action, Women’s Healthcare and Wellness, Building Your Economic Legacy, The Arts!, and Global Impact. Outside of the regular programs we have on campus, this semester, we are serving as tutors at the Global Village Project in Atlanta. This organization provides personalized educational training to refugee girls as they matriculate through school. They also provide programming and any other resources they may need. Education is so important, and everyone should have access to the resources they need to succeed inside and outside of the classroom. I believe our service with this organization helps build a stronger Atlanta community by increasing education and literacy. Additionally, we are also trying to plan more programming to bring the Emory campus community together, and help students gain access to resources and information they need to succeed. For example, we held a black business expo during the first weeks of school to highlight student entrepreneurs on campus. Events such as these help students find a sense of belonging on campus.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha?
I have always wanted to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha. Many women in my family, family friends, and some of my earliest role models are members of Alpha Kappa Alpha. I have always admired how they carry themselves, the way they treat others, and the work they do in their respective communities within and outside of AKA. My dad’s motto is if everyone is serving, everyone will be served. This is a motto I live by as well. Many of the women who were doing great service in my local communities were women of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and I decided to pledge AKA to do the same. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and work with others to leave a positive impact on the world. I feel a true bond with my sisters in this organization, and it is a blessing I will never take for granted.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
My chapter is very unique because it is smaller than most other chapters, and we are also a historically black organization on a predominately white campus. We are a very close chapter, and all very involved on campus. Our chapter has had a history of its members serving as campus leaders throughout the university, and have gone on to do even bigger and better things across the country. Our chapter also has a lodge (house) on campus, which creates a wonderful space to build a sisterhood and for events.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2018?
I think it’s important to have some form of representation online because of how readily information is available online now. However, it is important that those representations be accurate, appropriate and frequently updated. Having social media pages (Instagram, Twitter, maybe Facebook) is a great way to showcase what your chapter is doing, and keep others updated.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leaders are individuals who help cast visions for a group and help the group accomplish its goals. Leadership means serving as a role model for the group through both thoughts and actions. For example, modeling empathy and effective communication through interactions with group members or other individuals. Leadership is also recognizing when to step back and let others lead who are more knowledgeable or can add a new perspective.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I think it is important to have a space where greeks from across the country can learn about what other chapters of their organization and other organizations are doing in their communities. It is also important to have a space where we can recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of individuals and chapters across the country and the world. Through this medium, we can also learn how we can best support each other.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood is a bond that lasts a lifetime. Sisterhood means always having people you can go to for advice, to cry, to help you study, eat with, and hype you up on Instagram. Sisterhood means having a support system you can always rely on. Sisterhood also means having a group of people you can go to and not be judged for shortcomings and celebrated for your victories. I believe that you should give as much as you take in a sisterhood. The same amount of love, support, and care I get from my sisters, I give right back to them. I’m so thankful for my sisterhood, and the bonds I’ve formed and will continue to form as a woman of Alpha Kappa Alpha.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on going to graduate school to get my Masters in Public Health. Following that, I then plan on going to medical school to become a pediatric cardiologist.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Jasmine Walker for her work as the president of Nu Alpha Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1979.