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 Iota Mu Chapter at Duke University and did an interview with Kaili Simien 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 Simien 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 Public Policy 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 a chapter president means supporting and pushing my chapter to be the best we can be. I think it is important to challenge the status quo and do more that we have done in previous years. Being a chapter president, of course, means being a good leader and getting business things done, but not forgetting to continue to foster sisterhood.
What made you decide to attend the Duke University for undergrad?
I chose to attend Duke University for undergrad because of the “work hard, play hard” mentality the students have. When looking for a college, I wanted somewhere that would challenge me, but still allow me to have fun (like going to basketball games!).
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
This year our chapter is participating in #CAP, a signature Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc program. Bi-weekly our members go to a school within the Durham community to aid their seniors in the college application process from writing a personal statement to filling out FAFSA. In addition, we are registering students on campus to vote, emphasizing the importance of local elections, as well. We also have a couple of breast cancer awareness events that will take place in October. One will be teaching women how to perform self-examinations.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha?
I wanted to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. because I saw the impact the members on campus were having on our school community, but also within the Durham community. I also loved seeing how dynamic and involved the women were on campus, not just being members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. but members of various student organizations. Also, the goals and values of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. aligned with mine.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Something that makes our chapter unique is that we are always adapting to the needs of our student body and Durham community. We have signature events that our chapter does, but each year we evolve them and make them better. We come up with innovative and dynamic ways to tackle different issues.
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?
I think all chapters should not only have social media accounts and a website online, but interact with different organizations online. For example, chapters should report each other’s accomplishments and engage with one another. I think this is important because then people who may not even know about your organization may see it on another page.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means having a clear vision and bringing that vision to life through the group you are leading. No one can do everything on their own, so leadership means knowing the strengths of everyone you work with and using those to improve the organization you are leading.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard is important to black greekdom because it celebrates the accomplishments of different organizations. I think it is important to have one central website where all members of all organizations can uplift each other.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means having a group of people who are always down for you. They are there to support you in your worst times, but also there to help you celebrate your best times.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to work within the fashion or sports industry doing merchandising or public relations.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Kaili Simien for her work as the president of Iota Mu Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1975.