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 Epsilon Delta Chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and did an interview with Kingsley-Reigne Pissang 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 Pissang 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 Strategic Communications and Reporting double majoring in African American studies 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?
The Epsilon Delta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Inc. was the first undergraduate sorority on UW-Madison’s campus and in the state of Wisconsin, carrying the legacy of style and grace back to 1968. To be a part of such a legacy was already an honor but to be one of the few to call themselves President of such a resilient chapter is a privilege that I’m going to be able to have for a lifetime. Being chapter president has forced me to grow in ways far beyond just calling our meetings to order. It means taking the criticisms and opinions while putting in the extra mile to make sure that chapter business goes a little bit smoother than the semester prior. It means dedicating your time to the small parts of the sorority, the business side… no matter how difficult or frustrating it may be. Being president of my chapter has been one of the most difficult responsibilities that Iâ€™ve had in my undergraduate career. It has taught (and is still teaching) me the privilege of being able to be a part of something so much larger than myself. The biggest aspect of being chapter president really comes down to my sisters entrusting me to run our chapter in the best way possible.
What made you decide to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison for undergrad?
I attend The University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisconsin which is the 25th ranked university in the world, and although it may be a fantastic institution, I had to follow the money. I am a Pre-College Enrichment Opportunity program for Learning Excellence (PEOPLE) scholar which is essentially a tuition scholarship; and although I may have issues with my institution, I will forever be grateful to my scholarship program. PEOPLE has given me some of my best friends, mentors, and it was even my first exposure to greek life. UW-Madison is a great institution but the community that I continue to have through my program has given me more than this campus ever will.
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 really trying to hone in on reaching all of our target initiatives through our programming. Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Inc. is currently under the administration of Exemplifying Excellence through Sustainable Service and Epsilon Delta is crossing events and targets off of our check list. From fundraising for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, honoring the arts through the Harlem Renaissance or spreading awareness about the health of black women in our community, Epsilon Delta is doing it all.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha?
“To cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards” is my favorite part of our purpose, because it resonates back to the lesson of conducting yourself with integrity. Along with the purpose, the targets and initiatives of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Inc. are second to none. I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself with the best people because you are the company you keep. My prophytes were all women that I saw myself in and wanted to be like. Even before I was in the organization, the women in the chapter made so much of a difference around the community and held an aura about them whenever they were in a room. They held each other to a higher standard and were closer in their sisterhood to any other organization I had seen. They were unbothered, genuinely themselves and loved each other out loud, which you don’t see a lot of on our campus.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Epsilon Delta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha is special because of the caliber of women it makes. For 51 years it has set the standard of what it means to be sisters, leaders and trendsetters. Not only do the women of Epsilon Delta strive to be of service while in the chapter but they extend their service well into their careers. From lawyers, nurses, teachers and PhD students… the women are truly a service to all mankind. Also, the love that is displayed in my chapter is unlike any other I have experienced or seen before. Everyone knows that all days in your sisterhood/brotherhood aren’t going to always be the greatest, but never have I felt abandoned, lost or without love. I know that I will always have someone on my team, regardless of my faults. We are all willing to meet each other halfway, the effort and willingness of my sisters is unmatched… which is all that I can ask for.
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 the most important thing for all NPHC organizations to be cognizant of is the impact we can really have on our campuses and beyond. Social media is one of the most powerful tools of our generation and it’s accessible to all, which can be a good and a bad thing. We must be careful of how we use our words, especially with how we form them against each other. If each chapter chooses to uplift other D9 organizations, our community will only continue to prosper. Undergraduate chapters need to see the value amongst one another, whether we wear the same letters or not. The narrative can be positive or negative, it just depends on which one we chose to focus on for the time being. If we are for one another, who can be against us?
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is who you are when no one is watching… It’s the integrity behind your actions which manifest into the person you are destined to become. Being in leadership roles aren’t always easy or at times not even fun, but the impact is so much larger than a temporary feeling. Our organizations and the lives touched by our organizations are so much larger than we often realize. Every person in greek life should be a leader in some way, shape or form, and the seemingly small events that we put on our campuses impact more than just our chapters programming targets. The leaders in this sorority and across the country are all a part of the greater good to help the black community. It takes courage, compassion and love to be able to dedicate your life to service, with or without recognition… but that’s what we’re supposed to do. It’s important to be leaders even when your letters are off, because the world still needs you.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is more than just stroll videos and memes. It’s a public showcase that shows the vision of our founders through social media. Watch The Yard displays the acts of service, the brotherhood/sisterhood, culture as well as helps promotes the causes on which our organizations stand. From educating people about the programs other organizations put on, to rallying behind social justice movements, Watch The Yard cultivates a greek community that expands globally.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Being that I’m an only child, my sisterhood is everything to me. Although we join our organizations because of the service and the initiatives… the sisterhood/brotherhood is what sustains the work. Our sisterhood is built on the trust we have in each other to always want the best for one another. I’m the heart on a line of nine, I can be my honest self around my sisters, rain or shine… and I know that I will never be too heavy for them. From my prophytes to my neos, I am so happy to be a part of this sisterhood, but more importantly this chapter. I want to send this out to the ladies of TransfIXion, y’all ladies see me. Skee -wee… Love y’all!
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
My major is Strategic Communications and Reporting double majoring in African American studies with a minor in Leadership. But I’m not graduating this upcoming May, so I’ve got a little bit more time to think about which route I want to take towards my future. Ideally, upon graduation I want to pursue law school or graduate school to further my degree so that I can open my own Public Relations firm to combat and help alleviate narratives surrounding black people in the media… Think Olivia Pope but without the scandal.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Kingsley-Reigne Pissang for her work as the president of Epsilon Delta Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to May 18th, 1968.