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 Alpha Chapter at Howard University and did an interview with Paige Hodges 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 Hodges 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?
Serving as the Basileus of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Alpha Chapter is an honor and a privilege, as well as a dream come true. I am responsible for maintaining the rich legacy of sorors who came before me, and I am blessed to lead sorors in impacting both the Howard University and the Washington D.C. communities. In any and every capacity I can, I strive to bring out the best in each of my chapter sorors and turn their passion for things like business, the arts, and community service into innovative programs and projects. While doing this, I make sure that all that we do fulfils the mission and purpose of our organization: to be of service to all mankind. Helping sorors utilize their passions and talents to carry out the mission of our organization reminds me why I am fortunate to hold this position.
What made you decide to attend the Howard University for undergrad?
After coming to multiple Howard University Homecomings as a child, I knew that the Mecca was the place for me. The energy was infectious, the amount of black beauty was breathtaking, and the fellowship between generations of Howard Alumni was a beautiful and remarkable sight to see. For college, I knew that I wanted to be surrounded by black scholars and black excellence. After touring the institution and seeing the Yard on a sunny first Friday of the month, I knew that there was no better place for that than Howard University.
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 aspires to host programs and events aligning with each one of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s International Targets: HBCU for Life, Women’s Health Care and Wellness, Building Your Economic Legacy, The Arts, and Global Impact. Hosting a wide variety of events and community service projects correlating to the targets allows Alpha Chapter to have a large and diverse impact on both our campus and surrounding community. We have already hosted two programs entitled “From Us To You” and “Sister to Sister” correlating to the international target HBCU for Life, and we collected over 250 pairs of shoes for the international target Global Impact. Here at Alpha Chapter, we are excited for the programs and community service events to come that both fall within the international targets and cater to our community.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha?
As a child, I never truly fathomed why my mother made me wear stockings under the itchy crinoline of my dresses, love others even when it was not reciprocated, and carry out all of my actions with intentionality and excellence; however, as I progressed through middle school and high school, participated in community service projects, and tried my best to emulate the poise, beauty, and excellence of my mother, I discovered my own personal passion for education and service. Ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated served as role models to whom I felt both drawn and connected. As I observed some of the most influential ladies in my life, including my mother, selflessly serve their communities in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, they taught me that there is much more underlying this organization than even sisterhood. Sacrifice and selflessness are supported by love and encouragement, and both the struggles and the benefits reaped from serving others establishes and cultivates the bond formed amongst the ladies of this great organization. Lovely ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated embody the scholar, sister, and woman that I constantly aspire to be.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The illustrious Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated is the genesis of Black Greekdom among black college women. This aspect of our history makes our chapter extremely special. It is a privilege and a blessing to be initiated into the first chapter of our sorority chartered by the founders of our organization. As my sorors and I host programs, perform community service, and strive to serve as role models to those around us, we maintain the legacy of both our prophytes and our founders who walked the same grounds of Howard University.
Also, Alpha Chapter is home to many notable members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated such as: Lucy Diggs Slowe, Toni Morrison, Phyilica Rashad, Roxie Roker, and Kamala Harris. Even to this day, alumnae of Alpha Chapter remain committed to upholding the highest ideals of scholarship, leadership, service, and exemplary character.
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?
Living in a digital world, social media provides undergraduate chapters with a platform to showcase their history, community service projects, programs, and activities. Chapters should utilize Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms to provide people with an idea of who they are and what they do in their communities.The impact chapters have on those around them can be seen by other chapters, their community, and individuals across the nation. Chapters can also utilize social media to highlight accomplishments of individuals in their chapter, as well as other members of their organization excelling in their respective fields. Social media has the ability to highlight how multifaceted and impactful members of an organization are.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is not simply completing tasks and getting things done. Leadership is drawing on the strengths and passions of each and every person to assist them in becoming the best versions of themselves. This maximizes the chapter’s productivity and impact. Also, perspective and passion, along with empathy and compassion, are qualities I strive to exude as a servant leader. A leader caters to the needs and desires of her peers and her community, so I keenly listen to those around me and attempt to effectively implement change.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard utilizes Greek history, current events, and traditions such as stepping and strolling to showcase the best of both black greekdom and the black community. Watch the Yard does a beautiful job of demonstrating the impact black Greek life has on college campuses across the nation, as well as their surrounding communities. The articles engage people in Greek organizations, people interested in these organizations, and people simply trying to learn more about what they are and what we do. Also, Watch the Yard maintains an aesthetic and a sense of humor that makes people excited to see their posts. It highlights the perpetuity of Greek organizations and how they continue to carry out the traditions and missions upon which the organizations were founded.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood equates to sacrifice and selflessness accompanied by love and encouragement. My sisters and I make sacrifices for one another, we support one another, and we love each other unconditionally. Also, because my sisters’ talents and passions are so diverse, we help each other grow in capacities we did not know we could grow. My line sisters and my prophytes are one of my biggest support systems, they drive me to be the best version of myself, and they remind me that I am loved. The laughs and the memories I have with them are priceless to me, and I am excited for all of the experiences and memories to come. The reason why I am the person and lady that I am today is because of this sisterhood.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I aspire to attend dental school and practice dentistry wherever God takes me. I also hope to conduct research regarding the correlations between oral hygiene and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Paige Hodges for her work as the president of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Alpha Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1908.