In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.’s Upsilon Epsilon Omega Chapter in Baltimore County, MD and did an interview with Ronicsa Chambers the Basileus of the chapter.
The position of Basileus/president of a Black sorority chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Chambers, who is a manager of Diversity & Inclusion, has served in the position of Basileus for four years.
We interviewed Chambers, who is a Spring 1990 initiate of her sorority, and talked to her about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
It is an honor to serve and work with my Sorors to uplift and empower our community. Being the chapter president is a tremendous responsibility but it allows you to grow personally, professionally and in the sorority. It is exciting and humbling to see your platform and ideas executed and making an impact.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
The Unstoppable Upsilon Epsilon Omega chapter is celebrating 25 years of service to Baltimore County this year and to acknowledge that service, we are conducting 25 Points of Light Service Projects throughout the Baltimore County community. This included activities like a Day of Service in our chartering month, June, with three service projects focusing on women’s health and nutrition, environmental sustainability and support for those in transitional housing. In October, we will host “The Level Up Experience” Women’s Conference. This comprehensive conference experience will have diverse workshops and resources focusing on health and wealth.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha?
My desire to be an Alpha Kappa Alpha woman stems from my interactions with members of the organization as a youth. In addition, when I entered Florida A&M, I found the organization to embody the values, dedication to the community and leadership skills that reflected my personal beliefs.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Unstoppable Upsilon Epsilon Omega chapter is comprised of a diverse group of women that were brought together by the bonds of sisterhood and continue to serve together with energy and excellence. We are the only Alpha Kappa Alpha chapter in Baltimore County and for 25 years we have dedicated ourselves to empowerment and uplift of that community. We are constantly striving to meet the changing needs of the community. In the last five years, we have quadrupled the amount of scholarship funding to the community with unique scholarships for students attending HBCUs, studying abroad, STEM, sitting for the Bar exam and many traditional scholarships. In addition, we hold a Debutante Cotillion annually where each participating young lady receives a scholarship. We often collaborate with community partners and other civic organizations to have more impact in the community. For example, for the last five years we have held a “Prom Dress Giveaway” and last year Macy’s partnered with us to support the event. This event is a signature event of our Teen Ivy Academy (T.I.A) which is a mentoring group located at two schools on different sides of the county to mentor high school girls. Each year we execute an extensive program, social justice and fundraising calendar with the goal of serving our community with unstoppable excellence!
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
Graduate chapters need to have a robust and dynamic public relations plan that includes a comprehensive digital platform. Chapters must be responsive to the changes in digital media and ensure that they are up to date with operations, social media and websites. Upsilon Epsilon Omega launched our Youtube channel this year and we are working diligently to increase our digital footprint.
What does leadership mean to you?
In my world, leadership is a verb, not a title. It is an honor and an entitlement. Even in the most challenging of times, it is a blessing to work with talented, dedicated women with a common goal, to serve. Leadership is often not the visible and lofty things that people think about, I find in the everyday little things that I do with my Sorors. It is the completion of a large project, providing the scholarships, encouraging the challenged woman and answering the call from someone in need. It is not easy, it can at time be consuming, thankless and even stressful but ultimately it can be very rewarding.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard is important as a mechanism to provide information, promote and foster a sense of community with the Divine Nine organizations. We are international organizations, with thousands of members and it is a wonderful resource that focuses on this unique experience that many do not understand.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood is a bond between women that are families of the heart, united together with common goals, values and purpose. It can be rewarding and it can test your soul but at the end of the day, we know we have each other.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Our undergraduate chapters are very important and special to our sisterhood. We support them through mentorship, collaboration and sometimes with funding. Upsilon Epsilon Omega works very hard to support the undergraduate chapter that we supervise and work to ensure that our younger Sorors have a positive impact on their campus. It is also our responsibility, to promote lifelong, active membership.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Ronicsa Chambers for her work as the Basileus of the Upsilon Epsilon Omega Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1994.