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 Omicron Chi Chapter at Rhodes College and did an interview with Taylor Bass the Basileus/president of the chapter.
The position of president of an undergraduate chapter of a Black fraternity is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. 21-year-old Taylor Bass 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 Psychology 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?
To be the chapter president means that I am ultimately always representing my chapter, sorority, and school in the best way possible. Being president means that I am leading a group of women into the vision of our sorority and even then expounding upon what the foundation of our chapter has already accomplished. As the president it is my job to make this chapter the best it has been yet.
What made you decide to attend the Rhodes College for undergrad?
I decided to attend Rhodes College for undergrad because of many reasons. The first was the financial aid. Rhodes College definitely supports my education financially in which I will be graduating with barely any student loans. I also loved the fact that my school is located in Memphis. Memphis is an amazing city in which there is so much culture and pride. I also attended Rhodes because of the ranking of course! Rhodes College is a great school, educationally, on a national level and I knew for sure that it would be able to connect me to my goals in the future.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
My chapter is starting a mentoring program at a nearby elementary and middle school in Memphis, TN. We are hoping to improve the community with supporting our local black youth. There are so many targets on black youth’s back and we are hoping to be of some support to change the many things that we have to face at such a young age. Although this won’t completely eradicate systemic problems, we hope to be of support and steer the youth in a positive direction. Hopefully our influence will do so!
What made you want to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha?
I joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated for various reasons. One, for a sense of community at a predominantly white campus. Coming from a predominantly black high school it was difficult to find my niche here at Rhodes. National Panhellenic Council organizations gave me that community that I was looking for. People that look like me, have similar goals, are working for similar things. It’s empowering and good to know that I have a safe space no matter what on this campus. Now, out of all of the NPHC organizations, I joined Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated because we are the first black sorority ever created in mankind. While that seems very surface-level there is actually way more meaning to it. Being the first black sorority means that our founders are pioneers. In a time of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, all of the possible “-isms” against black women’s bodies, our founders were strong enough to persist and create a community of their own because nobody wanted them apart of theirs. To me this screams that our organization is committed to making leaders, pioneering into the unknown, and being nothing but the best. Why wouldn’t I want to join?
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Omicron Chi Chapter is unique because we are a chapter on a small predominantly white campus. There aren’t many black students here on our campus. Our NPHC is very small. And, so our chapter is even smaller. My line of three women is currently holding down our chapter right now. While this is very hard and trying, we have made an extreme effort to still do our part to contributing to our sorority’s goals and adhering to the mission. We have still consistently been awarded the Best NPHC Organization on our campus because with just three women we are still the hardest workers here.
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?
In 2019, I think that undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to always be mindful of the effects of their post. You are now connected to thousands of members around the world. You signed up to be a representation of all them. Please don’t be out here embarrassing your great founders who worked hard for you to be where you’re at today.
What does leadership mean to you?
To me, leadership is a person who is committed to bettering the organization that they decided to lead. To be honest, inspiring, intelligent, and stand firm on the beliefs of the organization.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Without Watch The Yard it would be harder to get connected to Black greekdom around the world. I feel as though I can count on Watch The Yard to give me the news, scoop, and anything else that pertains to Black greekdom. It also connects the viewer to all the Black greek organizations and supports members of different organizations to support the Divine 9 altogether and not just your own organization.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means so many things. Sisterhood is being there for your sister no matter what and always having her back. Sisterhood is being that confidant, support system, and just an altogether ride or die. This sisterhood connects you to so many opportunities and people that I am forever grateful for. This is a community that I can depend on no matter where I’m at in the world.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation I plan on getting my Masters in Social Work. I am very much interested in nonprofit work and nonprofit management. I’m hoping to combine my interest in Psychology and Social Work in the future and eventually have my own nonprofit that pertains to my interests and of course helps the communities that I am interested in working with.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Taylor Bass for her work as the president of Omicron Chi Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1989.