In an effort to highlight the undergraduate leadership of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., we at Watch The Yard reached out to the fraternity and were put in contact with its Assistant Regional Vice Presidents for interviews.
The position of Assistant Regional Vice President is the highest position undergraduate brothers can hold in the fraternity and is a highly respected role.
Among these Assistant Regional Vice President was Vance Payne, a 22-year-old Fall 2016 initiate of the fraternity’s Omicron Tau Chapter seated at Colorado State University who is the Assistant Regional Vice President of the Western Region which is made up of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, and Arizona.
We talked to the Mechanical Engineering major and Spanish minor about his position and goals.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be an Assistant Regional Vice President to you?
Being the Assistant Regional Vice President is truly a humbling and honoring opportunity.
I love my fraternity and this position offers a way for me to serve the fraternity at the regional and national levels. It is humbling because there are so many great brothers that I have been able to work with and learn from. It is honoring because those brothers have out their faith in me to serve in this role. This role is very important to me because I carry the voice of college brothers as well as alumni brothers. It also means that I make decisions that have an impact on all brothers.
What are the specific initiatives you are working on this year in your region?
In my region, I am taking a specific focus on our national program, A Voteless People is A Hopeless People. I believe that voting and political engagement is central to our success as a people. I am also working with an initiative called project story book to bring coloring books for youth that depict strong historical figures.
What are you doing this year to specifically support the undergraduate chapters that you represent?
This year I am preparing workshops to develop the skills that will help college brothers in the future. These workshops will take place during our Western Region Leadership Academy as well as our Western Region Convention. Specifically, I hope to further empower college brothers through leadership, financial literacy, and chapter sustainability
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
I first became interested in Alpha Phi Alpha because I saw the brotherhood and excellence that my prophytes demonstrated on campus. After looking into Alpha and other organizations further, it became clear that Alpha was the right fit for me. I very much align my life to service, scholarship, empowering our communities, and excellence, all of which I saw in Alpha.
What is it about your region that makes it so unique in Alpha?
Our region is unique because although we have the largest landmass with the fewest brothers, we are still able to make an impact on our communities and fraternity as a whole.
One example of our impact in the community is the work and life of Brother Ronald Dellums who was an outstanding activist and the first African-American Congressman from Northern California.
In what ways have you experienced mentorship from alumni brothers as a Assistant Regional Vice President?
In this role I have experienced a tremendous amount of guidance and mentorship. Every step of the way I have received the tools and knowledge I need to be successful. Brothers on the board of directors have helped me develop personally and professionally.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2018?
I think chapters should really consider what brand they want to present online. The digital age is unique because you control what is put out there but once it is out there, there’s no taking it back. That’s why being intentional about how you represent yourself and your organization is important. Chapters should develop specific DO’s and DON’Ts to keep that brand/standard consistent.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I think Watch The Yard is important because it provides a positive platform for organizations to express and represent themselves. It keeps the culture alive in a relevant and fun way. It demonstrates the successes of individuals and organizations which is important to building the brand of these organizations.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood to me is very much a practice. It is caring for those you call brother, no matter what they are going through or what your situation is. It is about being there to support each other but also holding each other accountable. It means that you always have someone with you to get you through life’s struggles or to push you towards your goals.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to enter the work force. Hopefully as in the Aerospace industry working as a mechanical engineer. My plan from there is to support my mom and allow her to stop working. She has worked her whole life to support me and my siblings and deserves to finally rest.
We at Watch The Yard would like to thank Vance Payne and the brothers at Alpha Phi Alpha including Henry A. Stewart, the fraternity’s Chief Communications Officer, for making this interview possible.
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