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 brothers of Alpha Phi AlphaFraternity Inc.’s Zeta Delta Chapter at Michigan State University and did an interview with Andrei Nichols the 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 Nichols has used the position to gain new leadership experience, improve the lives of other students on campus and help the community around him.
We interviewed the marketing major and talked about his 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?
In life, we seek to emulate those whom we admire and/or aspire to be like. Prior to my Presidency, the brothers within my position have paved the way in which my chapter is perceived and how our legacy is carried out. Being chapter President is more than a title and list of responsibilities, but the privilege and opportunity to further advance the image and reputation of the chapter in which I represent. As chapter President, I am able to display my leadership capabilities, love for the fraternity, and control the perception of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. This opportunity is a true reward and honor.
What made you decide to attend the Michigan State University for undergrad?
Michigan State is one of the schools within Michigan that was far enough away from home, but also close enough to make me feel close to Detroit. Due to its proximity to my hometown, I was surrounded by friends, mentors, and staff that resided from Detroit as well. Along with the family that I was able to find and create at Michigan State, I was awarded a full-ride scholarship. Since the fall of 2016, I have not had to pay for my collegiate academic experience. Lastly, the school spirit and strength within the black community is unparalleled to any other school within Michigan.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
The Zeta Delta Chapter or “The Execution Chapter” of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. is known for our ongoing personalities, confidence, slight arrogance, and ability to perform to the best of our ability with no notice — initiative is automatic! Specific initiatives that my chapter are currently involved with include our latest weekly fitness event created by our current Vice-President, Bro.Craig Harris II, called, “Insane 15”. This was created to fight the stigma behind gaining 15 pounds during your freshman your/1st year of college. African-Americans tend to be the largest minority group who are affected by diabetes, heart failures, and strokes. In order to prevent unhealthy events, we host two mile runs every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30pm at one of our dorms on campus, Brody Hall. In addition, our bi-weekly countable discussions called, “Alpha Talks”, will begin again during the month of October. These discussions cover pertinent issues going on throughout the country, in addition to dialogue that helps stimulate the critical thinking skills of all of our participants.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
On Tuesday, December 4, 1906 at 8:00pm seven men cam together and founded the 1st black greek-lettered inter-collegiate organization. More than 110 years later, I find myself fascinated with the history and continuous work that men throughout the world have done to pave the way for our generation. As a freshman, I was not adequately aware of what greek life, but after attending my first yard show, I was fascinated by the colors, the strolling, and the camaraderie amongst black people. However, one organization stood out more than the others, and they were the men of Black and Old Gold. Upon choosing Alpha as my fate, I was fascinated by the way the men, my now prophetess, carried themselves during all times. Whether it was a social, educational, or community service event, the Alphas were always present, vocal, and a dominant presence. Through research, I found that my personal goals and values aligned with the fraternity, and I chose to pursue the organization during the Spring semester of my freshman year. Bro.Darrius Gregory registered my to vote during my freshman year of college. Bro. John Ambrose assisted me with scholarship findings, and Bro. Jason Malone serving as my personal mentor. Those were a few names of people who influenced my life prior to greekdom, and now men, whom I will call my brothers forever.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
One thing that is unique about my chapter is its ability to prosper through adversity. Alphas have had presence on the campus of Michigan State University since 1948, originally as the Gamma Tau chapter. Re-Chartered in 1998, The Zeta Delta Chapter has had to continue to maintain the legacy of Alpha and regain its dominance as the yard runners! Despite discrimination, low intake years, and other barriers The Zeta Delta Chapter has remained diligent with our strategic planning and Execution, as one of the top organizations on our campus, and high performing undergraduate chapters in the midwest region.
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?
One thing that I believe will help undergraduate chapters’ online presence is having a mindset of, “If my founders were to see my acts on social media would they be pleased”. It all stars with accountability and upholding the values in which we stand for to the best of our ability at all times.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is the process of finding one’s true identity and value they bring towards communities they encounter. Leadership is an ongoing action and always has room for growth and re-development!
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard is important to Black greekdom because it is a specific outlet we have to celebrate and recognize our people and culture on a national level. Watch the Yard has an audience of over 100,000 people throughout the world , so this is maximum exposure and support for students, faculty, business people, staff , etc. all throughout the globe.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
A poem dear to my fraternity’s heart is entitled, “He Aint heavy”. My favorites lines from this piece are, “There is nothing in this whole wide world that we wouldnâ€™t do for one another. Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™d even give my life to save that of my brother. But there are still those in darkness who cannot understand why I share the burden which belongs to another man”.These words truly highlight what brotherhood means to me. It is the genuine feeling of comfort through strength and vulnerability that defines a true bon. Brotherhood to me is undying loyalty, love, and protection amongst other men.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
Upon graduation, I plan to pursue a marketing career for 3-5 years within corporate America. Upon my departure from there, I will work full-time with my own company. I plan to own my own consulting firm that specializes in marketing, brand management and professional development.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Andrei Nichols for his work as the president of Zeta Delta Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1948 (Gamma Tau) / 1998 Re-Charted (Zeta Delta).