Leadership Highlight: Booker Farrior the President of Alpha Phi Alpha at Georgia Tech
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 Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s Nu Mu Chapter at Georgia Tech and did an interview with Booker Farrior 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 Booker Farrior 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 Electrical Engineering major and talked about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold a leadership position on campus in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
Serving in a leadership position as president of the Nu Mu chapter has been both a rewarding and humbling experience! It epitomizes the meaning of accountability and requires that I hold myself and my chapter brothers to a higher standard. If I am to lead the best and brightest on campus I must ensure that I am always on task and at my best. As chapter president I am fortunate enough to lead leaders by bringing out the best qualities of my brothers. The opportunity to guide the chapter in doing the work of Alpha to the best of our ability has been one of my greatest pleasures as an undergrad.
What made you decide to attend Georgia Tech for undergrad?
When I was applying to colleges, I knew that I wanted to a attend a university with an excellent academic rigor, many career placement opportunities, strong school spirit, and access to a major city without necessarily being a city school; Georgia Tech satisfied all these requirements and more. When I visited Georgia Tech for a school tour I was completely blown away by both the accomplishments of the students and the types of technology and opportunities that students were able to take advantage of. Tech is also very diverse, another important factor to me. The large international presence at Tech was great to see, as it is the people that make the institution and the college experience worthwhile. When I was awarded the Provost scholarship attending the school became financially feasible and my decision was made.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
Every year, our chapter, along with the Student Government Association and other supporting organization, hosts Wreck the Vote, an event where we pass out flyers, stickers, and pamphlets, and register students to vote. This year we wanted to do even more to encourage people to be more politically active and so we added a Voter education component. We additionally partnered with the Comedy Resistance, and Future Successors to provide information on midterm vs national elections, the ballot, voter suppression techniques, and major issues pertaining to the elections. The Comedy Resistance also performed separate stand-up comedy skits emphasizing the importance of voting within their acts. I believe that this event especially going forward will help the Georgia Tech community understand the complexities of American Politics in a much more digestible way.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
When I arrived on campus, the Alphas were the ones hosting events that inspired change across campus and a forward thinking mindset. They were the Fraternity reaching out to the underclassmen and helping us become acclimated to the culture and rigor of Georgia Tech. All of these men set an example of excellence and achievement that I knew I wanted to emulate: this solidified my desire to become a member. In addition to the direct interaction I’ve had with the men of the Fraternity, who have served as incredibly helpful and humble mentors to me, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. paved the way for other Black Greek organizations in the same manner that I paved the way for my younger brother and sister to excel. As the oldest and the first of my siblings to go to college, I must set the example for them and I strongly feel that the organization that exemplifies this ideology the most is Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
I believe one of the things that makes the Nu Mu chapter so unique is the fact that we attend an institution where cutting edge technology is at the tips of our fingers, and thus, we are able to take advantage of our connection to STEM in many ways. We’ve been able to participate in community service projects like super science day, where we expose elementary school students to STEM via exciting science projects. We’ve also been able to leverage our connection to the Georgia Tech Society of Black Engineers (GTSBE) by hosting Scholarship Sunday, a biweekly event where we provide a study space, food, and a scholarship to lucky student. Lastly, we were able to leverage our technical talent and take our Alpha week themes to the next level through our phiOS Alpha Week theme, a play on Apple’s operating system, iOS. We had Siri preform in a rap cypher to introduce all the events like women’s self-defense, stroll like an alpha, and dress for success, as apps on an iPhone. I believe that our ability to utilize our creativity, leverage our STEM knowledge, adhere to our tradition of scholarship and community impact, all while attending one of, if not, the most challenging universities in the state of Georgia makes my chapter unique.
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?
Once something is put out on the internet, it is essentially impossible to get rid of. Chapters across the board need to adhere to the guidelines laid out by their respective national organizations to ensure that they represent their organizations and chapters in the best way possible. Everyone should be cognizant of how social media presence can shape public perception about our organizations and should be knowledgeable about the implications of our actions on social media. The emphasis on proper representation is especially important for my chapter as I attend a PWI where many people may not have the best understanding or perception of Black Greek letter organizations.
What does leadership mean to you?
My philosophy on effective leadership is that a good leader should be able to make an effective impact in any situation. This means being able to lead from the front, or having the ability to lead by example; leading from the back as a source of encouragement for those around you as you push them past their comfort zone to stimulate growth; leading side-by-side as you tackle challenges and unfamiliar territory together and in step; and lastly, having the wisdom to know which style the situation calls for. It also means having the maturity and understanding to adapt to the working style and pace of each individual member of the group and making sure that you and those around you grow as a result.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I believe that Watch The Yard is an excellent platform that highlights all of the positive impact that Black greekdom can have on all of our communities. It is interactive, entertaining, and allows various chapters of our respective organizations to put their best foot forward and show off the success, accomplishments and accolades. I feel like it brings every organization together and shows off how great we can all be.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood is a blessing. Brotherhood, to me, is the knowledge that I always have someone in my corner. It means having a worldwide, distinguished network of men who have dedicated themselves to the ideals of manly deeds, scholarship and love for all mankind. It means that, at a moment’s notice, I can call on one of them for anything whether it be guidance, support, mentorship, or just to chill – and that I can do the same in return. Brotherhood is friendship and fellowship and represents is the pride and solidarity I feel because I am actively contributing to and uplifting something much larger than myself.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After attaining my B.S. in Electrical Engineering, I plan on pursuing a Masters in Electrical Engineering, and/or a Masters in Business Administration to continue to increase my knowledge. I plan to leverage my degrees and work experience to work for a company where I can further explore telecommunications, computer systems, and embedded systems and their intersections with business. I aim to apply my technical and business expertise to become a senior leader with a large technology company or consulting firm.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Booker Farrior for his work as the president of Nu Mu Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1977.
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