In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota and did an interview with Carlos D. Sneed the President of the Gamma Xi Lambda Chapter.
The position of president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Sneed, who is a college student affairs administrator, has served in the position of president of his chapter for a year and a half.
We interviewed Sneed, who is a Spring 2015 initiate and talked to him about his 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?
Serving as president of Gamma Xi Lambda Chapter means that the world to me. It means that my brothers (most of whom have many more years in the Fraternity) respect, honor, and have entrusted me with leading one of the 700-plus chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Incorporated. Leading a chapter of Alpha means that my brothers have faith in my leadership and vision for moving the Chapter forward. It means that I have the opportunity to work with, learn from, rub shoulders with and be inspired by men of standard who have made stronger as a leader, man and brother.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
This year, we will continue to build upon the success of our 28-year old signature program ACT/SAT Preparatory Program as well as our Project Alpha, Adopt-a-Teacher Initiative, March of Dimes event, male empowerment series, and voter education programs through our “A Voteless People is a Hopeless People” initiative. These program support members of community in the areas of youth development, community uplift and service, men’s health and development, and political awareness and activism.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
I wanted to be a part of a brotherhood, a coalition of men committed to improving our communities, mentoring our youth, standing up to social injustice and developing stronger men. I had a reached a point in my career where I realized that I need to link arms with other men committed to the same personal and civic values, principles aspirations and goals. As a college administrator, I excelled at building supportive networks and communities for students, but had to face the reality that I did not have this in my own personal life. I created for others the very thing that I did not have for myself.
In 2018, I returned to my desire of becoming an Alpha, a dream that I had not forgotten but had put n the back burner to proceed professional success.
Pursuing membership in Alpha through Gamma Xi Lambda, I returned to the path that I had left over 25 years ago at my undergraduate alma mater. With my line brothers, Delonte LeFlore, Alex Dyer and Al Coleman, I sought and found the light and crossed the burning sands in the very shoes I had worn decades earlier. (And the shoes still fit!)
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Our chapter is unique because of the breadth and depth of the leadership, vocational and age diversity of our members, all committed to the mission, aims and objectives of our beloved Alpha. Individually, we are personally and professionally successful yet we remain humble and committed to strengthening and supporting each other, as improving the plight of our community. Diverse yet unified; Successful yet humble; Passionate yet purposeful; Flexible yet Firm; that’s Gamma Xi Lambda.
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?
I think all fraternities and sororities need to invest time, energy, talent and other resources in presenting ourselves, our bonds, our work and other passions to the world. Digital media allows us to reach a wider, more diverse audience.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means listening the needs and ideas of other yet never ignoring the inner voice to build, dream, push, pull, yield, redirect, nudge empower, enlist in pursuit of a shared vision with others with whom you can work arm in arm. Leadership is answering the call, the whisper that says we can succeed together if you give a little more, listen a little more, guide a little more with compromise, conviction and care.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard gives us a platform to celebrate our individual and collective successes, learn from each other, experience the Divine 9 community, all while showing the world the things we do to to mentor youth, strengthen communities, and advance inclusion and social justice.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood means creating a fictive family, a band of brothers through selfless love, shared responsibility, compassionate accountability, flexible roles and rules, and uncompromising respect, honest and transparency.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Gamma Xi Lambda supports Mu, the collegiate chapter with membership at Augsburg University, Hamline University and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, by providing mentorship and rolemodeling, brotherhood activities and bonding, programmatic collaboration, leadership development, and access to networks to support their personal, academic, career, avocational and civic goals.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Carlos Sneed for his work as the president of the Gamma Xi Lambda Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to April 12, 1946.
Photo Credit: Foluso Famuyide, Jr. / Phlushots