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 Theta Tau Chapter at the University of Michigan-Flint and did an interview with D’Angelo Gillespie 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 D’Angelo Gillespie 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 English-Writing Specialization 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 as a neo President of the Theta Tau Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is both an honor and a privilege. It is important that I am leading by example for my chapter members as well as new members to follow. Being chapter president has shown me the importance of building a brand and not tarnishing the image of a chapter/organization. Being from Flint, it is also important as a chapter president that we are actively serving our community. Flint is currently battling a water crisis, in which, I found it important to provide temporary solutions while seeking long-term change.
What made you decide to attend the University of Michigan-Flint for undergrad?
My decision to attend the University of Michigan-Flint was an easy one due to my involvement in the Committed to Excellence and Opportunity (CEO) Pre-College Programs in the Educational Opportunities Office while in high school. Ultimately, I completed the CEO Program and was awarded with a Full Tuition and Fees Scholarship to attend the university. In addition to that program, my high school was housed on UM-Flint’s campus and allowed me to start my dual enrollment during 10th grade, making my transition to college smooth.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
The Theta Tau Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has been working admittedly to participate in all four national programs and supporting two national initiatives while taking pride in putting extra efforts in Go-to-High-School Go-to-College. Through this National Program we adopt three local elementary classrooms, actively engage with the CEO Pre-College Program students, and conduct campus tours for local high school students all to increase students’ connectivity to seeking post-secondary education.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
While participating in my scholarship program in high school, there were many men that served as the mentor role for me while living in a single-parent household. They were always available when I needed anything whether that was support or just to talk. Through this program, I was able to see Alpha men carrying out their aims in real-life. It was not until they made this impact that I realized that they were all Alphas. I joined the Theta Tau Chapter due to the connection that I had with the chapter. All of those men that mentored me came through the same chapter and set an amazing example on how to effectively impact my own community.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The deeply rooted brotherhood is what makes the Theta Tau chapter unique. The brothers’ willingness to help beyond the work of Alpha is inspirational. The members of the Theta Tau chapter value mentorship to their youth which is shown in their daily lives and through their participation with the Esquire Mentor & Leadership Program. The strong brotherhood is not only in-chapter, but with our graduate chapter, Epsilon Upsilon Lambda. Together, we have been impacting the Flint community since 1973, and EUL since 1953. In collaboration with each other, our chapters have won the Charles Harris Wesley Brotherhood Award on the district, regional, and national level including being the 2018 Michigan District Award Winners.
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?
It is critical that we are highlighting the work that we do and impact that we have not only on our campuses but our communities as well. In , technology is a prevalent source of information and news. We need to be mindful of this while holding ourselves to the high standard that we want our organizations to be associated with. Misrepresentation has been crippling to organizations in the past, we need coverage of those key initiatives/community work as opposed to all social.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means being a consistent advocate and role-model for my campus, community, and chapter. Being able to lead with action is important when looking at being goal-oriented. Serving in a leadership role often allows you to inspire those around you to also be the change that they want to see. Ultimately, it creates value to those involved.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard has been a positive outlet for the greek community to be able to showcase the impacts that they have on their campuses and communities. With the current negative media coverage that NPHC receives, it is critical to have outlets like Watch the Yard to support our involvement and community engagement.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood is a bond not explainable with words. My experiences with brotherhood thus far have been nothing less than amazing. Having people that you can count on for anything is a very comforting feeling. The bond of brotherhood is a judgement free relationship that allows you to grow personally and professionally. Brotherhood has been extended past my chapter, with our grad chapter and brothers from all around the world.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduating in Fall 2019, I plan to attend Graduate School to obtain my Masters of Arts in Student Affairs Administration. While obtaining my Masters, I plan to work an assistantship in a Diversity & Inclusion or Student Life Office. Lastly, I will become Dr. Gillespie with a PhD in Education. Ultimately serving as the Director of a Diversity & Inclusion Office, Student Life Office, or Pre-College Programming Office while working toward being a President or Chancellor of a University.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend D’Angelo Gillespie for his work as the president of Theta Tau Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1973.
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