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 Gamma Theta Chapter at the University of Dayton and did an interview with Devin Vann 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 Vann 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 Sport Management 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?
Being the president of the Gamma Theta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is an incredible honor. Being president requires a lot of hard work along with, tons of responsibilities. There are numerous of times where it seems like the work and responsibility will never get easier. But, I give credit to my chapter and my prophytes for supplying me with such a strong system of support, that makes being president worth it. Through this leadership role, I’ve learned a lot about myself in terms of conducting business, collaborating with others, and making tough decisions. I’ve been able to reach out to Alphas from all over. As well as, visit states (also a country) that I never thought I’d find myself in.
What made you decide to attend the University of Dayton for undergrad?
I attended two of the best high schools in the country while living in Maryland. I went to Our Lady of Good Counsel High School for the first years of high school and Northwest High School for the latter years of high school. After taking the SAT, a heavy flow of letters came in the mail. In this pile of mail, was a letter from the University of Dayton offering me a lot of amenities. Weeks after that, my family and I made the trip to Dayton, Ohio to take a tour of the school. Naturally, the University of Dayton made the list of colleges I would apply to. Long story short, I was blessed to be able to accept a scholarship to the University of Dayton and now I have been here for 3 years.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
To start the year off we had a cookout with the Epsilon Chi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and co-hosted a first day of school breakfast with the Iota Mu chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Throughout the semester, we pushed a program dedicated to the mental health of black men called #PhreeThinkers. For this program, we partnered with the Counseling Center to provide a space and opportunity for black male students at UD, to participate in 30 minute, 1-on-1 counseling sessions with professionals on campus. Mental health and awareness in our communities- more importantly, the black community needs to constantly discussed and we’ve noticed how much opportunity there is to make a generation of leaders that are aware of this and use it to the best of their abilities. In order to progress we must face issues that plague our community. Later in the semester, we are having an Alpha Week take place on campus November 3rd-7th, as we make an emphasis on collaborating with other organizations on campus.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
Growing up, I was aware of the Greek organizations and how much importance they held in the black community. For me, there were so many historical figures that I looked up and that I emulated were all Alpha men. Such as, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Owens, W.E.B Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Frederick Douglass. These are men that have changed the course of history- that have made their mark on the world, but simply were doing what they did for the love of all mankind.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Gamma Theta Chapter was founded on May, 3rd, 1947 at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. The Gamma Theta chapter has close relations with Theta Lambda and Pi Phi, who are both in or near Dayton, Ohio. My chapter is the first student organization on campus.
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?
Make sure to utilize all of social media and the features of each social media platform. Since the common person consumes a lot of information in a day and at such a fast rate, Instagram is one of the resources we’ve utilized. We also use Groupme, when it comes to promoting events or getting community involvement.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means being held accountable for your actions. Being a leader on campus and in my chapter, means that many people hold me accountable for my actions. My mom use to tell me, “Someone is always watching you,” and that is even more of an accurate statement today. Eyes are always on me so, I have to set a standard for not only myself but, my brothers as well. I make sure to let them know that being a part of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. brings a lot of attention, and we have to set the standard for how we want people to view us.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is extremely important because not only does it highlight the history and the most notable members of each organization, but it also highlights the incredible achievements of Greek organizations all over the country and it gives those who are not members a glimpse into Black greekdom. I find it insightful to see what all of the Divine 9 is doing across the country. It is the place you want to go to get information that is equally objective and subjective.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood means to me an endless amount of support from and for others. I know that I can lean on my brothers if I’m down bad, and they won’t let me suffer. I take great pride in being able to have such remarkable men around me, and able to call on any one of them at any time. On the flip side of that, if I see any of my brothers in a bad position, I will do all that is in my power to help them out. Also, brotherhood mean genuine friendships. As Black men in this world, it is very hard to open up to one another and be vulnerable around each other. There’s always a sense of putting on a facade or wall of protection in front of men you don’t know. When you join a brotherhood, that wall of protection no longer exists.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
My dream job is to work as an NFL Scout for any NFL team. So, now I am taking steps towards that goal by applying to several positions within the NFL. After graduation, I plan on accepting a job offer in order to start my career.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Devin Vann for his work as the president of Gamma Theta Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1947.