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.’s Phi Lambda Chapter in Wake and Johnston Counties in North Carolina including Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Garner, and Clayton and did an interview with Eddie Lambert the president of the chapter.
The position of president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Lambert, who is a IT Infrastructure Sales Account Manager, has been president of his chapter for half a year.
We interviewed Lambert, who is a Fall 1989 initiate of the Eta Omicron Chapter at North Carolina State University 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?
It is a great honor to be elected President of a chapter such as Phi Lambda. For the better part of a century, the chapter has been providing leadership, scholarship, and service to Wake and Johnston counties. As the President, I have had the opportunity to encourage Brothers to find those things that interest them. This increased participation has encouraged Brothers to remain active with the fraternity. I compare the role of President to being a coach. The coach will hopefully know his team well enough to field a team with the best players at each position. The coach will also help each player grow and develop into a better player. This directly corresponds with the fraternity’s mission to develop leaders, promote brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
Phi Lambda has several areas of focus this year we feel will be of a significant benefit to Wake and Johnston Counties. The first area of focus will be getting accurate corona virus vaccine information to the community. We have partnered with other local organizations to provide monthly online seminars to assist with this effort. Unfortunately, there is a lot of skepticism and misinformation about the vaccine in our communities. Accurate information is of the utmost importance in our effort to aid the African American community in making informed decisions regarding the vaccine. These online seminars will take place once a month in January, February, and March.
In March, we will carry out our fraternity’s program titled Project Alpha via an online platform. Project Alpha is a national program held annually by all chapters of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. This program provides education, motivation and skill-building on issues of responsibility, relationships, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases for young men ages 12-15.
The national program “Go-to-High-School, Go-to-College” program, established in 1922, concentrates on the value of completing secondary and collegiate education as a road to advancement. As a part of this program, Phi Lambda will host our annual National Black Scholars Signing Day program. I am proud to say that 2021 will be our 10th consecutive year of hosting this event. We launched the initiative to spotlight young African American students that have demonstrated a strong work ethic while enrolled in high school and those that have made plans to matriculate to different colleges, universities, and schools of higher education throughout the United States. During the program, students can announce their high school of graduation, college that they plan to attend, and planned major. Traditionally, a local church hosts the program. Last year the program was streamed online and included a DJ, and famous special guests that congratulated the students for earning their high school diploma. There was also an opportunity for the Chapter Brothers to give a few words of encouragement.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
When I first arrived at North Carolina State University, I noticed that the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. were the leaders on campus. They held leadership positions in student government and were active in numerous service projects on campus. As I became acquainted with the Brothers, I found that we had many things in common. In fact, I found that I shared the same major with several of my line brothers and even shared many of the same classes. Last but not least I was seeking the fellowship of a Brotherhood. I am an only child and have truly cherished the life long relationships that I have gained as a member of this great fraternity.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Phi Lambda is truly a Brotherhood of servant leaders at many levels in our community and the fraternity. We have Brothers that are elected officials at the city, county, and state level in North Carolina. We also have Brothers leading at the area, state, and national level in the fraternity. This leadership also includes the 35th General President of our fraternity. Phi Lambda has Brothers in medical, legal justice, education, and IT careers to name a few. The leadership and creativity in Phi Lambda is truly one of a kind.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2021?
Alumni chapters should take advantage of all digital platforms to share their message and also keep those platforms up to date with current information. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter offer a great way to reach a much larger audience outside of the communities we serve. We have several outstanding Brothers leading this effort of digital branding within the chapter.
How is your chapter adapting to navigate the pandemic?
The pandemic has caused us to pivot in how we communicate with each other and what types of events we are able to have. We quickly have transitioned to holding our meetings online and have held informational programs via webinar. The programs we have in person are outdoors and comply with all state guidelines regarding social distancing. We look forward to the day when we can gather and exhibit the Brotherhood that exists in Phi Lambda. We desire to be active and visible figures in our communities.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leaders should first show that they will serve and listen to others. Leaders should also set the standard and be the example. Leadership means that you must hold others accountable and be held accountable. We are at our best when we are striving to make each other better. As the saying goes, iron sharpens iron.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Unfortunately, the news media publicizes the few negative things that happen within Greek letter organizations. Watch The Yard does an outstanding job of highlighting the many positive contributions of Black fraternities and sororities to our communities.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood means that I have a group of men that share in my success and assist me in learning from my failures. I love knowing that I have Brothers who are willing to fellowship and support no matter the endeavor. I have met Brothers in all my travels and this holds true for all of them.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has the College Life to Corporate Life Initiative (C2C). As the name implies, the goal of C2C is to assist Brothers in transitioning from college to the corporate arena.
The pandemic caused an abrupt disruption for the College Brothers. In this environment, their general wellbeing is our primary concern. We are making sure they have the support and encouragement required to continue their academic excellence. The pandemic has also impacted their ability to raise funds for programming. We have provided support in creative online fundraising along with some financial assistance.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Eddie Lambert for his work as the President of the Phi Lambda of Alpha Phi Alpha.