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 Phi Theta Chapter at Stevens Institute of Technology and did an interview with Grant Fowler 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 Fowler 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 Civil Engineering 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?
It is an immense honor and responsibility to hold the position of chapter president. Standing as the prime example and representative for what Alpha should be on my campus is sometimes daunting but also humbling. It fills me with great pride to be a voice and advocate for not only my organization, the brothers on my campus, but also the surrounding communities that we touch.
What made you decide to attend the Stevens Institute of Technology for undergrad?
At a young age I often had a specialization or liking towards engineering, so naturally I was looking to attend a technology school that would provide the education to achieve this. Considering most of my immediate family was in the New Jersey area I did not want to be too far away from home (Gales Ferry, CT) but also wanted to be able to venture out into the world and find a career field/job opportunities that interested me. That’s why I chose to attend Stevens Institute of Technology a prime engineering institution located in Hoboken, NJ. One of the perks is New York City is only a few steps away so there are always chances to explore!
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
Our chapter this year although just chartering in the spring we are looking to make an immediate impact not only on our campus but also throughout the surrounding communities. We’ve already begun work on our National Project, A Voteless People is A Hopeless People by hosting a workshop on “Voter Rights for Minorities”. We look to be involved in not only Voter Registration Drives but also assisting in the upcoming 2020 Census. As well we want to reach out to local schools within our area and promote attending ANY collegiate university after high school and the importance of getting that first degree! As well another special program we look to hold is a celebration of mothers during Mother’s day at our local women’s homeless shelter. We have a lot of work to begin with but we are excited to bring Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to this area!
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
As a chartering member of our chapter, the idea came to myself and a few other individuals that our institution needed more definitive African-American representation. We did our research and felt that through Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. our goals of a stronger and well-lead African-American community could be obtained over the years once this chapter was created. For me personally I am all about paying it forward to the next generation that comes after, because without the leaders and individuals that helped me out along the way I never would have gotten into this school, or had the chance to do well for myself. As well seeing strong African-American men succeeding on our campus through a unified front of professionalism, community activism, and leadership development is amazing to see and be apart of!
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Attending an engineering institution all our members have an engineering major, so we all are very much like minded on a lot of things. As well we have a beautiful view of the New York City skyline from many parts of our 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?
I think undergrad chapters overall just need to be more progressive in terms of acceptance and educating of current breaking news. I feel as Greek Life leaders we should be at the forefront of the knowledge that is directly and indirectly impacting our communities. Communicating and informing those who may not know about the injustices and issues others face everyday may lead a spark to a better tomorrow!
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is a double edged sword to me. On one side comes all the good with being a leader; the respect from peers, the ability to speak in front of others and have them listen, and the ability to make lasting decisions. On the other side comes the hard decisions and choices of being a leader. Having to balance out conflicts of interest, deciding what is best for groups without infringing on others rights, and making difficult decisions in critical moments. Leadership is honestly balancing the good and bad in life that effects others so they may not have to worry about it. Its a rewarding job when done correctly. Lastly, the part that some leaders miss is developing the next generation. Because leading is a great privilege and full time role to fill. But if you are not educating them to be successful once you depart then you are not completing your role to it s fullest ability.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is such an encapsulating platform, it not only brings together our respective organizations but also highlights the great work we do within our communities. It’s especially important in terms of unifying us to a common goal or educating us as a Greek Life community how we can move as one against or for a common cause.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood to me means an unbreakable bond, another branch of my family. Whether through good times or bad times, I fully support my brother in any of his endeavors or goals in life. If my brother is down and needs help getting back on his feet, I am right there picking him up, setting him on the right path, and making sure he stays up on his feet.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation I plan on beginning my career in the construction industry as either a Project engineer or an assistant project manager. I would like to mostly specialize in the construction of educational, health, and commercial buildings. Through this I hope to bolster and assist the rebuilding and construction of infrastructure that can help the community and the people that reside within it. I have not fully decided whether I would like to stay in the tri-state area or move somewhere further down south.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Grant A. Fowler for his work as the president of Phi Theta Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to Jan. 12th, 2019.