In an effort to highlight the undergraduate leadership of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., we at Watch The Yard reached out to the fraternity and were put in contact with its Assistant Regional Vice Presidents for interviews.
The position of Assistant Regional Vice President is the highest position undergraduate brothers can hold in the fraternity and is a highly respected role.
Among these Assistant Regional Vice President was Harold Daniels III, a 26-year-old Fall 2015 initiate of the fraternity’s Iota Rho (Metropolitan Chapter) at New Jersey City University who is the Assistant Regional Vice President of the Eastern Region which is Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia – Washington D.C., and the international areas of Bermuda, Germany, Liberia, South Africa and the United Kingdom (London).
We talked to the Political Science major and African/African American Studies minor about his position and goals.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be an Assistant Regional Vice President to you?
Being in this position, to start, is a blessing! This is my second term serving on the Board of Directors, only the third in the past 20 years, here in the Eastern Region. So, for me, to be the Regional Assistant Vice President means more than just the title with a fancy pin. It means holding the Brothers accountable while living out our mission, ensuring the longevity and sustainability of all chapters, advocating for college brothers so that our voices are heard and serving as “the example;” not only for my chapter, but for my district, region and for the brothers around the world.
What are the specific initiatives you are working on this year in your region?
Since being initiated, my thought process has always been “what more can we do?,” and “how can we achieve it?”
During my first year in this seat, I launched 2 initiatives in the Eastern Region. First is OneAlpha, which was drafted by Bro. James C. Johnson, immediate past Midwestern Assistant Vice President; which focuses on promoting the collaboration of our college chapters and their advising alumni chapters, given the current cultural and age differences among our Brothers. The second is iPlay, iRead! This initiative will allow brothers to become more involved in local elementary and middle schools and foremost encourage students to read more. The purpose of this initiative comes from the epidemic concerning literacy which affects millions of children and adults each year. Our targets are schools in the immediate and surrounding communities where brothers are with high demographics of African-American youth. Lastly, it focuses on our aim of scholarship and our national program Go-to-High-School, Go-to-College in a way that will appeal to grades K-5, where our young people sometimes find struggle with reading at grade level.
What are you doing this year to specifically support the undergraduate chapters that you represent?
From a peer to peer level, I do what I can to visit the chapters within my region, supporting their major events (campus & community), as I too am a college brother with a class and study schedule. On a more administrative level, I move to represent the college brothers the best I can when it comes to college brother’s affairs, making myself available when issues arise to find the solutions necessary given the context and severity. Overall, just being present!
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
I began my research on Greek life as a sophomore in high school after traveling from Philadelphia to Delaware, and through Washington, D.C. and Maryland. There I saw the impact that the Alphas in those areas had on their communities, and immediately thought to myself, “This what my city needs,” but more so “How can I be apart of this change if the opportunity was there for me?”
What is it about your region that makes it so unique in Alpha?
It is the birthplace of Alpha!
In what ways have you experienced mentorship from alumni brothers as a Assistant Regional Vice President?
Oh, as soon as brothers knew I was a certified candidate for this office, I’d gotten so many calls, emails and Facebook messages from brothers given their experience and seeing my potential. Since being elected, Brothers have made themselves available if I had questions about anything I would experience, most times without me having to ask.
It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention my Region Vice President, Bro. Lucien Metellus. He has been an instrumental mentor to me throughout this experience as well, more so through faith. Never had he ever have to tell me, but I see how important it is for us in leadership to be spiritually grounded as much as possible.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2018?
Understand their protocol documents and actually follow them, withdrawing excuses to deviate from what the organizations have laid out for them.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I believe Watch The Yard is important to Black Greekdom because for the younger cats coming in they see the history, and most importantly the substance that comes with being a Black greek and what that culture was like for those before us. For the old heads, it keeps the hope alive, and it keeps them up to date with what great strides our generation is making everyday; showing them that there is still something to be proud of, and from my perspective giving them a reason to get active.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood is a shared bond between like-minded individuals who share a common interest with one another in one or more areas of life. What that means to me is having a core group of mentors, motivators and friends that I can call at any point in my life for assistance and/or guidance with anything that I may experience or endeavor towards.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to have secured a position in either state or federal government (The Hill would be dope); however, long term I look to work with the United Nations, holding the position of Human Rights Officer.
We at Watch The Yard would like to thank Harold Daniels III and the brothers at Alpha Phi Alpha including Henry A. Stewart, the fraternity’s Chief Communications Officer, for making this interview possible.