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 Sigma Kappa Lambda Chapter in Bloomington, IN and did an interview with James Sanders 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. Sanders, who works as a Missile Energy Systems, Branch Manager for (Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division), has been in the position of president for 1 month.
We interviewed Sanders, who is a Spring 2007 / Beta Omicron Chapter initiate of his fraternity 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 motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?
I had the desire to uphold the high level of leadership to which our chapter has become accustomed.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the local community or the broader Black community?
I’m excited about SKL’s Project Alpha initiative especially since there are young men in our community who can directly benefit from our presence and programming throughout the year.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
At Tennessee State University, Alphas were leaders in a multitude of diverse areas (SGA presidents, drum majors, honor societies, etc.) They’re programming on campus was great and I always enjoyed they’re events. I primarily chose Alpha because I didn’t feel the need to fit into a box. I could be myself and bring my talents to the Brotherhood in my own unique ways.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
I believe my chapter is unique in the respect that, though there aren’t many of us and our chapter was chartered about 6 years ago, we’ve managed to be impactful to those we serve in our community and have gained national recognition for that work.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Members from our chapter advise a few undergraduate chapters in the south-central Indiana area. We keep close stewardship over them to ensure they avoid the pitfalls of college life and life in general. Our chapters also support each other’s events to facilitate stronger bonds and build connections for life after graduation.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
For me, I recognize that Alpha is a Brotherhood first. I invest a great deal of effort to make sure I actually know the Brothers. I learn about their careers, families, and interests with the hopes they feel seen and valued.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your fraternity/sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
Make sure you have a heart for servant leadership and know that serving in any leadership roles are mostly thankless jobs.
How has mentorship helped you get to where you are today? Are there any specific people in your org who have made a significant impact on your life as mentors?
Mentorship is extremely important to me. I’ve gained so much personal and professional knowledge from Brothers.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
It’s featured for Black Greeks to highlight the good things in our organizations.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
I love being a member of Alpha Phi Alpha because I have a diverse Brotherhood that is serious about improving our lives and the lives of those in our spheres of influence.
Lastly, what does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood, to me, a group of men striving for collective excellence.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend James Sanders for his work as the President of the Sigma Kappa Lambda which has a legacy that spans back to 2017.
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