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 Pi Mu Chapter at West Virginia University and did an interview with Khufu L. Edwards 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 Khufu L. Edwards 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 Finance and Management double major and talked about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold a leadership position on campus in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
Being a Chapter President truly feels like a full-time job. You must summon the ability to handle multiple personalities, ensure Chapter business is being taken care of, and ultimately empower your members. The most important part about being a Chapter President has been the task of being a visionary rather than a placeholder; the test of whether we are doing things only out of formality or to actually elevate ourselves to new heights.
What made you decide to attend West Virginia University for undergrad?
I decided to attend West Virginia University because of the fair distance from home and low cost. WVU was also on a “Best Buy” list that intersected the value of a college’s educational standards and how much students pay for tuition – in an effort to show how students get plenty of “bang for their buck.”
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
Our chapter is always looking for ways to improve the campus and surrounding community. This past year, our Chapter began the Black Excellence Academic Celebration. To our knowledge, it is the first of its kind on the campus of West Virginia University. The celebration highlights 1st-Year students who achieved a 3.0 in the preceding semester. One of the ways we plan on enhancing the celebration is by offering a book award to the highest-achieving students. The money for the book award was raised as a portion of the profit from our annual PartyWalk Stroll Competition.
Another exciting development within our Chapter is a major community service pledge. We, along with our local Alumni Chapter, Alpha Zeta Lambda, plan on embarking on a “1K Community Service” pledge (we need to find a catchier name but that’ll do for now). The goal is for Brothers, whether in their capacity as an Alpha or individually, to help both Chapters reach a goal of completing 1,000 hours of community service over the span of 2019.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
I wanted to pursue membership in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. initially because of the “positive stereotypes.” I was most like Men of Alpha due to their notoriety for being Men of Distinction. Over the course of my first year at college, I was able to have interactions with Alpha Men that further confirmed my ambitions. After doing an extensive amount of research into the Brotherhood, networking opportunities, and notable members, I had made up my mind.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
My Chapter, the POWERFUL Pi Mu Chapter, is so unique because of our eclectic group of Brothers. One may think, “how would an Alpha Chapter thrive and prosper in a place like Morgantown, WV?” On the contrary, our environment is conducive to the trailblazing that we do. We have Brothers from Memphis and DC, all the way to Jersey, and back down to Florida. At any moment, you may hear a “Yerrrrr” and someone can easily respond with an “aye moe.” Our potlucks reflect our cultural differences, as well, when you suddenly see dishes like jerk chicken and rotel dip next to each other. Between our Chapter, Alpha Zeta (at West Virginia State University), Nu Nu (at Marshall University), Alpha Zeta Lambda (Morgantown Alumni Chapter), and Alpha Iota Lambda (Charleston Alumni Chapter), I am truly blessed to say that I’m a West Virginia Alpha.
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?
I believe that chapters need to start marketing themselves as if they were managing their personal brands. More chapters must understand that we are businesses, and should be marketing ourselves accordingly. We hold more influence than we realize and it’s time to leverage that.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is the ability to empower those around you, in an effort to maximize efforts and achieve the goals of your organization. It is also being humble enough to defer to others, thoughtfully listening, and not putting your personal agenda before that of your organization.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I believe Watch the Yard is important to Black greekdom because it keeps us in touch with positive aspects of our organizations. Black Greek Life Organizations are being paraded around and taken for granted in this day and age. It is nice to see highlights of notable members, flashbacks to the 80s and 90s, etc. I can confidently say that Black greekdom may have been streamlined to being a joke in the digital world if it was not for Watch the Yard.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood is the ability to travel around the country and have a place to stay no matter what. Brotherhood is having a fellow Alpha trust my competency (on relative levels) because we are a part of the same fold. Brotherhood is being stranded and potentially having your Brothers get to you before the police would. It is an overwhelming feeling that cannot be put into words, but can be felt no matter where you go.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on going into Asset Management. This past Summer, I had an internship with Prudential Financial as a Loan Analyst. I will be returning to Prudential for the Summer of 2019, and hope to receive a full-time job offer beginning in 2020.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Khufu L. Edwards for his work as the president of Pi Mu Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1984.