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 Delta Phi Chapter at Jackson State University and did an interview with Markus Brooks 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. 20-year-old Markus Brooks 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 Criminal Justice 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?
To serve as a chapter president is an honor. Serving in this position gives me the opportunity to take initiative and uplift my community through service in order to make it a better place because life is all about giving back to others. In addition, it has also put me in uncomfortable situations that I had to adapt too quickly. These experiences made me a better leader. In conjunction with other chapter presidents, I have planned community service events and ensure the chapter’s participation in other service events on and off campus. Being able to package food for those in need in the community of Jackson and helping rebuild various building in the Jackson area have showed me the importance of giving back to not only the Jackson State Community but the community of Jackson as a whole!
What made you decide to attend Jackson State University for undergrad?
Throughout my life I have attended predominantly white schools. That’s when I knew before I graduated that I would attend one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s). I knew that I needed to be at a school that had more of a diverse population and a rich culture. I needed to know more about not just Black History but history all throughout the world. My father, mother, brother, and sister are Jackson State University graduates. In addition, I also have four Uncles and five Aunts that are Jackson State University graduates. I knew that I wanted to continue the family tradition of going to Jackson State. I know personally that Jackson State University has produced some outstanding African Americans who have successful careers.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
This upcoming year, we plan on volunteering at local Jackson Public Schools such as Barack Obama Magnet, Forest Hill, Pecan Park, and Kirksey Middle School. During our time at these schools, we will help the kids make arts and crafts, help mentor, and teach them the importance of staying in school. We will also be collaborating with Mississippi Votes and the NAACP with voter registration drives to register students and members in the community to vote on campus.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
My mentors of the Nu Psi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. taught me that being average is not enough. Through them I saw the true meaning of brotherhood and what it takes to be successful. When I was younger and even now, I continue to want better for myself and one day I will reach my full potential to be all that I can be. They taught me that I need to be the best that I can be at all times, whether it is going to school or even working at a job because you never know who is watching. When I was younger and even now, they instill in me that getting C’s in school is not good enough, they pushed me to strive for excellence and get A’s in school. They taught me that knowledge is power, and that I could do anything I put my mind to so that one day I will be a positive change in the world.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
What makes our chapter unique is we participate in community service weekly especially at local Jackson Public Schools because the kids need positive role models to look up to. We interact with the students, teach them the importance of staying in school, and help assist teachers with their after-school programs. In addition, we also serve as peer mentors for the kids and help tutor them. Giving back gives us an opportunity to interact with numerous individuals in our community to make a positive impact. By doing one thing to help someone you can make a positive impact on their lives and that is what my chapter has done for the community of Jackson.
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?
Organizations need to use social media to create a vision for leaders so that goals can be accomplished. This will give them the opportunity to share their ideas and perspectives with other organizations to help benefit surrounding communities, companies, and schools. It is important for organizations to listen and to understand the opinions of other organizations in order to gain trust and a better understanding of what problems need to be solved. It is important, through social media, that organizations are able to understand those existing issues and to utilize the social media channels to help bring about solutions to benefit others to accomplish tasks and to better society as a whole!
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is all about providing other people with numerous opportunities to be successful as well as give them the knowledge and tools to strive in the world. Being at Jackson State has allowed me to serve as a student leader in various organizations where I help create engaging programs to ensure that the student body is socially and academically engaged beyond the classroom. I am able to support, help and lead others to become successful academically and to become leaders of communities.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom because it brings uniqueness and diversity. Watch The Yard makes us take the attention off ourselves and become one big family. It provides us with a better look at the Black Greek world and allow members of different Black Greek-Lettered Organizations to interact with various chapters of the Divine Nine. Chapters will be more interactive and will know how to interact with other organizations who come from different backgrounds and ready to make a difference in his or her community.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
A true brotherhood is when brothers will be by your side for life no matter the hardships or the severity of the situation. Brothers are always willing to help one another regardless of what their circumstances might be. In life a man cannot do everything by himself, and he is going to need his brothers to lean on when times get tough. No matter where the brothers are located, they are always one call away from helping their brothers.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduating from Jackson State University, I plan to attend Florida State University College of Law, remaining in Tallahassee, Florida. My career goals are to become a Florida State Attorney and serve as the chief prosecutor for the 2nd Judicial Circuit in criminal cases to ensure that justice is served for my clients. My career ambitions are to have a career in politics by becoming a Florida State Representative, my ultimate goal being to run for the Office of the President of the United States in 2036.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Markus Brooks for his work as the president of Delta Phi Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1953.
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