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 Alpha Theta Chapter at the University of Iowa and did an interview with Nate Robinson 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. 22-year-old Nate Robinson 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 Sociology 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 be chapter president is an honor that comes with much responsibility. Especially when you are the chapter president of a small chapter of five. You have to perform many roles each and everyday. However, when you have brothers around you that are committed to the vision set in place, everything it makes everything worth it. As president, nothing is more rewarding than when campus administrators, student body, and your alumni tell you how impactful your programming is. I love hearing how proud they are of the fact that we have the highest GPA in the NPHC and one of the top GPA’s in all of Fraternity and Sorority Life. It shows that the time and hard work that I’m putting in with my brothers is creating an impact.
What made you decide to attend the University of Iowa for undergrad?
I did not think the University of Iowa was the school I would attend. The fact that only three percent of the student population makes up black students worried me. However, when I visited the campus something about it felt right. I liked the energy of a Big 10 campus. Also, during orientation I met a gentleman, named Shawn Boursiquot at a student org table. We exchanged contact information and he went out of his way to make sure I adjusted to campus. He would later become my dean.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
A big campus initiative we have taken up is our#IVOW campaign. This campaign is to get men in the Greek community and black community to have conversations surrounding sexual violence and holding one another on campus accountable for these actions. Sexual assault is a problem between men and as a fraternity we were frustrated by how constantly we place women at the forefront of these movements when they are the victims.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
When I arrived on campus there was a unique brotherhood among the men of Alpha Phi Alpha. They really looked out for me when I arrived on campus. Also, the Alphas were leaders in more areas than just their fraternity. They created, led, and organized campus organizations, initiatives, and protest. They showed me how influential of a leader I could be on campus and really helped me develop my skills. I wanted to move in the way they did and felt Alpha played a role in that.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
My chapter is unique by how engaged we are in the larger campus community. Our chapter has a saying that “there’s always an Alpha at the table” and we take that to heart. We lead many of the black student organizations on campus and hold leadership positions in larger university student orgs as well. We make sure we work to leave a lasting impact on our campus. Our school really takes notice of how we operate and wants our perspective on many of its initiatives.
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 think all organizations need to think about the purpose for why their org was founded in the first place and think is what we are showing to the world an accurate representation of what our organization believes in and values.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is extremely important to me. It means that you are using your God given abilities to impact something or someone larger than you. I feel leadership means you act when their is a need in the community. You act in order to serve others. It also means that you alone do not hold all the answers. Leadership involves multiple individuals. It means you have to work with people in order to have create the vision.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I think it is important because it’s a way to make our large Greek community closer together. It’s a way for us to get connected with regions and chapters that are farther away from our campus. It’s a way for us to celebrate how you unique we are as an NPHC and region. We also become inspired by seeing what our community is doing on their campus and want to work to do the same for our own.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood to me means having men around you that you care for more than your own self. It means having people around you that you can rely on in times of need and that you want to help in their own times of need. Brotherhood is loving individuals even when they hurt you and working together to find forgiveness. Brotherhood is something that isn’t always perfect, but the love you have to see best for them is what makes it worth it.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I plan to take a gap year but then attend law school to study public law. I want to be able to work on policy reform in the areas of mental health and criminal justice.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Nate Robinson for his work as the president of Alpha Theta Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1922.