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 Xi Tau Chapter at Georgia Southern University and did an interview with Randy Johnnicon 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 Randy Johnnicon 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 Chemistry 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 chapter president is a challenge that I am growing from everyday. I was initiated into the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Xi Tau chapter during spring ’18, and I was quickly elected into the President position during the same semester. Although I was young in the fraternity, my brothers saw the leadership qualities within me to lead our chapter to new heights. Since that moment, I’ve upheld the fiduciary responsibility to live out the creed that Alpha’s greatest interest lies outside of itself. Additionally, an objective of our fraternity is to stimulate the ambition of it’s members. As such, I constantly encourage my brothers to engage in new and innovative ways to improve the chapter, and I work with my advisor and other fraternal leaders to provide my brothers with pertinent resources. I have received recognition on how impressed people are with the progress of our chapter, but I know that nothing would be possible without my brother’s support. So to me, being chapter president means influencing the daily improvement of myself, my brothers, and my community, which supports our motto that we are first of all, servants of all, and transcend all.
What made you decide to attend Georgia Southern University for undergrad?
Initially, I chose Georgia Southern University because it was far away enough from my parents to feel free, but it was still close enough to visit during breaks. Also, because they were one of the few universities in Georgia that offered a chemistry degree with a concentration in biochemistry that is accredited by the American Chemical Society. Those were my initial thoughts, but I grew to love the university for its unique culture and its large-scale yet small feeling. I even had the opportunity to serve the university as an orientation leader (SOAR Leader), so that I can teach the incoming students how to make the best of their college experience.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
Our chapter began a social justice campaign called #XiTogtherAlwaysUnited to help eradicate hateful thoughts and gestures from our community, and it will serve as a platform perpetually advocate for anyone who experiences these injustices. The campaign has been very successful and it has received recognition and support from other organizations and university officials. We will be taking the program a step further by implementing a program curriculum called C.A.L.L.I.S. (Creating A Life-Long Inclusive Society) that will challenge all Alpha college and alumni chapters to include a socially inclusive event or series of events within their programming calendars. This program will be introduced at ever level of the fraternity with hopes of it one day being recognized and adopted by the general organization. We are also excited to see that our Brother Roland S. Martin will be coming to our university as our 2019 MLK Day celebration speaker.
What made you want to pledge Alpha Phi Alpha?
From high school to my freshman year of college, I was not concerned with joining organizations or bettering myself through extracurricular activities. That changed when I met a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. during my sophomore year. He became my mentor and taught me the importance of scholarship, being professional, and serving a purpose greater than yourself. I took in all of his advice and began to join organizations and mold my our future. I eventually initiated into the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Xi Tau chapter and it has given me much more than I ever expected.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Xi Tau chapter was formed on Saturday July 12th, 1980 the campus of Georgia Southern College by nine young men who knew it was time to make a change on campus. 38 years we are still carrying the flame that our Pearls ignited. Our Pearls, stepped on to campus on their first day out wearing tuxedos to demonstrate the change that was going to occur on campus. Today, we still carry on this tradition by wearing suits every week which we love to call Tailored Tuesday. Our pearls, were also the leaders of the biggest minority organizations on campus including the Afro-American Club and the Black Student Alliance. We have also continued this aspect of leadership. The brothers in the current chapter are the current presidents of Collegiate 100, Men of Vision and Excellence, the National Association of Black Accountants and also the immediate past president of NPHC. Our chapter is unique in its ability to lead the campus and create significant change.
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?
There are a lot of Greek social media pages, waiting to feature organizations and the things that they do. Chapters could make videos and take pictures of them serving their communities or promoting their events to encourage other chapters to do the same. It would also give other chapters and organizations ideas on some things they could implement on their own campuses and in their own communities, all while gaining respect for and promoting their own chapter.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is being able to listen to different perspectives and work to come up with solutions that benefit the most people possible. You have to be able to make quick decisions and put your foot down when you need to, but also have a good personal relationship with the members of your team so that everyone stays motivated and ready to work. I enjoy leading my chapter because they present me with a lot of amazing ideas and we work really well together at executing it. Although I lead my brothers, I’m constantly learning from them as well, how to navigate varying viewpoints to be successful and how to be encouraging, even when things aren’t working in our favor.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard is a great platform to positively portray Black Greek life in multiple aspects. A lot of media wants to focus on things that any be negative about being Greek but there are very few that show the great work we do. There aren’t many platforms that show our service or giving back or even highlight the events we do on our campuses, but Watch The Yard does. Whether you’re actually Greek or even just interested in an organization, Watch The Yard inspires you to get out and do greater things for yourself and for your community.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
I grew up an only child, and didn’t have any bothers or even siblings to experience. To me, brotherhood means having someone who will always be in your corner, to support you in your endeavors, encourage you if you get knocked down, and be there when you need help or advice. It feels good to know that I always have someone who has my back and will help me grow to be the best version of myself. We joke around and get into a lot together, but we also help each other when needed and come together to make a lot happen. I love to see them succeed and overcome any obstacles they encounter and I know they feel they same way.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
My career goals is to become a practicing dentist in the state of Georgia. I have chosen this career because I love to put a smile on peoples faces so if I can do this for a career then I will never work a day in my life. I will continue to shadow and work for my local dentist and I will be applying to dental school within a few years.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Randy Johnnicon for his work as the president of Xi Tau Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1980.