Leadership Highlight: Rayshonna Durham The President of Delta Sigma Theta at Savannah State University
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 women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Delta Nu Chapter at Savannah State University and did an interview with Rayshonna Durham the president of the chapter.
The position of president of an undergraduate chapter of a Black sorority is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. 22-year-old Rayshonna Durham has used the position to gain new leadership experience, improve the lives of other students on campus and help the community around her.
We interviewed the Social Work major and talked about her 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 a chapter president means to be responsible for your chapter (org) and to enhance others on your e-board to exceed your mission and goals. In my case I am the only person in my chapter so I am every position literally. It gets very frustrating at times, but I never give up and I work even harder to fulfill the needs of my chapter and organization because if I fail everything will fall on me and I care about my organization and chapter entirely too much to let that happen.
What made you decide to attend Savannah State University for undergrad?
I wanted to attend THE Savannah State University because it was a HBCU. The student to teacher ratio is great and I wanted to be able to have that one on one attention from a professor. There are over 75 active organizations which connect the campus and creates a family atmosphere. Savannah State has a beautiful campus and is only 20 min away from Tybee Island. The school spirit was unmatched I am glad to be a SSU Tiger.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
The Delta Nu Chapter will focus on specific initiatives that pertains to Delta Sigma Theta’s Five Point Programmatic Thrust : Economic Development, Educational Development, International Awareness, Physical and Mental Health, and Political Awareness and Involvement. One event I plan on having next semester is a Financial Fortitude workshop about Student Loans , Saving and Budgeting while in College Ft. a local bank representative. I believe my events will improve the campus community by instilling responsibility and a variety of useful tools and advice to students that they can use for the remainder of their collegiate career and life. For instance many students receive a refund and blow it on Clothes, Shoes, Illegal activities and etc. and do not realize they have to pay that money back, so by educating them on the effects will hopefully prevent them for collecting more student loan debt.
What made you want to pledge Delta Sigma Theta?
I wanted to become a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. because I was already committed to service. I was sure I could add great value to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. with my organizational skills, creativity, devotion, and dedication. I wanted to be a part of an organization that had been at the forefront of creating programs which continue to improve political, education, social, international, and economic conditions for others.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Delta Nu Chapter is Dynamic in every way. My 10 Charter members paved the way for Delta Nu to produce Hardworking, Dedicated and Intelligent women of Distinction. My chapter was the last Sorority to be chartered on the Campus of Savannah State University (College) , but we set ourselves a part by our educational and quality programming that our chapter delivers. The Delta Nu Chapter has won Chapter of the year numerous times and has received Highest GPA among other Divine 9 orgs as well.
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?
Undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to remember why their founders founded their organizations and uphold their principles and live by them daily. We are no longer just “Jane Doe” and “John Doe” we are now “Jane Doe the “insert org” and John Doe the “insert org “and we represent an entire national organization. Think before you post and be slow to expose other individuals. Refrain from wearing your letters while indulging in inappropriate activities as well.
What does leadership mean to you?
I believe Leadership is an opportunity to serve and be an example for others to follow. Leadership is encouraging others rise to their full potential while accomplishing goals.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is very essential to Black greekdom because it reminds us of how important our historic organizations are and it displays accomplished African Americans that children and adults on social media can look up to. Watch the Yard uses its platform for the greater good and I love all the positivity.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood to me means to be genuine , kind, a shoulder to be leaned on and respectful. A sisterhood is beautiful and pure and should not be filled with hate or envy. Sisterhood is also accepting each other for each others’ flaws and knowing that no matter what you will always have one another.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on attending either Savannah State University or Jackson State University for Graduate school for my Masters of Social Work Degree.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Rayshonna Durham for her work as the president of Delta Nu Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1952.