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 Gamma Alpha Chapter at Xavier University of Louisiana and did an interview with Camaya Matthews 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. 21-year-old Camaya Matthews 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 Speech Pathology 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?
Being chapter president to me means that you are willing to not only defend the chapter but those within your chapter. It means you’re dedicated to ensuring your chapters legacy continues and taking your chapter to new heights.
What made you decide to attend Xavier University of Louisiana for undergrad?
I decided to attend Xavier University of Louisiana to step outside of my comfort zone. Most people where I’m from go to school in the surrounding areas and I wanted a change of scenery and to be challenged. The strong academic background of Xavier and the success stories of alumni also encouraged my decision. Xavier has an amazing Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences Department and I’m able to get hands on training in the field I’m interested in.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
This year my chapter is focused on programs that discuss current issues in today’s society. We’ve had initiatives based on body positivity and the cost of perfection (I.e. botched surgeries), the immigration and refugee crisis, lupus awareness, sexual assault and more. We think that initiatives like this will give students and the surrounding community a better idea of what is going on in the world today and a safe space to talk about situations that may not receive as much attention, specifically in the Black community.
What made you want to pledge Delta Sigma Theta?
I wanted to pledge Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. because I wanted to be a part of an organization that broke the mold. They changed the game in a major way and set a different tone for sororities. When I think of a Delta woman I think of someone that is strong, determined, poised, hardworking, and dedicated. Those were all characteristics that I wanted to continue developing and I knew Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. would help me to do just that.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
What makes my chapter so unique is our drive and unique dynamic. We have people from all different walks of life and majors, but we come together perfectly to make programs that are relevant and important to us all. We take initiative an although we all have specific titles, we still help one another complete the task at hand. We are constantly working with and without our letters on and go above and beyond the goals we set for ourselves. We live up to the title of being Gorgeously Achieving.
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 people just need to keep in mind that you’re always wearing your letters and there’s a certain level of expectations that you have to uphold. You’re not only representing yourself but also your organization. Use your platform in a beneficial manner and remember why you joined your respective org. Exude the principles of your organization at all times, especially in today’s digital world.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to means to take charge when necessary but also know when it’s tome to sit back and listen. It means to make conscious decisions for not just yourself but all people. Leadership also means to do the right thing when no one else is watching.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom because it shows the positive sides of our organizations. It shows the work that we’re putting in with and without letters, not just the strolling and parties that we have. Watch the Yard highlights our achievements on our campuses and in our communities. It’s important to Black Greekdom because it shows the rest of the world why we joined our organization.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood to me means family. Sometimes with family you have to tell them what they need to hear and not what they want to hear, so that they can learn and grow from the decisions they make. Sisterhood means helping where someone may fall short and pushing them to continue being the best person they can be. It’s a support system that you can turn to at any time and know that you’re not alone.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation I plan on attending law school to earn my J.D.. I also will be serving in the military as a newly commissioned second Lieutenant. Furthermore I hope to join a graduate chapter to continue developing my leadership skills and serve my organization.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Camaya Matthews for her work as the president of Gamma Alpha Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1940.