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 sorors of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Beta Kappa Chapter at Livingstone College and did an interview with Damia Marshall 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 Marshall 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 Criminal Justice major and talked about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold a leadership on campus in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
A Chapter President to me is an individual who is determined to take on the charges and responsibilities that the chapter calls for. The Chapter President holds a good amount of weight but stays gracious throughout their term. They lead their chapter but know that there are Sorors standing with them for help whenever they need it. Chapter presidents also realize that they are continuing a legacy and hold their chapter in the best light. It should be the Chapter President’s personal duty to represent their chapter in the best way. It is an honor to be the Chapter President of the Beta Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In my year, I will provide programs that impact the student body and community to persevere in their academics and future. I want to help improve individuals in all aspects, especially in academics after undergrad, mental and physical health, as well as economic development and financial budgeting.
What made you decide to attend the Livingstone College for undergrad?
Livingstone College is the place that I have been destined to complete my undergraduate education at because it is the school that awarded me a full presidential scholarship. It was a blessing to receive the chance to go to a school without having to worry about financial debts. As I moved along throughout my years at Livingstone College, I began to realize that it was the place where God had placed me. Since my freshmen year, I felt like Livingstone was my second home. I strengthened my spirituality here, gained mentors here and developed lifelong friendships and sisters here. I wanted to attend a Historically Black College or University that was far from my home. I’m from Fayetteville, North Carolina and Livingstone is two hours and a half away. That distance is far enough for me.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
The specific initiatives the Beta Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., is heading up this year are more programs focusing on International Awareness. It is important for people to understand another’s culture and respect it. As part of a leading organization on my campus, Beta Kappa invites international students to speak at our programs and tell us about their culture and we share ours. We try to incorporate all of our initiatives into every program that we host on campus. Other Initiatives that is special for us to highlight are voting registration and participating in World Aids Day.
What made you want to pledge Delta Sigma Theta?
Coming to Livingstone College , I wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than me. I wanted to impact individuals lives for the better and at the same time find my purpose and improve my life. In my first semester at Livingstone College, I met a young woman by the name of Jenna Wright. She was a part of the Bold and Benevolent Beta Kappa chapter on my campus. Jenna was first my suite-mate, then she became a close mentor to me throughout my freshmen year. As the year went on I saw how all of the sorors on the yard carried themselves. Deltas went to class, worked hard on the yard, and was heavily involved in the community. Those were some of the things that I wanted to partake in and be a part of. On April 7, 2018 I pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, INC., and it is one of the best decisions that I have made.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Bold and Benevolent Beta Kappa Chapter is very prominent on my campus. I know every chapter thinks they are different but all of my sisters and Big Sisters that have crossed before me have went on to do amazing careers. Beta Kappa is a chapter that is filled with charismatic and strong women. Many sorors have went on to travel the world, become teachers, business owners, chiropractors with their own practice, judges, and that just names a few. Beta Kappa has been known to put on strong programs on campus and come in first place in many step shows and yard shows. Beta Kappa also has a strong relationship with our advisors that instills in us each day lessons and opportunities. Beta Kappa has strengthened many young women to achieve anything they believe in. Those are the very reasons that sets my chapter apart.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
Undergraduate chapters across all organizations need to post all of the community service work that they are doing in the community on social media. This is one of the great things about Social Media. We can use social media to promote positive activities that is strengthening the black community. It is special to see the divine 9 in a positive light. That is why it is important for all of the NPHC to post the programs that we are holding.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means to me a person who is willing to strive for the better in everything that they a part of. Leadership involves helping others to not only accomplish their goals but the organizations goals as well. Leadership does not mean to control but to guide and help others. To be a leader is an honor not a job. It takes a special person to realize the amount of people that they can help if they are compassionate and strong enough to take on that task. Leaders are admirable, patient, strong, dependable, trustworthy and dedicated. Leadership is a task that I hold close to my heart because it is in my purpose to help others that are less fortunate than me. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, INC., has built me to become an even stronger leader that I could have imagined.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important to black greekdom because it publicizes the positive activities that the Divine 9 are participating in. The positive most definitely outweighs the negatives. With the programs, conventions, step shows, and community service that is posted on the account it shows the hard work that young black students are doing to progress in this society. It needs to be recognized and Watch The Yard is the perfect tool to do that.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means a bond that is strengthened through love, experiences, and growth. A sister is someone who is always there for her sisters no matter what circumstance. They will go though anything for one another and help each other whenever they need it. A sister is compassionate, loving, and real. Sisterhood is a beautiful thing that I am blessed to have with my line sisters, big sisters and sorors.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on attending Law School either in Indiana, Chicago or Houston, Texas. My plan is to study family law, and own my own practice. Once I get settled into my career, I want to then work with prison reform and prisoners reentry into the society. After my years of practice, I plan to become a judge and help with smart decarceration and true justice for individuals especially minorities.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Damia Marshall for her work as the president of Beta Kappa Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1947.