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 Delta Epsilon Chapter at Alcorn State University and did an interview with Erica Nelson 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 Nelson 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 Radiation Technology 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?
Being a Chapter President, means remembering that I am charged with leading by example at all times. I am ultimately the face for our sorority on this campus and that my leadership sets the stage for scholarship, service and sisterhood as I represent our sorority. Not only am I the face for my Chapter, but I have to have the best listening ear to hear everyone’s opinions, thoughts and to always remember my fellow sisters’ feelings. Sometimes as a chapter president, it challenges me to be a better leader and allows me to grow for the future. From a president’s standpoint there is no better feeling than watching all of your hard work directly impact the chapter for the better.
What made you decide to attend the Alcorn State University for undergrad?
Once I toured the campus of Alcorn State University as a high school senior, I knew immediately this was the place for me. I fell in love with the family-oriented atmosphere and environment. I can truly attest, that while Alcorn may not have been my first choice, but it has by far been my best choice. I love Alcorn, “where the grass is greener, the air is cleaner, and the water is just a little bit sweeter.” Alcorn is a great example of setting the bar for a rich and pure education, and a very present example of where knowledge and character matters.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
Successful programs and projects were all thoughtfully considered and will be coordinated with our Five Point Thrust in mind.
- Our Second Annual DE-finitely Not Crazy: A Domestic Violence Seminar for students. This is an amazing event for awareness and steps to help with Domestic Violence
- Get Your Credit Up with the Financial Aid Department – After college you’re going to need credit. Students will be able to learn how to raise their credit.
- Financial Improvement – learning how to improve your finances for after college life. Students will be able to learn ways how to deal with debt after college.
- Empowerment Brunch – in collaboration with other sororities on campus
- Trash Your Insecurities – a self-love event for on campus students
- Our Annual Deltacise- encourages students to partake in physical exercise
- Consent is Sexy – a discussion about how your voice matters before, during or after you are raped
- Collaborating with different organizations on campus
- Election Day Transportation – provide students with rides to the polls
- Freshman Move-In Day – assist with freshman move-in and welcoming them to the campus
- Blood Drive – encouraging students to donate blood to help others
The Devastating Delta Epsilon Chapter is also celebrating our 70 Year Anniversary, which we were chartered on the campus of Alcorn State University on October 31, 1949, this year we will donate to our scholarship fund on Homecoming Day.
What made you want to pledge Delta Sigma Theta?
The definition of Delta means change, change to me means taking leadership, standing out and capturing something new or making a difference that no one else would make. Delta Sigma Theta sparked my mind when I was in middle school, I would always see members of Delta Sigma Theta working hard in my community to make my community look better not only on the outside, but on the inside as well. I then became a member of the educational development program Delta GEMS. Members of Delta Sigma Theta are always in the community or even in the forefront in the world, they are strong women who never give up, they are always first in everything. These characteristics fit me personally. The sisterhood that I saw growing up seeing these women made me want to pledge this glorious sorority.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Our chapter has worked diligently and efficiently the entire sorority year to produce innovative, meaningful, relatable, as well as, impactful programs and projects throughout the campus and community of Alcorn State University. Our chapter members have consistently worked together to strengthen our presence and efforts to build unity, and to spread essential knowledge on our campus. I credit each member with always having bright ideas, and consistently offering feedback to be creative and unique. I also feel that having gone through some rough patches with each other, as most sisters do, makes us better sisters, better women and definitely a better chapter. All of our hard work was paid off when we were recognized as Collegiate Large- Chapter of the Year, at our 54th National Convention. We were also recognized on our campus with, Highest GPA, Most Improved Sorority of the Year, 2019 SGA Braves Choice Award-NPHC Sorority of the Year, NPHC Best Social Program of the Year, NPHC Best Social Awareness Program of the Year and 2019 Neophyte Step Show Winners.
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?
We have to remember the amount of impact that the media has in power and influence. Therefore, we have to do our part in portraying positive images and bringing aware to important issues instead of negative ones. It is our goal to show the positive outcome of what our Chapters does, especially since majority of our peers look up to us as leaders. Attending a HBCU, social media is used a lot for many different things that allows you to find out what’s going on around campus or the community. It is an easier way to check in your Chapter’s community service projects, awards, upcoming events or even share campus news.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means having the ability and desire to obtain and demonstrate some very important characteristics at all time. Those characteristics are: Accountable, Communicative, Creative, Honest, Integrity, Inspirational, and Empowering. Showing leadership does not have to have anyone standing around for you to do the right thing. Leadership is having the initiative to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, with no excuses.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard is a great asset to the black greekdom. I honestly feel that this social media program shows the positivity that each Greek organization brings. It also promotes great greek unity. I personally am glad that Watch the Yard is around to help support the different Greek organizations.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means to me having a relationship with other women who share similar values as myself that our sorority was found upon, such as Christian principles, scholarship, service to all mankind and uplifting our black community. Sisterhood also means helping my sisters through dark times, being a great listening ear when needed, being able to have her back no matter what the circumstances maybe. Being loyal to my sorority and line sisters means everything to me. I love and respect all of my devastating sisters within my sorority.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to work for a Nuclear Power Plant preferably Entergy. I am striving to become a Radiation Technician. I also want to join an Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta and become an advisor for Delta GEMS. One other goal I would like to achieve is starting my own scholarship in my hometown for young minority ladies, which will be called Brookhaven Minority Women in Technology or Engineering. The main focus is to inspire more African American women to study technology or engineering.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Erica Nelson for her work as the president of Delta Epsilon Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1949.