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 Beta Alpha Chapter at Florida A&M University and did an interview with Marielle Cameron 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 Marielle Cameron 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 Business Administration major who is currently on a five-year MBA Program 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 me, being a Chapter President is to always uphold Delta’s standards. I am constantly making sacrifices for my chapter and must do my best to make myself available to chapter members for anything, especially conducting chapter business.
What made you decide to attend Florida A&M University for undergrad?
I am the first person in my family to attend college, so selecting the best university was a very serious decision for me. I wanted to create an everlasting legacy and blaze a new trail for my family, and there was no better place to do this than Florida A&M University (FAMU). It was really FAMU’s School of Business and Industry (SBI) and the marketing of their program at my high school, Lindblom Math and Science Academy, that drew me in. I refused to attend any other institution besides an HBCU, and although going to school almost 1,000 miles away from home was challenging and pushed me outside of my comfort zone, I know that I made the right choice.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
This upcoming year, some of our biggest initiatives include Support a Black Business, Niamoja, Frenchtown Explosion, and Delta Days at the Capitol.
Support a Black Business is one of our staple programs that benefits the surrounding Tallahassee community economically by encourage patronage at local black business through social media and other marketing tools, as well as financially supporting the business ourselves.
Niamoja is where active chapter members visit a specific school in our community and bond with the children through reading and activities. Delta Days at the Capitol is something we’re really excited about because, being at FAMU, we are right in the heart of the state of Florida and are located fairly close to the capitol. We will meet with legislators and attend different bill hearings to lobby for legislation that will have a strong impact on the members of our community.
Our biggest event coming up in the spring is Frenchtown Explosion, where we partner with other organizations to put on fun events for kids in a neighborhood near our university, and give out donated items such as clothes and toiletries.
We’re really excited to bring these events back and serve the campus and community. We can see how necessary these programs are to Tallahassee and can’t wait to give back.
What made you want to pledge Delta Sigma Theta?
In the year 2001, my mother and I resided at 1915 West 67th Street in Chicago, IL. We were forced to reside in a small, overcrowded home due to the loss of my mother’s job. Although our days were filled with many challenges, Saturdays were the best days because we were able to look forward to being provided fresh groceries from the small food pantry that rested across the street from my grandmother’s home. Every Saturday, my family and I were greeted at the food pantry by the calming smiles of women who were clothed in their brilliant crimson and cream shirts that vividly broadcasted the words, “Delta Sigma Theta”.
I aspire to be as instrumental to someone’s life as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated has been to mine. I strive to serve an organization of compassionate women who dedicated their valuable time to assuring that my family ate. Utilizing my past and present experiences, I will continue to bring forth ideas for educational, economic, and other stimulating programs that fall within my sorority’s Five Point Programmatic Thrust.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Real Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was the first chapter of Delta in Florida, and we hold this in very high regard. Our chapter has always been comprised of the most illustrious women on the campus of Florida A&M. Miss FAMU, FAMU’s Electoral Commissioner, SGA Vice President, and FAMU’s very first female drum majors are all my line sisters. We’re all very hard workers and extremely dedicated to using our skills and privilege to uplift the community. Many of us have even accepted job offers with prestigious companies such as Google, Microsoft, Eli Lilly, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Prior to becoming chapter president, I was the first marketing intern for Lexus Marketing. We’ve always initiated very prestigious women into Delta, such as the First African-American female mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms, Past Delta Sigma Theta National President Mona Humphries Bailey, and more. We are often referred to as “the BADST” because that’s the acronym for our chapter, but being the BADST to us means running things the way that Delta women should. We embody this through our service to the community, campus programs, and scholarship. We have also won our university’s homecoming step show for 11 consecutive years
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?
In today’s digital age, it’s very important that chapters document all the strides they’re making in their communities. Videos and photos to show the difference your chapter is making in their surrounding areas is necessary to show others what you’ve been doing to represent Delta, and it’s a great way to set an example for others and encourage them to give back to their community as well. These photos and videos should be posted to a chapter social media account or website so it’s easy for others to find and gives your chapter the necessary exposure.
Chapter websites should be updated and allow for submissions from community members so they can express what they feel the chapter should be doing to best meet their needs.
Social media is a great tool but can also be dangerous. Chapter members should have a set standard for their personal accounts so as not to present a bad image of themselves, the chapter, or Delta.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is being able to effectively balance the roles of taking the lead, and supporting whoever is taking the lead. Being impartial, selfless, and always willing to make sacrifices is also essential to being a leader. To lead a chapter you must always take into account their needs before your own.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard keeps our organizations and their purposes relevant and keeps us in the know about what is happening in Black Greek Letter Organizations all over the world. It also shows people, who may not know what a D9 organization is, our legacy and what we do and have done for over 100 years. Watch the Yard is place for us to become one and have our stories shared.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Being a sister means a long-lasting bond of unconditional love. Remaining selfless, honest, and true to your sister even in the toughest circumstances, and never being afraid to be vulnerable. It means portraying an impartial spirit when helping resolve an issue, and always being an open ear but a closed mouth. You must accept one another’s flaws and be quick to forgive mistakes. You should be someone to talk to when there is no one else, and never doubt, shame, or speak negatively on your sister
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
Post graduating from FAMU’s Five-year Professional MBA Program, my plans are to accept a position with a dynamic corporation where my customer relations skills can be properly utilized to enhance the company brand name. My long-term goals are to establish homeless shelters and healthcare clinics for women and low-income housing on the south side of Chicago, IL. I also plan to further my education by obtaining my PhD in Public Health.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Marielle Cameron for her work as the president of Beta Alpha Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1937.
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