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 Xi Eta Chapter Chapter at Georgia Southern University and did an interview with Taraya Bratton 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 Bratton 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 Public Health 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 the President of the Electrifying Xi Eta Chapter at Georgia Southern University is a dream come true. When I was initiated into this esteemed chapter almost two years ago, I envisioned myself one day becoming the president of this chapter. As a sophomore and one of the youngest on my line I watched as my line sisters ran the chapter successfully, while receiving several regional awards along the way. They taught me the importance of hard work, dedication, and the value of sisterhood. Being the chapter president, my top priority is the well-being of the chapter members. I truly believe that the key to any successful organization is effective communication. I pride myself on having open and honest communication with all members of my chapter. There is no way, I can fulfill my duties as a president without my chapter, so being a president to me means being a sister first and president second.
What made you decide to attend the Georgia Southern University for undergrad?
I decided to attend Georgia Southern University because I wanted to get outside of my comfort zone. Being from a big city I feared how I would adjust to the small town of Statesboro, GA. However, these past four years I have not only adjusted, but excelled while at Georgia Southern University. Iâ€™ve grown both personally and professionally and learned integral skills which will follow me for a lifetime. GSU has challenged me into becoming the absolute best version of myself every day. Iâ€™m surrounded by people who support, encourage, and inspire me daily to reach my dreams. Iâ€™m eternally grateful to Georgia Southern University because it has made me fight for what I want, brought out skills I never knew I had, and allowed me to meet people who have made a difference in my life for the better.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
This semester we are focusing on several community service projects that are geared towards the maintenance of not only the physical health of students at Georgia Southern, but their mental health as well. As a chapter we are planning to have mini boot camps to help promote and encourage physical exercise. While, also having forums which discuss the importance of maintaining one’s mental health. Within our programs we are hoping to emphasize the importance of breaking the stigma around mental health and working out. We hope our initiatives bring the campus together in feeling more comfortable in partaking in difficult, but necessary conversations in and outside of the Statesboro community.
What made you want to pledge Delta Sigma Theta?
While growing up I was deeply impacted by Delta women who affirmed through their actions the importance of serving the community. These women instilled in me values that are consistent with what it means to be a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc: hard working, resilient, and dedicated. Through my own research I learned that Delta women were at the forefront of monumental change and truly wanted to make the world a better place. Just from this research I learned that becoming a Delta would not only make me a better person, but also allow me to change the world one social action at a time.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Electrifying Xi Eta Chapter is filled with phenomenal women who have all continued to do amazing things well after graduation. Our chapter is unique in that we are blessed to have the current Regional Director of the Dynamic Southern Region, Sandra K. Horton, as one of our charter members. She has instilled in us the importance of leading by example and always striving for excellence.
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?
With the progression of the digital world we are now able to expand our outreach to community’s worldwide. It is important that we are showcasing our community activism and highlighting the hard work of our chapter across all organizations on our perspective campuses.
What does leadership mean to you?
To be a successful leader I have learned that you must possess certain qualities such as leading by example, remaining humble, and being adaptive. When I think of a successful leader, I think of someone who is not only honest with themselves but with their team and their community. As a leader I strive to work with my chapter members to develop programs that enrich and grow our community.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom because it highlights and emphasizes the positive endeavors of all Divine Nine Organizations. It continues to shine a light on organizations that are making it a priority to serve their community. Watch The Yard inspires both greek and non-greek individuals to continue to change the world with their own voice and talent. Through Watch the Yard, we as a Black Greekdom are encouraged to support one another in all our individual and communal successes.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
No matter where I go, I know I will forever have my sorors. My sorors are my shoulder to cry on and my sisters to laugh with. My sorors are my light in the dark. Sisterhood is something that’s understood without saying a word. It’s a connection deeper than words. It’s a full, deep history. It’s courageous, strong, and beautiful women making a difference. I know that the bond I have with my sisters will last forever, and there is no greater filling that having women who uplift you and support you in a time of need. I truly believe my sisters are a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduating in May 2020, I plan on enrolling in the Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management Program at Georgia Southern University. As well, as joining an alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and continue to lead in the community and network.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Taraya Bratton for her work as the president of Xi Eta Chapter Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1979.