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 brothers of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.’s Epsilon Psi Chapter at the University of Southern Mississippi and did an interview with Brandon Spann the president of the chapter.
The position of president of an undergraduate chapter of a Black fraternity is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. 20-year-old Brandon Spann has used the position to gain new leadership experience, improve the lives of other students on campus and help the community around him.
We interviewed the Theater major and talked about his 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?
Serving as the Chapter President of the Electrifying Epsilon Psi Chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. has been an absolute pleasure. The chapter was chartered on the campus of Southern Miss on April 19, 2003 and I have the chance to make history along with other brothers in the chapter. I have also been able to make connections with brothers from different areas and also members of different organizations that can aid with the future I hope to have for myself. I plan to leave my chapter better than I found it.
What made you decide to attend the University of Southern Mississippi for undergrad?
The University of Southern Mississippi is a very well known institution in the South and undoubtedly has one of the strongest theatre departments. I felt as if attending this school would help me broaden my knowledge and skill of the performing arts. This is truly a great campus with nothing but smiling faces and helping hands.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
The Electrifying Epsilon Psi Chapter has plans to focus in on addressing the needs of the African American Youth in our community through the Iota Youth Alliance, one of the many national service initiatives our organization has. Through this initiative, we will be able to start up programs for things such as college awareness, manhood development, mentorship, etc. Our community is very dynamic and there is always something to be learned and to be taught.
What made you want to pledge Iota Phi Theta?
Everyday I am more and more proud of my decision to join Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. The way that the those who came before me carried themselves is one of the things that really drew me in. They exemplified the principles and what it meant to be an Iota Man. Brother Jelani Williams was the first to ever to speak to me about Iota and he spoke so passionately about it and was able to answer every single question that I had. From that moment, I knew that I would be able to join this organization and better myself and my community and gain true brotherhood.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
One thing that makes this chapter unique is the fact that everyone is their own individual. There are different personalities and backgrounds but we are always still able to handle business and compromise.
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?
Social media has become more and more prominent over time and as undergrad chapters, we can most definitely use that to our advantage. A lot of people already have pre-conceived notions about who we are and what we do, but the use of social media for advertisement of events, updates on the accomplishments of chapter members, etc. can give a true depiction of what it means to be a part of the Divine 9.
What does leadership mean to you?
To me, being a leader means that one is able to effectively handle business but also make sure that voices of each and every team member is heard. We are a collective unit which means that any decision made will affect everyone involved, but it is up to the leader to motivate the team to push towards the bigger goal.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard does an excellent job with showcasing and highlighting the positive aspects of Black greekdom. We are in generation in which Greek Life receives so much negative feedback and Watch The Yard makes sure to personally show the work that each organizations puts in to fulfill the purpose of our respective organization.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
A true brotherhood is one where the love is truly unconditional. In my time as a member, I’ve been able to witness the bond amongst brothers of many different backgrounds. We always keep the “No man left behind” mentality anywhere we travel. I appreciate how we have built relationships outside of the organization as well. I can undoubtedly receive support no matter the situation.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I am currently in my junior year and believe that I have some more time to completely figure out what it is that I would like to do following graduation. At the moment, I am leaning towards attending graduate school so that I may gain the necessary knowledge and tools to teach the performing arts on a college level. I found theatre seven years ago and immediately fell in love. It has opened so many doors for me to do things that I never even imagined doing and I want to be able to share that passion with others.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Brandon Spann for his work as the president of Epsilon Psi Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 2003.