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 Zeta Delta Chapter at the University of South Florida and did an interview with Isaac Hawkins 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. 23-year-old Isaac Hawkins 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 Biological Health Science major and talked about his 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 chapter president means to be the guiding light for all of your chapter. It means to be the man who brings the vision of your chapter to life and essentially be a servant leader.
What made you decide to attend the University of South Florida for undergrad?
I have always sought out growth from a young age. During my senior year of high school I decided that I would leave home and go as far away as possible to have true independence. This actually lead me to a private school name The University of Tampa. Being from South Los Angeles, I went through a major cultural shock when attending that university. Ultimately this pushed me to transfer to The University of South Florida and seek a more diverse campus.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
Zeta Delta’s most prominent initiative is Project Shop, an annual event in which we take kids from an underprivileged community (Grant Park) Christmas shopping at Walmart. In the last three years we have raised over $15,000 towards Project Shop and sponsored over 200 children to go shopping. I believe Project Shop works as a reminder to the community that it does not require much to impact the lives of the youth. Taking kids shopping in Walmart, having meaningful conversation and fellowship can be very impactful for our people.
What made you want to pledge Iota Phi Theta?
The youth of Iota is one of the major factors in why I chose to pledge. Because Iota is such a young organization, the room for growth, improvement, and impact is endless. I want to be a brother who makes history for my organization, not one that just sits not he accomplishments of the past.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The level of Black Excellence in my chapter is absolutely amazing. Being surrounded by so many like minded individuals who all strive to be the greatest at everything they do is inspiring. We are a chapter filled with Moguls; men who can genuinely do any and everything we set our minds to and we still keep the community and being the best versions of ourselves at our core.
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?
I believe all chapters in the Undergraduate world need to hold themselves to higher standards of content and remember that we joined these Black Greek Letter Organizations in order to not only uplift ourselves, but to pave a way for those behind us. Everything we post has the potential to impact a life, and we should always strive to represent ourselves in the best way possible.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means to uplift, teach, and bring out the maximum potential of those around you. You do not have to be aggressive, mean, or demanding to be a leader. Instead, a leader observes those around him and looks to improve those individuals for the betterment of all.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I believe Watch The Yard is a prime example of Black Excellence in the Greek community. It is very easy to get swept up in the abundant social life that the Greek community offers. Watch The Yard pushes us to be better than our past selves in a healthy way by complimenting and rewarding success.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood means more than just having your brothers back in a time of need. It means to hold your brother accountable for everything they do, whether it be positive or negative and to know that it comes from a place of love and not malice. It means to have fidelity to the affairs of that person and their life and it means to have unshakeable trust in one another.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
Once I graduate, I plan on taking a gap year to study, take my GREs, and apply for a Physical Therapy Program. I also plan on getting involved with my local grad chapter, whether it be in Tampa, California, or Texas (depending upon where I move post graduation).
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Isaac Hawkins for his work as the president of Zeta Delta Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 2003.