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 Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.’s Omicron Epsilon Chapter at Christian Brothers University and did an interview with Avyon Bess the Polemarch/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. 21-year-old Bess 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 Business Administration with Concentration in Management Information Systems 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 Polemarch/president to you?
Being chapter president for me is a huge honor and responsibility. I am the liaison between my chapter and my school, so being professional is very important to me since I represent my chapter. I love how being chapter president gives me a platform to reach other young men similar to myself and help then in any way that they may need. It also puts me in positions to work with other like minded individuals who I may not have met otherwise.
What made you decide to attend the Christian Brothers University for undergrad?
Since I have a military family I have moved from city to city. The last place I moved to was Millington, TN which is right outside Memphis. When I was looking for colleges to attend I wanted somewhere that was not to far from home, so I could go and leave whenever I wanted. I also knew I wanted a school that was not to large, so I can form personal relationships with my professors and not just be another student in the class. That is why I chose Christian Brothers University. It is a small private school located in Memphis, TN. It is approximately thirty minutes from my house in Millington. The class room size is small. The average class size is around 15-20. It is easy for my to communicate with my professors and advisor when I choose to.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
One initiative that my chapter is heading up on this year that I am very excited about is the Konfidence Kampaign. We are having events every month that helps bring awareness to mental health while at the same time helping students feel more confident in themselves.
What made you want to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi?
I was not knowledgeable of greek life until I started school at CBU. During my freshman year I had a mentor who was an alumni from my school. He was basically my professional big brother. He taught me how to behave in a professional setting, how to network, and how to build a resume. Later on that year I realized he was a brother of Kappa Alpha Psi, so I reached out to him in means of learning more about the fraternity. My interest ended up with me joining my current chapter.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
We were chartered at a small PWI in 1999, so that means I am blessed to have a young chapter. The one aspect that makes my chapter unique is that I personally know and can talk to all of my charter members. They are all successful in their fields of expertise, so any professional help I may need they are more than willing to assist. On any given day I am able to call them or just go to one of their homes to hang out and talk. That is something many other chapters are not able to do.
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?
All undergraduate chapters in their prospective orgs should use social media as a tool to further their purpose. Everything you do is being monitored so you have to be careful how you represent yourself on social media especially when you are representing your organization.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is an investment. You have to invest in others as well as yourself. My leadership style includes leading by example, and servant leadership. I am willing to help any and everyone that I am able to help. In doing this I may never know who I may inspire to do the same.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard always bring awareness to things that are taking place in our community which is very crucial. As well as highlight the achievements of every org which is important to me because it combats the negativity that is associated with greek life.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
To me brotherhood means being there for someone whenever, however, or wherever needed. A personally example of mine is one day I was leaving work I had a tire blowout in the middle of traffic. A brother from the Memphis alumni chapter pulled over when he saw my Kappa tags and assisted me in changing my tire. Previous to this encounter we did not know each other. It is just one of the numerous examples of how strong the bond is.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I plan on going to Graduate school to get my Master degree in Cyber security. After that I plan on opening my own game development company.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Avyon Bess for his work as the president of Omicron Epsilon Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1999.