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 Rho Eta Chapter at Lincoln University of MO and did an interview with Curtis Burton 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. 22-year-old Curtis Burton 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 Criminal Justice 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 polemarch/chapter president to you?
Originally chartered as Alpha Mu on January 30, 1932 and later rechartered as the Rho Eta of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc in 2013. It is with great pleasure and humbling to be the leader of such a unique chapter. Being the oldest chapter in the state of Missouri and coming from such a rich history and tradition, it’s not an easy job. I have the opportunity to continue to withhold the legacy of brothers who came before me, while working to leave a legacy for the brothers to come after.
What made you decide to attend Lincoln University of MO for undergrad?
I decided to attend Lincoln University of MO, because they decided to take a chance with me. Coming out of high school, I was the “model student” but I had the heart and determination to better myself and make difference in my life and the life of others. Lincoln University of MO has always been an institution that give an equal opportunity of higher education to everyone and that’s why I will forever be in appreciation of The Illustrious Lincoln University of MO (The Real LU).
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
The top initiative our chapter is working on, is reaching out to the young black males on our campus and in the community. Under our past Polemarch Brother Dominic Moody, our chapter started the “Ask A Black Man Lecture Series”. Every week we would bring in a different speaker from various walks in life that will basically take the time out to speak about some of the pressing issues in the black community specifically dealing with the Young Black Men. We have also started partnering with the Jefferson City Alumni Chapter with their Kappa League/ Guide Right, which is an national initiative charged from Grand Chapter. We believe that these two programs will greatly impact our campus and community.
What made you want to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi?
My mom is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., so I was always aware of Greek life, but never really understood it until college. Once I stepped foot on Lincoln University’s Campus, I noticed the Nupes work ethic on yard. They always threw the best programs and was always seen together. When looking into Greek life, it’s good to look at the bond that’s in front of you. I notice a true brotherhood between the brothers. Then when I went on to do my own research about the Fraternity, the main thing that stuck out to me was the word “Achievement”. Achievement in Every Field of Human Endeavor is something I’ve always stood on and that’s how I knew Kappa Alpha Psi was for me.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
With my chapter first being chartered in 1932 and later rechartered in 2013, you would think that it would be a disconnect between the different eras of brothers. However one thing my chapter pride itself on is being together and the bond! Being able to connect with brothers dating back to the 60’s and still having that connection, is what’s so unique about my chapter. The bond that was first built in 1932 on this campus, is still holding on strong!!!
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?
With us living in an digital world, I believe it is very crucial that chapters across all organizations, begin to publicize the good and positive things our organizations are doing. Black Greek life is under attack, and I believe it’s up to us to protect it and sustain Black Greek Life for our people’s future.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me is being able to first listen and analyze. A good leader, leads from the back and has the ability to listen and give an educational and developmental response in any case. I’ve learned that leadership is in every person, and I’ve charged myself with making sure that I help develop all the brothers in my chapter both professionally and in the bond. I challenge my chapter to be the best they can be in everything little thing they do. That’s what leadership means to me. Make the people around you great.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is very important to not only Black Greekdom but to the entire Black community. It’s a platform that allows Black Excellence to be displayed and put out on the front street. In times like today, where the Black community is steady under attack, we must continue to have platforms as such to shed the positive light on the world. Continue to stay true to your mission and progressing the Black Greekdom Community.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood to me means, we can come from all different paths of life and become this tight knit bunch of men that has the same goal in mind. Brotherhood is not perfect, but brotherhood is real. True brotherhood is the willingness to be there and lend a helping hand to a brother. Being able to have the unselfish concern for the welfare of others. That’s what true brotherhood exemplifies.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
My plans after graduation is to attend graduate school and receive a Masters of Education in Higher Education, Student Affairs. My ultimate goal is to one day be a HBCU President.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Curtis Burton for his work as the president of Rho Eta Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 2013 (and 1932 respectively).