In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.’s Oklahoma City Alumni Chapter and did an interview with Eddie Sarpong Jr. the Polemarch of the chapter.
The position of Polemarch/president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Sarpong, who works as in Information Technology, has been in the position of Polemarch for 1 year.
We interviewed Sarpong, who is a Fall 2015/Oklahoma City Alumni initiate of his fraternity and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?
When I first got into the fraternity, I heard a more seasoned brother make a comment and it has always stuck with me “The position seeks you, you do not seek the position”. Due to those words, I have never sought or asked for any position I have held in my chapter I have always let them come to me. Becoming Polemarch was no different when the chapter asked me to take the position, I was truly humbled and appreciative that the chapter had enough faith in me to lead this chapter.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the local community or the broader Black community?
Our annual Christmas turkey giveaway has always been one of our key staples with giving back to the community. We will continue to partner with the local elementary schools, we have welcomed the kids back to school on the first day along with other members of the divine nine for the past few years and this year was no different. We will also be going to read to the students throughout the year with as a part of our Room to Read national initiative. We also have and will continue to volunteer with the Oklahoma Food Bank to assist in their efforts to feed Oklahoman’s. We have clothes drives throughout the year especially targeting those winter clothes to hopefully warm up some people in need this winter.
What made you want to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi?
Research honestly, I went into college not knowing a lot about fraternities but in the process of doing my research on each group I learned that men I looked up too and respected growing up were men of Kappa Alpha Psi. Besides learning that this fraternity was the only one that spoke to me and felt right for me so that is why I wanted to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Oklahoma City Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. is the oldest black Greek letter organization in the state of Oklahoma. Chartered April 25th 1922, the Oklahoma City Alumni Chapter led the way for Black greekdom in the state.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Time and availability I believe the biggest disconnect between undergrad and graduate chapters is accessibility. I have spoken to many undergrads who feel like they have no connection or access to the alumni brothers. So I make a point to make everything we do on the alumni level available to the undergrads and in the same vein make sure alumni brothers are going to support our undergraduate chapters.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
Opportunities of bonding my chapter is fortunate to have a frat house so one of the things I do is open the house at minimum once a month to not only my chapter brothers but all of the Kappa’s in the city both Alumni and undergrads to get together and just fellowship. In my time as Polemarch this has been very effective in building that camaraderie amongst the brothers.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your fraternity/sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
Best advice I would give is if you are placed in a role of leadership in your chapter that means the chapter trust you. So don’t second guess anything that you want to do if the chapter didn’t trust you and how you think then you would not be in that position. Be yourself don’t try to be the leaders before you.
How has mentorship helped you get to where you are today? Are there any specific people in your org who have made a significant impact on your life as mentors?
Since joining this fraternity there has been nothing but exceptional mentors from some of my older brothers. Some directly taking me to the side to explain how things are ran within the chapter to some doing it by example. The Polemarch’s that came before me are my number one source when I have something I want to bounce off someone or an idea I want to try. There is nothing like being able to speak to those who stood in your shoes before you.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is huge because it shows all sides of black greekdom. So many only see the probates and step shows so they come to think that’s all black greekdom is about. Watch The Yard always shows the work that is being done around the country by all the members of the divine nine. We have fun for sure, but we also work twice as hard and Watch The Yard has been a great outlet to showcase that hard work.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
Not to sound too cliché but Kappa Alpha Psi was the only org for me. You join an org because that org aligns with your thought process and how you carry yourself as the org will become an extension of you. I love being a member of Kappa Alpha Psi because it does that and more!
Lastly, what does brotherhood mean to you?
A Bond is what it means to me one that traverses the globe. Knowing that I can go anywhere in this world and meet a stranger who is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and its like I have known him for years. All because that bond is strong among our members and that is what a brotherhood is supposed to be.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Eddie Sarpong Jr for his work as the Polemarch of the Oklahoma City Alumni Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1922.
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