This summer, the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi held a conference for their Junior Vice Polemarchs (JVPs), the undergraduate brothers who have been chosen by the fraternity to represent regional leadership of the fraternity.
In an effort to highlight these young brothers, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the fraternity and were put in contact with them for interviews. Among these JVPs was Jessie Townsend, a 21-year-old Spring 2017 initiate of the fraternity’s Lambda Gamma Chapter at Winthrop University who is the Junior Vice Polemarch of the Southeastern Province which is made up of South Carolina, Georgia, Nigeria and South Africa.
We talked to the Exercise Science major about his position and goals.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a Junior Vice Province Polemarch to you?
In my opinion, being a Junior Vice Province Polemarch means that you must be an effective leader who knows how to inspire, guide, and is committed to overall work of the fraternity. As I serve at the forefront of all the undergraduates within my province, it is vital that I possess a vision that will ultimately better the fraternity, the individual chapters, and improve the communities that are served by Kappa Alpha Psi. I must be that powerful voice for the undergraduates and ensure that they are executing the duties of assisting the aims and purposes of colleges and universities.
What are the specific initiatives you are working on this year in your province?
My specific initiatives that I intend to work on are all based on my LEAD initiative which consists of Learn, Educate, Action, and Develop. My specific initiatives focus on increasing representation from undergraduates, more opportunities for networking and career building, continuing the development of our S.E.L.F. Foundation, and working to bridge the traditional gap between undergraduates and alumni so that there is a smoother transition once brothers have graduated.
What are you doing this year to specifically support the undergraduate chapters that you represent?
To specifically support the undergraduate chapters that I represent I am creating strategies and semester plans to help them excel within the fraternity, on campus, and in their respective communities. This can simply be by suggesting specific community services, campus forums, and supporting any other events that they are holding. I also would like to focus on upperclassmen and provide opportunities to where they have the resources and tools to be employed as soon as they obtain their degree or pursue further education if they wish.
What made you want to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi?
I was exposed to Kappa Alpha Psi through my cousin (Alpha Lambda, Spring 2011) and my brother (Omicron Mu, Fall 2015) and they set the foundation for me to ultimately gain an interest in the fraternity. Once I arrived at Winthrop University, I began to look even deeper into Kappa and began doing heavy research and studying. Once I grasped so much information about the history of Kappa, I knew that I was ready to pledge Kappa and have a lifetime commitment to the ideals and purposes of the fraternity.
What is it about your province that makes it so unique in Kappa?
The Southeastern Province has a long history of achievement and exceptional leadership from many brothers within the fraternity. At this moment, we have the distinct pleasure of having the 33rd Grand Polemarch, Thomas L. Battles, Jr. as a member within our province. Also, the Grand Keeper of Records and Exchequer, Chester Leaks calls the Southeastern province his home as well. This is why I consider my province unique in Kappa because we have always taken in pride in leading this fraternity and achieving beyond measures.
In what ways have you experienced mentorship from alumni brothers as a JVP?
Even prior to me being elected in my current position as JVP, I had experienced a lot of relationships with alumni brothers being a mentor to me. I have always made it a priority to get to know alumni brothers and grasp any knowledge or advice they have to offer. Ever since I became a JVP, the amount of mentorship that I receive has grown exponentially. I am constantly meeting brothers all over the country and all have reached out a helping hand to ensure I am successful in my role. In addition, they are always prepping me for life after undergraduate and entering the “real world.”
We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2018?
I think in this modern day, undergraduate chapters across all orgs should make sure that they have a presence online whether it is their personal website, Instagram, Twitter, etc. These platforms are vital so that their work is being exposed and displayed for everyone to see. In this digital world, exposure is everything to shine a light on the positive aspects of Greek life, and also furthering the purposes that each and every organization were originally founded on in the beginning.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom because it promotes Greek unity across all D9 organizations. They also emphasize and highlight the positive aspect of black Greeks whether it is through service, philanthropy, or embracing the culture that comes along with possessing letters. Watch The Yard creates social media platform that exposes the rest of the world to what black Greek organizations have to offer.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
To me, brotherhood means oneness. This carries through the notion of “One Kappa.” No matter where I am in the world or whatever I am in need of, there is always a brother there to help and offer assistance in any way possible. Brotherhood is being able to build connections through the fraternity and get that recommendation letter or “foot in the door” to better propel your professional career. Brotherhood is being in a new city and having brothers receptive and hospitable to you and treating you as if they have known you for years.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After I graduate, I plan on enrolling in a Doctoral program for Occupational Therapy. I will eventually seek a Master’s in Coaching as well, to pursue a career in coaching college basketball one day.
We at Watch The Yard would like to thank Jessie Townsend and the brothers at Kappa Alpha Psi including Ryan E. Tucker, MPA, the Director of Undergraduate & University Affairs for making this interview possible.
Share this on Facebook and let’s celebrate Jessie Townsend. and the brothers of the Southeastern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi.