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Kappa Alpha Psi’s Junior Grand Vice Polemarch, Chris Cross, Opens Up About Undergraduate Leadership

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 org.

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. We were given the honor of interviewing Chris Cross, a 22-year-old Spring 2016 initiate of the fraternity’s Lambda Pi Chapter at the University of Mississippi who is the Junior Grand Vice Polemarch of the fraternity and represents undergraduates across the nation.

We talked to the recent grad who is now doing Masters of Theological Studies at Emory University about his position and goals.

Read the full interview below.

What does it mean to be a Junior Grand Vice Polemarch to you?

Being Junior Grand Vice Polemarch means that I, along with the other undergraduate grand chapter officers, (Andre Earls, Ivan Garcia, Christopher Raxton, Terrell Richardson, and Nathaniel Girma) represent undergraduates everywhere. We are constantly relaying the concerns of the undergraduates to our Grand Polemarch, Thomas L. Battles Jr. At the same time, we have to relay and implement the vision of the Grand Polemarch to the undergraduates in the fraternity.

What are the specific initiatives you are working on this year in your province?

Nationally, we are working on implementing a new leadership and summit to have at our National Founders Day Program for undergraduates. Along with that we are pushing voter registration, support for iKare Disaster Relief Program, financial literacy, emphasizing the importance of mental health awareness, and continuing the good work of our Guide Right program which is making differences of grade school kids of color all throughout the nation.

What are you doing this year to specifically support the undergraduate chapters that you represent?

One of the main things that I have already started doing to support undergraduate chapters is having conversations with undergraduates about the power that we can potentially wield when we are taking care of the business of Kappa Alpha Psi. Furthermore, I am having seminars with undergraduates about risk management, liability, and our intake process. Undergraduates have got to abide by the rules and policies concerning intake, and look beyond their respective chapters by being committed to the notion of One Kappa so that we all show deference to the fraternity as a whole.

What made you want to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi?

I wanted to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi due to the influence of my middle school principal who got me to join Kappa League back home in Meridian, MS as well as attend Kappa Kamp. My experience in Kappa League started me early on my path to want achieve in every field of human endeavor. Also, I have an older cousin who pledged Kappa at Ole Miss too who I looked up to a lot.

What is it about your province that makes it so unique in Kappa?

The South Central Province encompasses Kentucky, which is the birthplace of the Dreamer along with several of the other Founders of our Fraternity. Also, our Province is special because our current Province Polemarch, Leonard E. Clemons, is 35 years old, and has been in the position for three years, making him one of the youngest Province Polemarchs in the history of the fraternity. His young age also makes it easier for him to relate to undergraduates.

In what ways have you experienced mentorship from alumni brothers as a JVP?

While being Junior Grand Vice Polemarch, I have had the privilege to be mentored by all alumni Grand Chapter officers, especially the Grand Polemarch and the Senior Grand Vice Polemarch. Along with that, I have had the privilege have former Grand Polemarchs, like the oldest living Grand Polemarch to give me lessons in leaderships that they learned from the Founders and other early leaders of the fraternity.

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?

Black greeks everywhere have got to be aware of the fact that our reputations are all interconnected online. When one chapter looks bad on social media, it makes all of Black greekdom look bad. Unfortunately, the opposite isn’t true. Therefore, it is imperative that when it comes to representation on social media that we stick to the high ideals and standards of Black Excellence and nothing less.

Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?

Watch The Yard provides a conduit to celebrate and highlight Black greekdom in a way unparalleled than any other media outlet. It has become a permanent pillar of the Black Greek community.

What does brotherhood mean to you?

To me brotherhood is a bond with your fellow man that is born in the vulnerability of the fell clutch of circumstance but yet manifests into the very thing that reminds us that no man is an island unto himself.

You recently graduated from undergrad in May, what are you doing now?

Since graduating this recent May, I have enrolled in Candler School of Theology at Emory University where I am working on a Masters of Theological Studies. After this, I intend to start a Ph.D program in business ethics and eventually become a professor.

We at Watch The Yard would like to thank Chris Cross and the brothers at Kappa Alpha Psi including Ryan E. Tucker, MPA, the Director of Undergraduate & University Affairs for making this interview possible.

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