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 Iota Delta Chapter at The University of Texas at Austin and did an interview with Octavian Moten 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 Moten 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 African/African Diaspora Studies 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 president to you?
To me, being a chapter president means being able to be a vital piece of the preservation of a legacy., Being the chapter president grants me the opportunity to be an integral piece to the preservation of a rich legacy. For my chapter to have maintained this level of 40+ years is amazing and I have the opportunity, along with my current chapter members, to add even more to the history books this year. It is extremely humbling and gratifying that this great group of men chose me to lead them especially considering I am a neo. This is just a representation of how much they respect and trust me, and I plan on using this as a foundation for a year full of great service and activities.
What made you decide to attend the The University of Texas at Austin for undergrad?
I decided to attend The University of Texas at Austin because of the opportunities that Austin provides me and how strong the Black Alumni Network is. Building a strong bond with the Black alumni and faculty has been really important to my success here. The lack of numbers in the Black population here can be disheartening, but I believe it’s upon us to continue to uphold the tradition of those that came before us and push further so that the next class of students is able to reap the benefits. The legacy of black students here is tremendous and I wanted to be apart of that.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
I don’t know if I would call it an initiative, but our focus this school year is to always take all five objectives of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. into account when we are planning our community and service events. I think sometimes we can get lost in campus life and the idea of being NUPEs at parties and other functions and forget that we are here to uplift our community through service and inspire others to do the same. I am also pushing us toward being more consistent mentors on our campus and in the Greater Austin community and to use our platform to elevate our young black men to a higher standard.
What made you want to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi?
I made the decision to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. because of the strong impression that members of this fraternity made on me throughout my adolescence. Many of my male mentors growing up were Kappa men and were a large part of the village that raised me and were responsible for instilling many of the strong values I still hold dear to me. Ideals such as respect and honor were taught at home but were pushed by principals, teachers, and program coordinators that made me want to become a NUPE and mentor young men toward achievement the same way that it was done for me.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Iota Delta is unique in that we are a chapter full of an elite class of men. NFL superstars, successful engineers, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, you name it and ID has it. This diverse collection of men who perform at such a high level in their respective fields pushes every member in the chapter to be the best and gives younger members like me models for success that we should aim for moving forward.
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?
I think positive social media representation is really vital to undergraduate chapters and their growth. I think that every chapter does a lot of great things, without ever thinking of getting any positive praise from it. However, I think it’s vital to show people online what all your chapter is doing in order to get proper recognition and acknowledgment that Divine 9 organizations are more than strolling videos and yard shows. We are organizations based in assisting the Black community on our campuses advance through service and scholarship and we need to make sure that we get that point across through social media representation.
What does leadership mean to you?
To me, leadership means being adaptive and using the style that best fits the team you are working with in order to get the greatest results out of them. When it comes to my chapter specifically, Iâ’m a big believer in the servant leadership style. This means being the first to jump in the trenches and work on behalf of your team. I believe that this sets the tone for what kind of work you expect from your team. My goal is that if I show how dedicated I am to our cause, that my brothers will follow suit and we can touch our community in an amazing way.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
A forum like Watch The Yard, which allows Greeks from different regions and campuses to interact on such a grand stage is amazing to see. It’s especially encouraging to see the growth and representation of all Divine 9 orgs on the page. I think there has been great interaction and I commend WTY for all that they’ve done for the community and wish continued success for the page and its endeavors!
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood to me means being there to support your brothers when they’re in the right and holding them accountable when they are wrong. I believe that Kappa has given me an extended family that I know will keep me on the path for success, and there to uplift me in times of tribulations. I think that is the true essence of brotherhood, having someone who is there behind you through the highs and the lows, unafraid to be transparent with you through it all.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I’m currently applying for graduate programs in Sociology, so after graduation, I’ll hopefully be headed to the school of my choice to begin the journey to my Ph.D. I do research on educational inequality, disparities in discipline, and other aspects of the sociology of education that primarily impacts marginalized communities of children. I hope that this research will evolve into the opportunity to teach in higher education and inform the next generation of things that have just recently become relevant to our modern society.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Octavian Moten for his work as the president of Iota Delta Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1977.