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Leadership Highlight: Jermaine Colon the Polaris of Iota Phi Theta in Delaware County, PA

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 Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc.’s Gamma Chi Omega Delco Alumni Chapter in Delaware County, PA and did an interview with Jermaine L. Colon the Polaris 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. Colon, who is a bank manager, is a newly elected Polaris of his chapter.

We interviewed Colon, who is a Fall 2014 initiate of the Chi Omega Philadelphia Alumni Chapter of Iota Phi Theta and a Cheyney University grad 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 does it mean to be a chapter president to you?

Being a Polaris means working closely with the members of the chapter. And working together to create and set a standard of expectations, measurable growth, development, and marketability. While remaining accessible and open to ideas and opportunities that come.

What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?

We currently are working with the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House Charities, The Salvation Army of Chester, PA working with their after school initiative, their homeless shelter and resource center, and we will be starting an initiative with the William Penn School District to be mentors to young men and will be adopting the school, and our health initiative focusing on diabetes and diabetes related complications. In addition, St. Judes, All of Us, #MuchMoreThanAHashtag with The Ladies of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated.

What made you want to pledge Iota Phi Theta?

Seeing the drive and business acumen of the men I knew in school. I got to see a resurgence of the Beta Rho chapter at Cheyney University and I saw some great young men work non-stop to create a brand for that chapter. And they did it while defying what other’s expectations were of them. They refused to take what was being offered to them and created there own slice of the pie and honestly, most Iotas I have encountered have had that same spirit and mindset and it was a key factor in me pledging Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated.

What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?

We are a very calculated chapter, everything is planned out, down to the attire. Our movements are very direct and purposeful, and that’s because we decided when chartering that we wanted to change the narrative on what grad chapters can do and how they operate. Which is why we have completed so many community service hours in our first two years, why we have had the events we have. We want you to look at our chapter and say, “Wow, They Are An Elite Grad Chapter.”

We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2021?

Branding, we treat our chapter as a individual franchise of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Incorporated. We make sure we set the tone for what’s put out there about us and by us. We are active and interact via social media with our followers. There has to be pride of what you represent and how you choose to represent it.

How is your chapter adapting to navigate the pandemic? 

Navigating the pandemic has been up and down. We have had success in being able to continue a lot of our service initiatives, we have been able to bring in two intake classes, and our chapter operationally has not skipped a beat. But Zoom and group chats only go so far when it comes to fellowship, but we also created our weekly #ThetaManThursday Instagram live show introducing our followers to influential members of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated. We have had brothers lose family to COVID and couldn’t physically be there for them, We have had brothers who have tested positive for COVID and we couldn’t be there physically for them. You want to make sure your brothers, no matter the situation, are ok.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership means never asking someone to complete a task that you yourself are not willing or capable of completing. Good Leaders can lead from the floor in the midst of the issue, and do not just shout out orders.

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

It provides an unbiased view of greekdom. The support to the Divine 9 from Watch The Yard is important in carrying on the positive imagery of Black Greekdom and creating new interest and continuing the legacy of these nine important fraternities and sororities.

What does brotherhood/sisterhood mean to you? 

Brotherhood means care and concern beyond measure. Wanting what’s best for your brother and being able to help provide them resources to be safe, successful, and secure.

How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support? 

We are a hands on chapter. We have Graduate Advisors who serve our Epsilon Epsilon Chapter. But we also expect there to be a representative from the chapter on monthly meetings. We want to know what they have going on and how we can best assist them. We also offer a brotherhood scholarship annually to one deserving undergraduate member and we currently are working on a mentor program for recently crossed members to get the proper guidance and support they need to flourish as brothers.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Jermaine L. Colon for his work as the Polaris of the Gamma Chi Omega Delco Alumni Chapter.

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