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 Omega Psi Phi’s Fraternity Inc.’s Lambda Alpha Chapter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and did an interview with Safiyy Raoof the Basileus of the chapter.
The position of Basileus/president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Smith, who works as the Assistant Director of Bands at Southern University, has been in the position of Basileus for one year.
We interviewed Smith, who is a Fall 2017 initiate of his fraternity at Southern University 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 grad chapter Basileus?
I wanted to give back to the community to make positive changes.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve local community or the broader Black community?
The Lambda Alpha Chapter is going on his 40th year of our reading is fundamental program. The reading is fundamental program is when we go into seven local elementary schools, and give each student in a school, a book of his or her choice. We also partner with local nonprofit organizations and complete countless hours of community service.
What made you want to pledge Omega Psi Phi?
I wanted to pledge Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Inc. so that I could be a part of greatness and continue to legacy but one of the main reasons I pledged was my older brother. He’s a fall 2000 initiate of the Alpha lambda chapter of Omega, Psi, Phi, Fraternity
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Lambda Alpha, Chapter, a Omega, Psi, Phi Fraternity is one of the oldest graduate chapters in the Baton Rouge area and what makes us unique is that we have a unique group of brothers from across the world, and we come together as one to serve a common bond.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Our undergrad chapter is the Beta Sigma Chapter, which is a Southern University and as the graduate chapter we support them to the fullest from advice to helping with programs, and helping wherever they see fit.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
Our fraternity motto is “Friendship is essential to the soul”, so the camaraderie and unity among us is there from the beginning, and we like to fellowship, and hang out but to take care of the business of Omega.
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?
I have been blessed to have great mentors in my life as well as fraternity brothers. They have played a major role in my life by always being there and offering knowledge and wisdom as needed.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is a platform where all groups, can unite and see the greatness that is going on.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
I love being a part of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated for the camaraderie and the friendship. I have gained some lifelong friends and brothers.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Safiyy Raoof for his work as the Basileus of the Lambda Alpha Chapter in Baton Rouge which has a legacy that spans back to 1963.