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 Fraternity Inc.’s Phi Phi Chapter in Richmond, VA and did an interview with Ronald Dingle 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. Ronald Dingle, who works as a Compliance Advisory Specialist at Capital One, is a newly elected basileus.
We interviewed Dingle, who is a Spring 2014 – Zeta Chapter (ZSQUAD) Virginia Union University initiate of his fraternity 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 alumni chapter president?
I took on the role of an alumni chapter president for multiple reasons. First, I understand that as a younger man, I still have direct influence on younger Brothers in an effort to further their fraternal experience after college. I also took note that so often younger members of the fraternity blame the older Brothers for not being cognizant of their opinions, however nobody steps up to make a difference. I consider myself the bridge between older members as my hard-work speaks for itself, and the younger members because I also experienced the undergrad lifestyle.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the local community or the broader Black community?
My chapter along with Zeta chapter, will host our annual “Feeding 500” Food Drive. This event utilizes partnership with Kroger to collect and deliver food to less fortunate families during the Thanksgiving holiday. Phi Phi will also continue our “Omega Stars” Youth Academy program which provides mentoring for our young Black youth through various sessions. The sessions range from how to handle anger, the importance of a firm handshake, tying a tie, and our annual trip to the African American History Museum in Washington D.C. A newly established initiative that Phi Phi hosts that is impactful to the Black community is Fatherhood Initiative and Mentoring. Knowing the importance of a father in the African American community, the chapter hosts various seminars to assist Black men!
What made you want to pledge Omega Psi Phi?
The ZSQUAD Brothers that were on the yard when I first arrived were very impactful on my decision to be a member. I saw how the Brothers always maintained a family-like demeanor. They would always display a unified front in the public. They had the yard on LOCK. When I went back home to my high school for summer break I realized that my old athletic trainer who always kept me on track had on a frat shirt. I said, “I didn’t know you were one of them”. He replied, “Yeah man, I think you should look into it” Thanks Coach Holland! Additionally, I have always been extremely big on history. When I began doing my research on Omega Psi Phi, I saw notable members such as Langston Hughes, Benjamin E. Mays, and my soon-to-be chapter Brother, L Douglas Wilder (the first African American Governor since Reconstruction).
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
There are a lot of aspects that make my chapter unique in my opinion. To me, Phi Phi is unique because it was established very early in the history of Omega Psi Phi. People think of a graduate chapter and think it’s new. To be established in 1927, by the members of the Zeta Chapter is no minor thing in my opinion. Brothers such as Oliver Hill and L Douglas Wilder were once members of this illustrious chapter.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Phi Phi has been a friend and mentor to the Zeta chapter since its inception. Phi Phi readily assists the undergraduate chapter monetarily and various other ways. Knowing the economic strain attending district and national meetings can put on the undergraduate chapter, Phi Phi added registration and travel to its yearly budget to support Zeta chapter. In addition, the chapter provides The Jerry Crews Scholarship to a Brother in Zeta chapter yearly in the amount of $1k.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
I found that so often we get away from the basics. In realizing this, I promoted events and opportunities for the brothers to fellowship and get to know each other. One strategy I implemented was the Purple Table TalQ, which allows the Brothers to speak freely about various issues both fraternally and in our personal lives. The brothers of the chapter are constantly working hard for Omega. For us to be around each other so much our families need to be acquainted with each other.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your fraternity/sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
The advice I would give to aspiring leaders is to never forget that you serve at the will of the body! The title is cool but it does not last forever. Don’t isolate yourself from members of your organization. I would also advise to stay close to the undergraduate members. Remember, these young Brothers/Sisters are the future of not only your organization but of society as a whole. Pour into them like older members poured into you!
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?
Mentorship has played a huge role in me getting to where I am now. The first person I would say guided me is my prophyte from 2007, Greg Whitted. He pushed me to be the advisor of the undergraduate chapter. This single act did 3 things. 1. It forced me to stay financial in order to hold the position. 2. It made me active within the graduate chapter; attending meetings and fully learning the business of the Fraternity. Lastly, it allowed me to have a direct and positive influence on the young men of the Zeta chapter. I held the role of advisor for 6 years. Brother Orlando Jay Allen, Chuck Fordham, our recently departed William BB Prentiss, and Vincent Robertson among so many others have added to the man I am today.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom because it highlights the positive aspects of Black Greek lettered organizations. With so many other platforms posting negative images and commentary, it is extremely important that our organizations are portrayed in a positive manner.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
I love being a member of Omega Psi Phi because..There is nothing else like it in the world! To be able to go anywhere with a frat shirt on and if I am in need, someone will help. Brothers from any generation can get together and fellowship as friends. I love being able to sit with older Brothers and hear how Omega was in their day and applying that information to ensure Omega will be around for centuries to come.
Lastly, what does brotherhood mean to you?
The question asks what does brotherhood mean to me.. I will pivot by saying Friendship Is Essential To The Soul! You don’t choose who is your Brother, you do choose your friends. Friendship is answering the phone at 3 a.m. when someone has broken down on the road. Friendship is when a Brother you never met before reaches out and asks you to help move his child in on campus. True friends will always have your best interest at heart!
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Ronald Dingle for his work as the Basileus of the Phi Phi which has a legacy that spans back to 1927.
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