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 sorors of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.’s Eta Epsilon Chapter Chapter at Western Michigan University and did an interview with Bianca Miles the Basileus/ president of the chapter.
The position of president of an undergraduate chapter of a Black sorority is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. 20-year-old Bianca Miles has used the position to gain new leadership experience, improve the lives of other students on campus and help the community around her.
We interviewed the Social Work major and talked about her 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?
Being Chapter President means to me that I am trusted to uphold the standards set for myself, the chapter, and the sorority as a whole. I put 100% into everything that I’m apart of. When I decided to run for the position as President of this chapter, I made sure that I was well prepared to continue to uphold the legacy of Eta Epsilon. I’m consistently putting forth effort to make sure that we are represented in every aspect of campus.
What made you decide to attend the Western Michigan University for undergrad?
I decided to attend Western Michigan University because of how welcoming the campus was and the distance from my hometown wasn’t too far for me. Once I came to WMU, I instantly felt at home and to be truthful, Western was (and still is) lit. My first year here I became super involved on campus and the bond amongst the black community was so strong that I didn’t even feel as if I was at a PWI.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
As a chapter, Eta Epsilon is taking the initiative to be more intentional behind everything we do this school year. Meaning that with everything we do or say will have a meaning behind it and we hope with our members that this initiative stems further than just Sigma and we can implement being more intentional in our personal lives as well. This of course includes the events that we will host this year. One event we will be hosting is a workshop for African-American Males this Fall discussing the stigma behind mental health and how can men find ways to deal/cope with it. My line sister, Justice, noticed that our African-American men are not comfortable with sharing their feelings about their own mental health issues so she she created this workshop to combat and break down those stigmas against men and mental health.
What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. always stood out to me on campus. I was involved with different student organizations so my first year I was doing a lot of community service. Whenever I was out in the community or doing something around campus I would always see them there. I didn’t know anything about Sigma until I came to Western and although they were small in number at the time, I literally would see them everywhere. As I started to get to know them, I really liked the bond they had with one another. They always stayed the same whether it was at an event or if we were at study tables studying for a test. After doing research about other organizations within NPHC, Sigma still managed to stick out to me and by then it was beyond Eta Epsilon. I became extremely fond of the history and that’s when I knew that was the organization for me.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Thee Elite Eta Epsilon Chapter always manages to stay consistent and set the standard. We never push anything to the side and no matter what may happen or how many people is in the chapter, we always managed to do what we said we would do.
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 honestly think the undergraduate chapters are doing a really good job as far as representing ourselves online in 2019, especially on social media. The chapters I follow tend to make sure that they are spreading a positive image about Greek life and combating those negative stereotypes about us. I will say that we as members of our organization should continue to remember the image that we portray and how that may reflect amongst our organizations.
What does leadership mean to you?
I define leadership as being able to take charge while understanding your role and how that can affect the team as a whole. Often times leaders, this is myself included, we tend to have a hard time delegating tasks and trusting those people to delegate the task. Which leads our members to feel like they are not able to input ideas or their toes are being stepped on. A leader should be able to take in other’s ideas and making sure that the vision you and your team created is executed.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is SO important to Black greekdom. You all take the time to make sure that history is preserved, in all aspects not just greek life. Having that collection of history is so important for greekdom especially since there was a time where black people weren’t even considered a citizen. Let alone historical.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means a lot to me but it’s not easy. I grew up with sisters but we all are so far apart in age that the bond didn’t start until I came to college. Compared to my line sisters, I tell these girls any and everything and I am more open and vulnerable than I’ve ever been. It’s nothing that I can’t tell them or if they ask me they know I will give them a honest answer. I love being apart of a sisterhood and knowing that I will always have this support system is an added bonus.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I plan to go into Grad school to pursue a Masters in Social Work.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Bianca Miles for her work as the president of Thee Elite Eta Epsilon Chapter Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1976.