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 Mu Nu Chapter at the University of Miami and did an interview with Kimberly Overton 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. 23-year-old Overton 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 Biomedical Engineering 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 doing everything that you can to uphold the legacy of your chapter as well as your organization. Serving as a chapter president means supporting your chapter in whatever ways necessary to be successful overall, which might mean attending additional information sessions or taking more time to plan events. I am currently the only member of Mu Nu on campus, so I have to balance my time and energy effectively so that I can accomplish what needs to be done. In addition to that, I am also the Secretary for the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Although at times it can be challenging, the desire to see my chapter succeed continues to push me. I am proud to serve as the Chapter Basileus of Mu Nu.
What made you decide to attend the University of Miami for undergrad?
I am a native of Miami and live about 30 minutes away from the University of Miami campus. Every year during high school, I took at least one trip to UM with one of our STEM clubs. One of these trips always fell on “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” hosted by the Society of Women Engineers chapter at UM. This experience continually ingrained the prestige and rigor associated with the College of Engineering in me. While there, I was also able to experience the diversity within the student body, which made me feel both excited and comfortable. When it came time to decide on what university that I would attend, these two factors played a big role.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
This year, the Mu Nu chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho participated in National Voter Registration Day, where we collaborated with our Student Government to register students on campus as well as members of our local community to vote in the state of Florida. We plan on registering voters throughout the remainder of the semester. It is important that we give everyone that can vote the opportunity to take advantage of their right. By helping the community become civically engaged, they will be able to have a voice and work to change things for the better.
Additionally, we are also promoting the Hattie McDaniel Breast Cancer Awareness Initiative to individuals on and off campus. Throughout the month of October, we are hosting and collaborating on events related to breast cancer awareness to educate our community this disease. Through our collaborations, we are able to get exposed to those who might not be familiar with Sigma Gamma Rho and let them know who we are.
What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?
The women of Sigma Gamma Rho that I knew prior to joining are women that I admire. The qualities that they shared such as leadership, humility, and dedication to their endeavors, made these women stick out in my mind. They had many of the values and beliefs that I felt were important, so I wanted to be closer to them. Eventually, they began to tell me about Sigma Gamma Rho and expanded on its focus on education and health. Sigma Gamma Rho appealed to me through its various initiatives in these areas, in addition to the sisterhood that its members displayed. From there, I pursued the reactivation of the Mu Nu chapter and in the Spring of 2019, became a member of the newest line since 2013 alongside three wonderful women.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Mu Nu chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho has had an impactful presence on campus since it’s chartering on February 29, 1992. Mu Nu was the first D9 organization to host a male pageant at the University of Miami. Additionally, we have several members of our chapter that are part of the Iron Arrow Society, the highest honor attainable at UM. Members of Mu Nu have gone on to hold many different careers from entertainers to lawyers to doctors. Members of Mu Nu are successful, multifaceted women that I truly have grown to appreciate.
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 feel that undergraduate chapters should be strategic in their efforts when representing themselves online. Posting up flyers of events, helpful tips, and up to date information regarding the organization can help to provide a good representation of what individual chapters are involved in. Being mindful of how your chapter represents itself to those outside of it is key.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means leveraging your skills to achieve a goal when given the opportunity. Leaders help others figure out how to succeed as a team rather than taking on every task on their own. Leadership is a skill that requires practice over time to develop what works best to complete a goal.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard serves as an invaluable outlet for everything related to Black Greek culture. For me, it serves a way to preserve and share the legacies that are being made in the Divine Nine organizations. Watch the Yard is integral in showing how the Black greekdom has changed over the years, in addition to highlighting recent achievements of members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means always having someone to rely on for anything. Sisters have your back and support you through good and bad times. The sisterhood within Sigma Gamma Rho, especially that of the Mu Nu chapter, connects me with people who have many of the same values as I do. I know that I can call on members of my chapter and other sorors when I need something. Fostering sisterhood amongst my sorors is at the forefront of everything that I do, and I’m happy that I have found a group of women that agree.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on working for a medical device company to develop prosthesis for appendages. After gaining experience and developing a stronger background in prosthesis, I will branch out and have my own company. I have a strong passion for veterans and other service members, so I plan on tailoring my company towards these members of my community. Members of the military sacrifice so much for our freedom, so giving back in this way is something I am happy to do. I plan on using both of my degrees to develop new ways to benefit the members of my community with amputations
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Kimberly Overton for her work as the president of Mu Nu Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1992.