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 women of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.’s Tau Gamma Chapter at Kean University and did an interview with Sade Govan-Smith the 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. 26-year-old Sade Govan-Smith has used the position to gain new leadership experience, improve the lives of other students on campus and help the community around him.
We interviewed the Communication Studies major and talked about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold a leadership position on campus in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
Being inducted into the Trendsetting, Oh So, Glamorous Tau Gamma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. has drastically changed my life. Becoming Basileus of the chapter is an honor. This opportunity has opened many new doors for me, helped me learned a lot about myself, as well as lead others. One thing I love about being chapter Basileus is the endless networking opportunities within this organization and others.
What made you decide to attend Kean University for undergrad?
I decided to attend Kean University in Union NJ, because I wanted to stay close to home. On my first campus tour I automatically felt like I belonged here. My goal is to pursue a degree in Communication Studies, and their program was phenomenal in that field. Additionally, Kean is ranked one of the top schools for diversity which helped making my decision.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
We are focusing on trying to get organizations to engage with one another campus-wide. Over the past years I have come to the realization that black greeks only work with each other, clubs on campus work within themselves, and Tau Gamma is all about breaking down that barrier. We are focusing on conducting more fundraisers, as well as implementing community service projects that align with our principles.
What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?
Coming into college, I had no idea about Greek Life. Nobody in my family is greek, and the only exposure I had to Greek Life was the movie “Stomp the Yard”. I can remember when I first saw the SGRhos at Meet the Greeks, the first thing that caught my attention was that Royal Blue and Gold and I knew I had to find out more about them. After I went to the table and talked to them, they said to me, “I hope you’re staying for our performance.” From beginning to end, the performance was mind blowing, especially the lean. The reason why I pledged Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was because I didn’t have to change who I am to be apart of this organization. The history behind it, the reason why it was founded, and where it was founded is the epitome of courage, determination and strength. We truly live by our slogan which is “Greater Service, Greater Progress.”.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
We are Trendsetting, we set the tone on the yard, we put on great programs, and we work well with other organizations. On top of that, we are an award-winning chapter.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2018?
Social media has many different perspectives. I believe it is important to represent my organization in a positive manner by advertising the community service we do, hosting events on campus for all to attend, and promoting diversity throughout our campus.
What does leadership mean to you?
Being a leader consists of many things such as being able to guide someone in the right direction, being able to take directions, and being a great listener. One thing being a leader has taught me is to be understanding of others and to lead by example.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important because it highlights all the areas of the Divine 9 in positive light. Not only are we exposed to Greek Life, but we are able to keep up with other things such as marching bands and other things that make up black culture which is important to me. Watch the Yard is truly like no other site out there, because they promote probates, step shows, graduations and us giving back to our community.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means being able to lean on someone in hard times and having each others back no matter what. One thing I love about this sisterhood is being well-taken care of everywhere I go. For example, when I was at Howard’s homecoming I immediately reached out to a DC soror and she took me right in. The beauty of this bond is being connected no matter what year you came in, what chapter you are from, the poodles will take care of you.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
Hopefully once I graduate I am working in the hospitality field. One of my long-term goals is opening up my own bed and breakfast in Atlanta, Georgia. With the help of SGRho I have become more confident and am able to pursue my dream.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Sade Govan-Smith for her work as the president of Tau Gamma Chapter which has a legacy that began in 2015.