In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorors of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.’s Epsilon Mu Sigma Alumnae Chapter in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and did an interview with TaNeezia Cook the Basileus of the chapter.
The position of Basileus/president of a Black sorority chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Cook, who is a Library Media Specialist, has served in the position of Basileus for four years.
We interviewed Cook, who is a Fall 2002 initiate of her sorority, and talked to her about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
Someone who leads by example and shows interest in building the sorority and friendship. I truly believe in building relationships and teaching members how to run the sorority as a business and teaching them how to manage and operate the sorority. I believe in the sisterhood and what we are wanting to promote. You must be a strong individual who can delegate and manage.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
Operation Big Book Bag – provide school supplies for students
Adopt-A-Classroom – where we pick a teacher in a school system and we provide teacher supplies & classroom support when needed.
Youth Symposium – We bring awareness to the youth about different topics & provide opportunities for young adults to learn about different career paths
What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?
I decided to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc because the mission in place was aligned with my own personal aspirations. Our founders were 7 educators and I am an educator. I strive for excellence with my students and teach them different values about life. Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc has developed initiatives that have purpose. I am a classy poodle and proud to call myself a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
We are young and a dynamic group of educated women. Our grad chapter has the youngest members in age in Tuscaloosa, AL. We have an affiliate group of young teenagers called the Rhoers. We also have 3 undergrad chapters we advise at the University of Alabama (ZX), Tuscaloosa, Stillman College (HK) and he University of West Alabama, Livingston (TK). Overall, we handle business and have fun at the same time!!!
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
Create a social media buzz through videos, photo sessions and websites. If the undergrads promote themselves in this manner then grad chapters should be just as excited to promote themselves as well.
What does leadership mean to you?
Have the capability to lead, delegate and mediate. Set the tone and lead by example. Confidence is the key.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
It promotes positive imagines of African American Greeks (I can speak from example). You have promoted my own undergrad chapter (Zeta Chi Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. at THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA, TUSCALOOSA!!!!). It is an excellent social media outlet.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Someone who recognizes that you value the real meaning behind the reason the divine 9 was organized. We are all brothers and sisters no matter what organization you choose. We all have similar values and unite as one. Showing support, being dedicated to one another and most importantly having each others back.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
My chapter currently advises 3 undergrad chapters and we teach them about the business of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. We help them with any financial support and we work with them to succeed in their academics.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend TaNeezia Cook for her work as the Basileus of the Epsilon Mu Sigma Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1980.