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 Phi Sigma Alumnae Chapter in Washington, DC and did an interview with Tara L. Wells 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. Wells, who is an educator, has served in the position of Basileus for two months.
We interviewed Wells, who is a Spring 2000 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?
Serving as the chapter Basileus is an important role. I am a leader, a role model, a servant, a confidant, and the face of this chapter. These are important qualities to have as a leader in a sisterhood. I try to exemplify the qualities that I want to see in my sorors. I also want them to hold me accountable for my actions, as I will always hold them accountable for theirs.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
Our chapter usually focuses on a specific service initiative each month. This year, we are having a St. Jude Fundraiser which helps to improve the lives of children with cancer. We also hold our annual Youth Symposium in March that focuses on healthy eating, healthy choices, and healthy generations. Our workshops and interactive activities help the youth in our community by giving them tools for success.
What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?
I joined Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. because of her history and the women that I encountered on my campus. SGRho’s rich history is of no comparison to any other D9 sorority. Our founders were trailblazers of their time. I looked up to these women. The resilience they had was outstanding! Being founded in the 20’s in Indiana during the height of the KKK, our founders knew they had a purpose and were willing to fight the good fight because of it.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
We are the only DC alumnae chapter, we are the second oldest chapter in the Northeastern region, AND we are the oldest alumnae chapter in our area. We are also unique because we are a two lettered alumnae chapter.
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?
Chapters should have a clear brand and marketing skills. Chapters should have signature events that everyone looks forward to. Chapters should consistently be available to answer questions and market their outstanding character and service opportunities to the digital world.
What does leadership mean to you?
Facing adversity with courage, being able to be there for others, being a role model for your chapter members, and taking risks that sometimes do not come with a great ROI.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard keep Black greekdom informed of each other’s good deeds. They showcase chapters in their best light; and we need that as a black community and as a greek-lettered community.
What does brotherhood/sisterhood mean to you?
This is a loaded question, but I will have to say that being there for your sister at all times, at all costs, no matter the distance, no matter the issue is what sisterhood means to me. We uphold each other to the highest of standards and we also have the ability to lean on our sisters when necessary – no questions asked.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Each year our undergrads receive a stipend to assist them for the year. Our alumnae chapter also support our UGs by attending their programming, and promoting their programming. I personally keep in contact with my UGs so that they know that I am here for them whenever and if ever they should need me for any reason.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Tara L. Wells for her work as the Basileus of the Phi Sigma Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1938.
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