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 Tau Chi Chapter at Wingate University and did an interview with Taylor Patterson 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. 19-year-old Taylor Patterson 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 Doctor of Pharmacy candidate and talked about his 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?
To be chapter president is to hold a massive role for the future of both greeks and non-greeks, especially at a PWI. At my institution, Sigma Gamma Rho is currently the only active NPHC sorority, so I must lead my organization in such a manner that women seek to join our organization and other NPHC organizations that are interested in coming to our institution can see the impact that our presence has on the university. It is important for me to spearhead what black culture looks like on our campus and to use our platform for those who have not yet found their voice.
What made you decide to attend the Wingate University for undergrad?
I attended Wingate University for many reasons. The first being the availability of a major. I knew I wanted to stay in-state, major in pre-pharmacy, and attend a university that had a graduate school of pharmacy. I also wanted to stay pretty close to my hometown. Wingate was the university that checked all of the boxes. After doing significant research on Wingate, I found that a something was missing within the campus culture. I wanted to do my part in filling the void that should be occupied by people of color. It is through SGRho that I am able to do meaningful work with a lifelong impact.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
My favorite initiative that we are heading up this year is the continuation of our Real Women, Real Talks series. Real Women, Real Talks creates a space where all women of all backgrounds can join forces to cultivate the worth of women as individuals and as a collective. By offering a space that is inclusive of all women, regardless of their background, we will allow women to find a brighter path for their future and assist them in bringing others on the journey with them.
What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?
I decided to become a member of Sigma Gamma Rho for many reasons. The first is that I could see the type of women Sigma Gamma Rho attracted. I have firm beliefs in surrounding yourself by people you most want to be like. The ladies of Sigma Gamma Rho are intelligent, multifaceted, resilient, diligent, and carry a light with them that is unparalleled. The second reason is that I saw the work completed by the women of Sigma Gamma Rho. I saw the impact their work had on my own feelings of inclusivity on Wingate’s campus. Lastly, I wanted to continue a family legacy, as my mother is also a lady of Sigma Gamma Rho.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
Tau Chi is incredibly unique. Sigma Gamma Rho is the only NPHC sorority at Wingate University. Wingate has an interesting dynamic as students are divided politically. This political division, which is easily enhanced by the current political climate, often causes many rifts in friendships. The Tau Chi chapter has created spaces where people bond regardless of their differences. We use this platform to allow gaps on the campus to be filled.
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?
The digital world can be a dangerous place for all, but especially for greek organizations. In order to represent yourself well online, you must first represent yourself well in person. Always be sure to carry yourself in a manner such that your actions reflect positively on the organization you are committed to. Secondly, branding is incredibly important. Create a chapter logo. Ensure your flyers are extremely professional. Use every type of media available to the best of your capabilities. Be unafraid to reach out to others. Some individuals may require an extra push to get them to where they need to be.
What does leadership mean to you?
Firstly, I think it’s important to make a distinction. What leadership is and what leadership means to me are two completely different things. Leadership is the act of guiding a group or team to accomplish a goal. What leadership means to me is holding yourself to a standard that far surpasses the highest expectation of those you lead. As a leader, the bare minimum expectation I should hold for myself is the highest expectation held for me by others. To be a successful leader by my chapter standards, I must manage my classes, rotation schedule, work schedule, and chapter schedule. To be a successful leader by my own standards, I must effectively manage all aspects of my educational, work, and social life wile helping those within my chapter and outside of my chapter successfully do the same. To be a successful leader, one must acknowledge the difference between the two and hungrily take on the task set before them.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I think Watch The Yard is important for many reasons. Watch The Yard encourages the interconnectedness of NPHC members. Watch The Yard keeps me updated on organizational happenings that provide me with information on how I can encourage the addition and integration of NPHC organizations into my University to help us promote causes that both/all organizations hold as valuable. Watch The Yard is a place that I can learn more about becoming a better leader by seeing what others do and adjusting it for implementation within my own chapter.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
True sisterhood is the unconditional and unselfish giving of love and support. Being a true sister is not about getting along. It’s not about always being best friends. Anyone can bicker back and forth all day, but a true sister is able to be right back by her sisters’ side that evening and will fend for her no matter what happened previously. True sisterhood brings on an unbeatable sense of acceptance, dependency, and accountability.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on starting a residency to become more specialized in the field of pharmacy. It is common knowledge that the role of the community pharmacist is dying and being replaced with the clinical pharmacist. I am looking at becoming specialized as a cardiology pharmacist and moving into higher education.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Taylor Patterson for her work as the president of Tau Chi Chapter.