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Leadership Highlight

Leadership Highlight: Zaria Ealy the Basileus of Sigma Gamma Rho at San Diego State University

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  Delta Gamma Chapter at San Diego State University and did an interview with Zaria Ealy 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. 20-year-old Ealy 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 Sociology 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 of the Delta Gamma chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. means ensuring that the legacy and traditions we hold carry on for years to continue. This includes making sure we are impactful to the surrounding community and that our members don’t lose sight of the idea that we are a community service based organization committed to enhance the quality of life for women and their families. We emphasize bonding and wellness check-ins for members to take a break from continuous business and school. Being the chapter president means being the face of the chapter and always representing in a positive image and always being accountable.

Photo Credit: @iced7ea

What made you decide to attend the San Diego State University for undergrad?

I decided to attend San Diego State because it was both in California and a public institution, which saved me a lot of money. Honestly it was my last choice, but it was the cheapest and I’m glad I’m here because I’ve gained so many connections to advance my career.

What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?

In the past, the Delta Gamma chapter has focused on bringing awareness to AIDS, Breast Cancer, and Domestic Violence as part of the women’s initiative of Sigma Gamma Rho. However this year, we are putting a special emphasis on Pancreatic Cancer Awareness. Last spring we lost one of our beloved prophytes to Pancreatic Cancer and we are dedicated to raising money for this cause and bringing awareness to aid families in the community in the fight against Pancreatic Cancer. However in the past our Annual Women’s Empowerment Tea has been a staple for the chapter. Highlighting women and their achievements, giving them space to be vulnerable, our Women’s empowerment tea allows you to connect with young women off and on our campus. This is also our second year doing Hygiene kits for the Homeless, which are passed out to the homeless population during Thanksgiving time. We are excited to expand this initiative and include other organizations and show how powerful collective community service can be.

What made you want to pledge Sigma Gamma Rho?

As a freshman, moving to a new town it was challenging to navigate different challenges without the support of my family nearby. My mentor, who is also a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was so supportive and helpful to me during this time and made my first year on campus very enjoyable. Achieving a 4.0 my first semester would have been unrealistic without her support. After meeting the rest of the chapter I noticed how all the women were friendly, God-driven, hardworking, but still unique and had their own identities. Their goals aligned with mine and I soon began to learn more about the organization over time and realized there was no greater option for me.

What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?

The Ego Trippin’ Delta Gamma Chapter, chartered June 5th in 1970, was the first  NPHC sorority on the SDSU campus. Ego Trippin’ and setting trends from the very beginning, we were also the first to step in heels at SDSU. We were chartered at a PWI, just like the Founding chapter at Butler University. Being at a PWI we combat racial issues such as degradation of property and racial slurs being printed on public facilities. It’s empowering knowing that my Founders created this organization at a PWI in a time where the KKK were publicly intimidating Black people, and had just gained a chapter in Indiana. We face injustices that are minute compared to this but this inspires us to continue our service and influence in the face of opposition. In the Delta Gamma chapter we pride ourselves on service and mentoring young women first before social endeavors and activities . All our prophytes go on to advance themselves either career-wise or academically and are role models and resources for younger members.

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?

In 2019 I believe undergraduate chapters need to focus on the positive when representing their own organizations and NPHC. With Greek life being its own culture in the Black community, anything we do on the internet represents the Black population. That is why it’s best to represent ourselves in a positive and professional light, because all our Founders worked diligently for us to even have this platform. Your organization is a brand, you’re a part of, remember that.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership means being a positive example and role model for those around you. Being able to make decisions in the best interest of everybody by putting aside personal interests. As a leader you have to be okay with being uncomfortable and making difficult choices because you can’t please everyone.

Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?

I believe Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom because it highlights the achievements of Black leaders in greekdom and inspires others to achieve. Being a full time student and Greek can be time-consuming, but it is nice to see recognition given to those who are excelling. Watch The Yard also continuously reminds us of the great history of the NPHC and where we have come from as organizations.

What does sisterhood mean to you?

In a sisterhood, your sisters are those you can turn to at any time of the day and confide in. Sisterhood is love, support, and accountability. Loving one another at all times despite differences in opinion. Supporting each other in all endeavors and uplifting them in times of distress, rather that be emotional, spiritual, financial, or physical. But also holding each other accountable and being truthful when the truth may hurt. In a sisterhood all truths comes from a place of love and wanting everybody to succeed TOGETHER.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

After graduation I plan on taking a break from school and traveling abroad to do volunteer work in a foreign country and learn more about the cultures and communities I am unfamiliar with. I plan on returning to gain a dual degree in a Masters of Science in Criminology and Masters of Social Work to research the environmental factors and social influence that lead to juvenile delinquency.

We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Zaria Ealy for her work as the president of Delta Gamma Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1970.

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