In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.’s Pi Psi Sigma Alumni Chapter in Chicago, Illinois and did an interview with Dr. Arthur R. Davis the president of the chapter.
The position of president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Dr. Arthur Davis, who works as a criminologist, professor and detective, has been in the position of president for four years.
We interviewed Dr. Davis, who is a 1996 Delta Tau Chapter initiate of his fraternity and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?
I am a charter member of the Pi Psi Sigma Alumni Chapter (2015). I served as the Education Committee Chairman, under President Levorn Black, for two years, 1st Vice President, under President Damian Hardman, for two years, and was elected as the Chapter President in 2019. My motivation to assume the role as the chapter president was fueled by my desire to serve the brotherhood. I wanted to create an environment in which the Executive Board was charged with serving the brotherhood, and the community. It was our desire to move the chapter to the next level while maintaining a standard of excellence. Mission Accomplished. Lastly, the support of my daughters / Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Soror Ariyana Davis, Soror Amaya Davis, and the love of my life Senora Ben (Sigma Gamma Rho), provides me with the freedom to support the brother through leadership.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the local community or the broader Black community?
Our chapter is located in Chicago, Illinois. We are aware of the challenges and opportunities. We established a partnership with Roberto Clemente Academy High School to provide a Gun Violence and De-Escalation Day Camp. The day camp offers training in critical thinking, de-escalation tactics, and first aid for gunshot wound victims. The initial day camp was established in the Eastern Region by Brother Christopher Stith. It is our desire to scale the day camp across the city of Chicago, and Great Lakes Region. In addition, we will take fifty students on an HBCU college tour in the Fall and one hundred students in the Spring. This year, we hope to positively impact thousands of young men and women of color across the City of Chicago.
What made you want to pledge Phi Beta Sigma?
I learned about Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. in 1988. My high school football coach was Brother Neal F. Bailey. Brother Bailey was a father figure and proud member of Phi Beta Sigma. After matriculating into Southern Illinois University (SIUC), I eventually became acquainted with the brothers of the Delta Tau Chapter. One of my good friends, Brother Lashun Cole, joined our illustrious band in 1995. It was my natural progression. As a result, I was born into Sigma with ten other men of S.S. V.I.P.E.R. in 1996.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
A majority of our members began their Sigma lives at the Delta Tau undergraduate chapter (SIUC). The remaining brothers have added to the chapter’s culture in a meaningful and impactful manner. We have brothers who are celebrating their 40th year in Sigma and “Neos” serving our communities daily. In addition, our chapter has members who have served on the International, Regional, and State levels. Lastly, we focus a majority of our membership efforts on bringing non-financial brothers back into the fold. Our diversity in age, leadership experience, and years in Sigma has been our secret to success. Lastly, we pour into our younger brothers and promote leadership. Brother Tyrese Montgomery, a younger chapter brother, is the current Illinois State Director.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
Our chapter continues to be trailblazers in this regard. We established a one hundred-thousand-dollar endowment/pledge at the Delta Tau undergraduate chapter at (SIUC). The fund was created to assist the undergraduate brothers with living and educational expenses. In addition, we advise the Iota Alpha undergraduate chapter (University of Illinois @ Chicago). We provide brotherhood guidance, financial assistance, internship leads, and post-graduate career opportunities. It is important to note, most of our undergraduate brothers matriculate into our alumni chapter after completing their collegiate journey.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
As previously stated, our chapter is comprised of several brothers that were initiated at the Delta Tau undergraduate chapter (SIUC). Our chapter unity is somewhat organic. However, we are intentional in creating an environment of camaraderie. We set aside time after each chapter meeting to fellowship and partake in a meal. In addition, we gather after every service project to engage as a brotherhood. Lastly, we attempt to meet monthly, outside of a chapter meeting, or a service project to watch a game, or “chop it up.”
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your fraternity/sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
A leader in Sigma is one that serves. A leader must increase his Sigma acumen. In addition, an aspiring chapter president should find ways to say “Yes” and attempt to lead at every level. Lastly, a Sigma Man with aspirations of leadership should join a committee, lead a committee, and become elected to the Executed Board. Men of Sigma are aligned with those who serve.
How has mentorship helped you get to where you are today? Are there any specific people in your org who have made a significant impact on your life as mentors?
I have been blessed to have several mentors in Sigma. Brothers Donald Cole and Al Thomas are my Sigma uncles. Their career and personal advice has and continues to be invaluable. I currently serve as the chapter president and the Great Lakes Regional Director of Social Action. Brother Marcus Morgan, past Illinois State Director, was very influential in my appointment as the Illinois State Director in 2020. Brother Morgan’s mentorship was critical to our administration’s ability to increase our state’s membership to historic numbers. Brother Damian Hardman, our immediate past chapter president, continues to offer guidance and brotherly advice during my tenor as the chapter president. Lastly, our International First Vice President, Brother David Turner, and our Great Lakes Regional Director, Charles Jones, have been invaluable in my growth in Sigma leadership and continue to offer outstanding support.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Black Greek Lettered Organizations and the Black Church are foundational institutions in the African American community. Watch The Yard continues to keep the spotlight on Black greekdom. Watch the Yard’s timely and positive social media exposure is critical to the membership growth of all Divine Nine organizations. In addition, the platform ensures accountability for our collective actions. I am grateful for this platform and its influence.
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
Brotherhood is heavily embedded in the culture of my organization. I love the fact that I have a brother in every corner of the world. Also, our organization’s motto is “Culture for Service, Service for Humanity”. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. was founded on service. I love being of service to the brotherhood and within our community. We are committed to being the boots on the ground, and the legislators on Capitol Hill. Oftentimes, a true Sigma Man observes community violence and destruction on television. He doesn’t view it with dismay or disgust, he simply states, “We have more work to do!” Then he goes to work. #ServiceIsOurBrand
Lastly, what does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood within Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. is all encompassing. Membership within our brotherhood provides access to advancement in every aspect of your life. Career opportunities, personal advice, financial advice, service opportunities, and meaningful social engagement. The Honorable Brother A.M. Walker said it best, “I believe in all that Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity represents and I will herald and defend it, even against the world.”
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Dr. Davis for his work as the President of the Pi Psi Sigma Alumni Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 2015.
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