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 brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.’s Zeta Lambda Chapter at the University of Connecticut and did an interview with Jordan Hatten the president of the chapter.
The position of president of an undergraduate chapter of a Black fraternity is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. 22-year-old Jordan Hatten has used the position to gain new leadership experience, improve the lives of other students on campus and help the community around him.
We interviewed the Marketing major and talked about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold a leadership position on campus in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
Being a chapter President is a big responsibility for the individual that takes it on. To me, it means knowing your chapter, and knowing where your chapter can go. A President needs to use the strength of every member. I wanted to take on this role because I had a vision of what I wanted my chapter to be. I am vocal with my brothers about developing themselves as men in and outside of Greek life. This means pushing them to take on the responsibility they have not done before. Any President needs to be clear about the expectations and standards of its members. Constantly reminding the chapter on why they joined this organization. Overall, a President needs to make the chapter better than what it was. That once they leave, they know they did everything they could to put the chapter in a better place.
What made you decide to attend the University of Connecticut for undergrad?
The University of Connecticut was the last school I wanted to attend. Being born and raised in Connecticut I wanted to leave and explore the world. But once it was clear that UConn was going to be the school I was attending, I knew to make the best out of the next four years. Looking back on my growth and everything I have accomplished, it all happened because I was at this University. I will forever be thankful to UConn for being the place that helped me become the man I am today.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
My chapters plan this year was to help grow our community as well as ourselves. There are many opportunities for students of color to excel at a predominately white institution. We made it our mission to cater them both professionally and personally. Giving students access to the knowledge and resources that are specific to them. Also showing that we care about them as people and can be a support system if they need it. My chapter contains a diverse group of individuals. This allows us to support, collaborate, and network with different people on campus.
What made you want to pledge Phi Beta Sigma?
Just like everyone else I have a long and meaningful answer as to why I joined my organization. But in brief, the history of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated was something that resonated with me in ways I never felt before. The organization was founded upon the values of diversity and inclusion. There are so many people in my organization from all different backgrounds, identities, and walks of life. We all come together with our own unique experiences to make this world a better a place. My organization has been involved in important moments in the history of African Americans. In addition, the men of my chapter made me feel a love and brotherhood I never felt before. I had no intentions of becoming Greek when I got to school. Being a part of this organization has given me a family I never knew I needed.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Heavenly Zeta Lambda chapter has always been a staple within the Black community at the University of Connecticut. As I said, my chapter is very diverse. Every single one of us is involved with different student organizations on campus. We care about our community and we want to make sure that everyone is successful in their professional endeavors. Our contestant involvement with our community allows us to have personal relationships with others and support them.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think undergraduate chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2018?
Social media has become an essential part of Black Greek life. But it has affected our organizations in positive and negative ways. As undergraduate chapters, we need to constantly remind ourselves why we joined our organizations in the first place. We never want to leave the impression that all we do is stroll and party. Constantly showing our audience that we do service and programming. Using the chapters social media is important to showcase those important moments. When our audience just sees strolling, parties, and probates, they are going to want to join strictly to have those moments. As Greeks, we control the narrative of our chapters on social media. Representing the chapter in the best way is imperative because you are what you attract to your organization.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me means having the opportunity to show the world what you can do. When someone puts you in charge of any team or project, this is the moment you get to showcase your talent. But it also means you are in charge of a group of people who all have the same goal. In order to be a great leader, one must fully understand who they are leading. They need to know who their team is so they can identify their strengths and weaknesses. A leader needs to know what is going to motivate the team so they can do their job. Being an expert on the team is the first step to becoming a good leader. They have to connect with their team and the team needs to connect with their leader in order to get the job done.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard is basically the people magazine of Black Greekdom. It is an important platform because it showcases the great moments in Black Greek life. There are many negative images and stigmas about our organizations. But Watch the Yard displays the greatness of our organizations. Showing audiences what chapters are doing around the world, and giving more insight to the great history of Black Greek life. Not only is Watch the Yard great for us Greeks, but it allows non-Greeks to see what our organizations are doing. I want to see Watch the Yard become something big so the general public can really know the importance of Black Greek life.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Brotherhood is something that brings up a lot of emotion. Whenever I think about my chapter there’s so much that comes to mind. In short, brotherhood/sisterhood to me means loving someone for who they are and extending yourself to have a family with others. The relationship we have within our organizations is different from our friends and different from our relatives. We are part of a family that wants to see us grow. Constantly, pushing each other to excel in all aspects of our lives.
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I am currently in the process of solidifying that right now. But my plan is to grow my professional experience in marketing and branding, and then later go for my masters. I am excited to join a grad chapter and see a different dynamic of Sigma. I am very excited to see what the future holds.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Jordan Hatten for his work as the president of Zeta Lambda Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1974.