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 Rho Gamma Chapter at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and did an interview with Kelby Royal 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. 20-year-old Kelby Royal 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 Communication Studies, Mass Media Concentration major 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?
Being a chapter president is all about understanding the members of your chapter and using their strengths to make the chapter the best it can be. As chapter president, it is my responsibility to lead my brothers to success in all aspects of Greek Life, whether it be community service or philanthropy events, chapter programs or performances like the Yard Show or our Annual Homecoming Stroll Competition. Being a chapter president also means pushing my brothers past what they believe their limits are so that they can grow. It takes someone with great leadership, communication skills and patience to be chapter president, and I am exceedingly grateful that I have the opportunity to lead the gentlemen of the Rho Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
What made you decide to attend the The University of North Carolina at Charlotte for undergrad?
I decided to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for many reasons, but mainly because it was close to home and it met all the criteria that I had in mind for my ideal school. During my college search, I was looking for a school that was in the state of North Carolina, had a large student body size and had opportunities for me to grow as a leader. I grew up living in a household with just me and my mom, so it was important to me that I stayed close to home so I could visit her on the weekends. My mother also graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, so there was a little bit more incentive there on why I should attend the University. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte also has countless opportunities for students to get involved on campus. In the past 3 years of my collegiate career, I have been involved in several organizations and have worked as a Housing Ambassador and a Resident Advisor. Attending UNC Charlotte has definitely prompted me to grow as an individual and a leader.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the campus/surrounding community?
One philanthropy that Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and the Rho Gamma Chapter supports is March of Dimes, which is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the health of mothers and premature babies. Last year was our first year as a chapter heading our “Marching with Babies” program, in which we carried “premature” baby dolls around campus. Each chapter brother was tasked with creating the personality of a premature baby that would experience his or her own health complications, such as jaundice or Respiratory Distress Syndrome. My baby’s name was Kiandria and she experienced anemia, which is a condition in which there is a lack of healthy red blood cells which are needed to carry oxygen to your body’s tissues. Marching with Babies was a national success and it helped our campus’ community become more educated on the health complications that premature babies face. We will be having our Marching with Babies program again this fall 2019 semester, so follow us on instagram and twitter to stay tuned!
What made you want to pledge Phi Beta Sigma?
I was attracted to Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. because I saw that it was a service oriented organization, not only on a chapter level, but also on a national level. As stated in our motto “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity,” one of the main purposes of our organization is to improve the quality of our community. Before I joined the organization, I had the pleasure of meeting several brothers who were involved in distinguished leadership positions on campus; there were brothers who were Orientation Counselors, others on Homecoming Court, some as Resident Advisors and more as presidents/vice-presidents of on campus organizations. I wanted to be apart of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. because I saw parts of myself in the brothers of the Rho Gamma Chapter, and I wanted to increase my capacity as a leader on the campus of UNC Charlotte.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Rho Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. is unique because no two brothers in our chapter are the same. Although we all share the same love for our fraternity, each brother in my chapter has different interests, passions and life goals. To be apart of the Rho Gamma Chapter, you do not have to fit a certain stereotype of how a man should be. Phi Beta Sigma is a fraternity devoted to the “inclusive we” rather than the “exclusive we,” and the Rho Gamma chapter exemplifies that to a T. My chapter has brothers who are more reserved and tend to stay to themselves, but we also have brothers who are very extroverted and like to talk to people. We have brothers who are very artistic, from Theater and Architecture majors, to brothers who are more technological with Computer Science and Math majors. The Rho Gamma Chapter is able to use our wide range of talents and interests to create programs and events that appeal to a wide audience of our community.
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?
Living in a digital age, it is very important that you represent yourself in the best way possible on social media. At a large university like UNC Charlotte, there are some people that I have never met before, but we follow each other on social media because of similar organizations we are a part of. Since someone’s social media page might be the first and only view you get of a person, you should take the necessary time to ensure that your social media accurately depicts the person you want to be seen as. For undergraduate chapters across all greek letter organizations, I would recommend that you are behaving in a way that respects the letters you wear and the others in your organization who share those same letters. Before you post anything on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, ask yourself “How would my founders/prophytes react if they saw this? Does this accurately reflect the values that I promised to uphold when I joined this organization?” If the answer is no, you shouldn’t post it.
What does leadership mean to you?
To me, leadership means standing out among the crowd as somebody who can be relied on to get things done. Leadership is something that anybody can possess, but not all do, and not all who have it, use it. Leadership also includes doing what you know is right and setting a good and morally upright example for those who might be watching. When stepping up into a leadership position, it is important to know that not everything will go your way; there will be times when those you are leading will want to go in a different way than you are proposing. Leadership is ultimately knowing when to and when not to make certain decisions and following through with those decisions when they are made.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch The Yard is important for historically black greek-letter organizations because it is a place where all organizations are equally celebrated and recognized for their hard work in their chapters. Being involved in Black greekdom can be very competitive at times because we are all seeing who can step the best, who can stroll the best or who has the best programs/new member presentation. There are some social media pages and websites that specialize in disrespecting other black greek letter organizations in a competitive manner. Jokes are fun and some friendly competition never hurts, but the positivity that Watch The Yard constantly exudes to all NPHC organizations is much needed. It is important to have a space where all NPHC organizations are recognized for their efforts in an unbiased manner, and Watch The Yard does just that.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
Being in Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and having a constitutional bond with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is something special that I value about this organization. Growing up an only child, I always wished that I had brothers or sisters in the same house with me. Although I had a brother and sister on my dad’s side of the family, we were not that close, and I only saw them a couple times a year. Having both brothers and sisters is special to me because there are certain things I can go to my brothers for, and there are other things that I can go to my sisters for. As an example, my brothers know me better than a lot of my friends do, so if I need help on any personal issues I may be experiencing, I know I can turn to them. My sisters, on the other hand, offer a sensitive and caring ear, so I know I can rely on them to listen to how I am feeling on any given day. Boiled down to the core, brotherhood and sisterhood to me means having a large support system and being able to rely on others that I know have my best interests at heart. I would not be the person I am today if it were not for my brothers and sisters so I would like to give a shout out to them. (The Upsilon Xi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.)
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
After I graduate in May of 2020, I plan to immediately continue my education and work towards getting my Masters in Business Administration with a Concentration in Human Resources Management. I would like to stay in the state of North Carolina for graduate school and attend a Historically Black College/University while working part time to financially sustain myself. I also plan to continue to support the Rho Gamma Chapter in anyway I can, whether it be with performances, programs or community service.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Kelby Royal for his work as the president of Rho Gamma Chapter which has a long legacy that spans back to 1988.